Home » Archive by category 'Call Management'

Call Center Best Practices: 20 Proven Tips for 2024

Call centers are everywhere and if you want to up your game and become a reliable call center, then you need to make some changes. Here we outline 20 proven tips and call center best practices to help you grow positively.

Call Center Best Practices: Proven Tips for 2024

The following list of best practices for call centers is meant to help you enhance the way agents interact with customers as well as improve overall call center productivity.

1. Focus on Customer Experience

Customer satisfaction is of utmost importance when considering call center best practices. This includes good product development, offering satisfactory customer service, and improving customer experience. Customers interact with your business through different mediums: website, chat, phone, email, etc. Ensure that their experience on all these channels is acceptable and excellent. Some ways to do so include:

  • Reducing wait times
  • Solving issues quickly
  • Offering multi-channel support
  • Responding quickly and effectively

2. Track Call Center KPIs

In order to make sure that your call center is performing as per your standards, it is important to track progress through metrics or call center KPIs such as:

  • Average Time in the Queue
  • Average Handle Time
  • First Call Resolution
  • Average Response Time
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Average Number of Calls
  • Abandonment Rates
  • Occupancy Rates

Watching these metrics can help you identify areas of strengths and weaknesses within your call center. Then based on this information, you can train employees to better meet the company’s standards and mission.

3. Train Agents Effectively

This one goes without saying. Training agents is a must. Do not just assume that newcomers who have worked in other call centers will do their jobs as you desire. Train them for your company’s specific needs and goals. Furthermore, they may not be familiar with your management systems, technology, or software. Use webinars, guides, workshops, etc., to help employees understand how processes work and how to achieve goals set by the company.

4. Reduce Agent Turnover Rates

Agent turnover rate refers to the percent of agents quitting a call center. This is an important KPI to track because it is better to retain your agents than constantly hire new agents. Understand that working in a call center can be monotonous with little to no reward. At times, agents may even feel overburdened or unable to achieve goals set for them. Taking care of your employees is extremely crucial to reducing agent turnover rates and increasing the chances of good customer satisfaction rates. After all, happy employees lead to happy customers.

5. Consider Work-from-Home

Work-from-home as an employment option is growing more popular. And with advancements in VoIP technology, it is now possible to work from a call center from the comfort of one’s home. Being able to offer this option can help employees save on commuting costs while providing them with flexibility. This in turn helps reduce agent turnover rates. Plus, it helps your call center offer jobs beyond your immediate location. This way, you can hire agents in different states and even different countries, making your call center more geographically accessible.

6. Invest in the Right Virtual Call Center Software

Virtual call center software supports on-premise as well as virtual call centers. It comes with a variety of features that help your employees manage calls better and produce desirable results. Common virtual call center software features include:

  • Call forwarding and routing options based on location, time, skills, agent history, customer history, etc.
  • Inbound/outbound call recording
  • Interactive voice response
  • Extensions and call transfer abilities
  • Access to virtual phone numbers (toll free, local, international, universal toll free numbers)
  • Outbound calling with web dialers and dynamic caller IDs
  • Black and white lists
  • SIP trunking to enable voice and video transmission over the internet
  • Simultaneous ringing, and much more

7. Consider Workforce Optimization Solutions

Workforce optimization (WFO) software can ensure workforce satisfaction and productivity. With workforce optimization solutions, you can track quality and performance. All of this helps you manage your workforce better in ways that are beneficial to you as well as your employees.

8. Record Business Calls

Recording and reviewing business calls can assist managers in studying how their agents are performing. You may choose to review failed calls to see what went wrong or successful calls to see what went right. Managers can even review early recordings of a newly hired employee to help them with ways to improve their interactions. Recording VoIP calls also gives agents an incentive to do well as they know they are being recorded.

9. Use an Outbound Calling Service

An outbound calling service supports your outbound call strategies by making it inexpensive and easy to connect with local, long-distance, and international customers. Such a virtual communication service comes with a customizable caller ID. With this feature, you can choose which of your purchased numbers to display as the outgoing caller ID. Display toll free or local numbers when calling different states or countries and present your company as a local one.

10. Regularly Check in with Agents

One of the top and most commonly practiced call center best practices is to regularly monitor the performance of your agents. How are they performing? Are they overburdened or taking on too many or too few calls? How long are they taking to complete post-call activities? Are they struggling with the software or technology used? And so on. Checking in with them will help you get a better idea of how your call center is running and what, if any, changes need to be made.

11. Choose Easy-to-Use Software

Agents and employees at a call center will find themselves using a variety of software to track and store information and more. For this reason, ensure that the software you’ve selected is easy to use and learn. Agents should not have to spend days and weeks learning how to use these systems.

Best practices for virtual call center agents.
Source: DepositPhotos.com – Lic#75940443 ID#27446420

12. Use Automation Appropriately

Consider using automated IVR systems to appropriately distribute incoming calls. This ensures callers receive help from the right department or agent. It can also be used to equally distribute calls among agents so that no one employee is over- or under-burdened. Calls can be routed under different rules such as:

  • Location-based routing — based on where the call is coming from
  • Time-based routing — based on the time of day of the call
  • Skill-based routing — based on agent skills needed
  • Least occupied routing — routes calls to agents who have answered the least amount of calls
  • Regular routing — routes calls down a predetermined list of agents
  • Simultaneous routingring multiple phones with one number

13. Get the Right Project Management & CRM Systems

Project management and CRMs are necessary to store, track, and share important customer information in any call center. Find systems that work well for your needs. You may even consider free trials at the beginning to see which ones are most suited and easy to use.

14. Offer Real-Time and Multi-Channel Support

More recently, call centers are offering real-time support through multiple channels such as phone, email, live chat, trouble tickets, and more. In order to step up your customer service game, it is highly recommended to offer more channels of communication. You may even consider chatbots, online knowledge bases with guides to common issues, an IVR system, and more to offer callers and users quicker ways to resolve their queries.

15. Provide 24/7 Customer Service

Most customers also expect 24/7 customer service from a company they are doing business with. Being able to offer customer service whenever a customer needs it can greatly impact customer satisfaction and retention. Here is where multi-channel support comes into play. Chatbots and IVR systems can provide solutions to common issues or FAQs. Guides or knowledge bases only can help users resolve their queries on their own; it is best to offer a range of options to fulfill as many needs as possible. This way, even if an agent is not immediately available, they can get help another way.

16. Improve First Call Resolution Rates

First call resolution rate refers to the percent of calls resolved on the first try. As a call center manager, this is an important KPI to track and maintain. A good FCR rate implies quick and effective customer service. And this can directly impact customer satisfaction rates. To resolve calls on the first try, agents need to be well-versed in their knowledge of the product or service and possible issues that come up. Provide agents with easy access to necessary information so they can offer help quickly.

17. Use VoIP to Expand Your Team

A VoIP phone system or cloud phone system can revolutionize your call center’s communication. Such a system enables agents to work and stay connected from any location. It also gives you access to virtual communication features and software as well as access to a multitude of virtual phone numbers. All of this is possible while keeping your monthly bill low.

18. Collect Customer Feedback and Conduct Satisfaction Surveys

One of the most important call center best practices includes collecting customer feedback to improve your service. You can gather feedback through surveys via email, phone, IVR systems, SMS, chat, etc. Customer feedback is essential to understanding the customer experience. Oftentimes, even if you think your call center is doing well, there may be certain aspects you are overlooking and surveys can help highlight these areas. Develop your surveys based on specific areas you want to get feedback on and then use the feedback to make necessary changes.

19. Prepare Guides and Knowledge Bases

Create easy-to-understand guides and knowledge bases that can be used by agents as well as customers. You may choose to create two versions; one for agents and one for customers. The point of such guides or content that provides quick solutions and support is so that when the need arises, agents can help customers and at times, customers can help themselves. Being able to resolve concerns quickly is instrumental in retaining valuable customers.

20. Stay Open to Change

Finally, be open to change. Any call center manager worth their salt is open to feedback, criticism, and change. Change implies growth and you should always look for ways to grow and expand your business.

Put These Call Center Best Practices to Use

Now it’s time to apply these call center best practices and give your agents the support they need. While these tips may not prove useful to your specific business, choose the ones that are most applicable. For information about virtual phone systems and call center software, contact us at 1 (888) 908 6171 today!

Guide to Effective Remote Team Communication

In our globalized world and with the rise of a tech-savvy workforce, international companies have promoted and embraced diversity in their teams. This opportunity has brought talented individuals together to brainstorm and collaborate, and helped companies sustain, progress, and eventually succeed.

Now, it is possible and even cost-effective for international and local companies to outsource, hire, and manage remote and global employees. These remote teams can easily collaborate and maintain remote team communication through several channels.

What is Remote Team Communication?

Remote team communication is the ability to maintain online communication between virtual teams with the help of software and technology. This type of communication includes but is not limited to emails, video conferences, cloud-based communication platforms, instant messaging, and more.

These technologies and software let global and remote teams remain privately interconnected, thus encouraging collaboration.

Related: Cloud Communication Stats: 2022

Challenges of Remote Team Communication

According to Weekly 10, employees between the ages of 18 and 34 experienced a 10-15% decrease in the information offered by management and a 10% decrease in the frequency and effectiveness of communication.

Since the global pandemic of 2019, more and more businesses have switched over to remote working. And with the rise of remote teams, companies have to find ways to effectively manage and communicate with their teams. This is where you could run into issues if you are not prepared.

For many businesses that mostly sell goods online or sell cloud-based products, and operate only on digital platforms, this may be all-natural. But even with remote-only businesses, there are challenges involved when it comes to communication and collaboration.

Some of the common challenges associated with remote team communication include:

  • Little or unreliable access to the internet
  • Lack of technology to support real-time communication between multiple teams and groups
  • No proper management and monitoring system
  • Miscommunications or delayed responses
  • Feeling of alienation and lack of physical team-building opportunities
  • Reduced motivation and trust.

Since communication is the pillar for success and overcoming obstacles during any operation or activity, these issues must be identified and dealt with.

Thankfully, you can resolve these issues with:

  • Cloud communication technology like remote softphones and global phone numbers from a cloud phone service provider.
  • Video conferencing tools like Zoom, Google Meet.
  • Chat tools like Slack, Google Chat.
  • Project and content management tools like Asana, Teamwork, Monday.com.
  • HR software and management tools like Apploye, Bamboo HR, etc.

Related: How to Centralize Business Communication

remote team management strategy
Source: DepositPhotos.com – Lic#237281756 ID#27446420

Building a Remote Team Management Strategy

According to a report by Culture Wizard, these are the most beneficial remote team communication methods: face-to-face meetings (93%), conference calls (93%), and video conferencing (84%).

It is easy to overcome the challenges associated with remote team communication and global team management with the right tools and teams.

Here are the top remote team management strategies your business can use to improve global team communication:

1. Set Ground Rules

Before you get started, it is a good idea to lay down some rules of how you and your teams will manage remote team communication:

  • Have coordinated and organized plans for managing teams.
  • Will you have monthly or biweekly meetings? Follow up with your employees for monthly video meetings or one-on-one meetings.
  • What tools and software will your remote teams use to stay connected?
  • How will teams communicate with customers, and what channels will they use (voice, video, email, live chat, etc.)?
  • What technology do your teams require? VPNs, VoIP phone services, remote cybersecurity solutions?
  • How will they update their progress and track their time?
  • How will you check in and collect feedback from remote employees? For example, you can use surveys to assist the less-expressive or introverted members in the group and encourage them to offer feedback.

When you do not see your employees working first-hand, there may be a tendency to micromanage and over-monitor them. This can cause issues and frustrations on both sides. Setting ground rules and following them can help alleviate some of the pressures associated with managing remote teams.

2. Create an Internal Communication Infrastructure

Global teams require a user-friendly and intuitive internal communication infrastructure. This means planning out how your teams will communicate and who they will report to. Then, you can get the right communication software to improve and support collaboration, efficiency, and productivity among remote teams.

These conversations are primarily intended for business-related updates, tasks, lectures, and sharing of confidential topics. And such software can help with brainstorming, contributing, following deadlines, and efficiently monitoring the progress of one another.

For instance, many e-commerce companies have global team representatives worldwide. They need to keep in touch internally for updates and progress about the customers’ new interests and complaints or develop new services and promotional activities.

So, it is a good practice to plan out how these teams will effectively communicate across time zones and regions without downtime or delay.

Related: 5 Ways to Leverage Time-Based Routing for Global Expansion

3. Plan Virtual Team-Building Activities

One of the biggest challenges of remote working is the alienation associated with it. Working by yourself and without being in touch with others can feel lonely, and, at times, your remote teams may feel left out. Here is where having team-building activities can bring teams closer and create that workplace community.

Your teams can have a separate fun chat group for book clubs, to share travel stories or pictures of their pets, and so on. They can also use this space to organize entertaining activities and celebrate employees who are doing well. You could even have virtual retreats or webinars and events that everyone can participate in.

Creating an intentional space for celebration not only helps facilitate remote team communication but also brings your global teams closer and strengthens the internal bond.

4. Get the Right Remote Collaboration Tools

For effective business communication with remote global teams, you need to invest in the requisite technologies that support all communication channels.

Some companies provide employees with the necessary tools like laptops and computers. You can go a step further and use communication, collaboration, and team management platforms to make it easy for everyone to connect from any location. Some examples include:

1. Cloud-based voice services with remote call forwarding for internal and external communication. These services are built to let users connect from any location and device, giving your teams flexibility and reliability.

2. Softphone apps that users can use from any device to make internal and external calls without revealing their personal contact information.

3. Chat and video conferencing tools for meetings and performance reviews.

4. If your team is working on a specific project to increase sales or improve conversion optimization, you can provide them with CRM software to help collaborate better.

5. Cloud-based project management systems that let users communicate on specific projects, update progress, share files, and more. You can get project management systems for accountants, marketing teams, etc.

5. Set Up a Support System for Your Remote Teams

To ensure your remote employees do their jobs effectively, you should make it easy for them to get support and help when they need it. This may include creating a knowledge base or support center that:

  • Answers questions about your company’s products and services
  • Offers solutions and guidance for common workplace issues and how to resolve it
  • Provides IT support and troubleshooting help for common problems, and so on.

This will equip employees to work well on their own and tell them who to contact if something goes wrong.

Communication is Key to Any Successful Business

Remote team communication is one of the most important aspects of successfully running your remote business. And, at times, it can be a challenging management job. But with the right tools and technology, relevant and easy-to-follow guidelines, and capable managers, you can set your remote teams up for success.

13 Ways to Manage High Call Volume

Lengthy hold times frustrate your callers – leading to poor customer experiences and low satisfaction rates. And after just one bad experience, 61% of consumers report they would stop purchasing from that company.

But, what if your business faces high call volumes? How do you handle unexpected spikes in order to prevent long wait times and poor caller experience?

These high-traffic periods are when your business gets the most out of its customers. But if you can’t handle the volume of calls, you may end up losing valuable customers.

In this article, we’ll dig deeper into fluctuating call volumes, why they happen, and 13 ways you can manage them. This way, you can quickly prepare for volume surges and resolve customer queries with call management tools and tips.

Issues with High and Fluctuating Call Volumes

Call volume is a metric that measures the number of calls received in a given period of time. As such, a high call volume is when a significant inbound call spike occurs that exceeds the amount you’re accustomed to or capable of handling.

The industry standard for high call volume begins when your business experiences a 10% increase from your normal rate. But, it’s important to note that it may start sooner or later, depending on your organization’s size and available resources.

While they might mean an increase in sales, fluctuating call volumes can also cause major issues for your business and teams, including:

  • Extended wait times for callers
  • Stress on agents and teams
  • Increased customer frustration and poor caller experience
  • Higher call abandonment rates
  • Inflated average handling times
  • Loss of business and revenue
  • Damaged brand reputation, trust, and loyalty.

manage high call volume

Why Do These Spikes in Call Volume Occur?

So, why are you experiencing spikes in your call volume? There are many factors that contribute to a fluctuating call volume, including predictable and unpredictable causes.

Predictable Influxes

At times, spikes in your call volume may be foreseeable, allowing your business to prepare for a surge before it begins. Examples of predictable reasons for fluctuating call volumes include:

  • Holidays and seasonal fluctuations
  • New product launches
  • Product updates or upgrades
  • Marketing campaigns and initiatives
  • Promotions, discounts, sales, etc.

These situations are all within your business’ control. You typically know when these events begin and end. And thus, you have plenty of time and opportunity to develop a game plan.

Unpredictable Influxes

On the other hand, other situations may arise unexpectedly. This means your business and teams must react to the rise in calls with little to no warning. Reasons behind unpredictable spikes in call volume include:

  • Service disruptions
  • Infrastructure maintenance
  • Faulty products or mass recalls
  • PR crisis
  • Emergency situations and call center disasters
  • Inclement weather
  • Repeat callers

While these are unexpected scenarios, some may offer your teams a short preparation window. For example: If a hurricane is forecasted to hit one of your Florida branches, you can quickly prepare for potential power outages and branch closures. However, even with a little preparation time, unpredictable spikes in your call volume are primarily out of your control.

Overall, understanding the reasons behind spikes in call volume can help businesses plan for and manage them more effectively.

13 Ways to Handle High Call Volume and Traffic

Depending on the type of business you run, your employees may deal with varying levels of call traffic. This means a high volume of calls at certain times of the day or certain days of the week. Or, high call traffic during holidays and when your business runs promotions.

These high call volume periods bring a lot of customers to your business. However, if you are not equipped to handle high call traffic, then your business can lose out on potentially valuable customers.

So, what are some proven ways to better manage a high volume of incoming calls?

  1. Schedule Agents and Employees
  2. Add New Contact Channels
  3. Route Calls Based on Time
  4. Route Calls Based on Location
  5. Design an Effective IVR System
  6. Let Callers Know
  7. Implement Call Groups
  8. Focus on First Call Resolution
  9. Offer Self-Service Options
  10. Pay Attention to Call Center Data & Metrics
  11. Offer Voicemail & Callback Options
  12. Create a Knowledge Base or Support Center
  13. Consider Outsourcing and BPOs

1. Schedule Agents and Employees

Well-planned schedules go a long way in enabling agents and employees to offer quick and responsive service. The way you distribute workload can determine how well your business or call center manages high call volume. If there are too few employees at a time, then they will be overburdened by calls and may not provide the best service. Similarly, if calls are not distributed equally, then some employees will work harder than others. Pre-planning schedules can help distribute the workload appropriately.

2. Add New Contact Channels

If your business is using only 1-2 contact channels and is unable to resolve interactions within the time promised, then you may need to consider adding new channels. For example, it is most common for businesses to offer phone, live chat, and email as customer channels. However, more and more businesses are using conversational AI or chatbots, trouble tickets, and video conferencing as customer service channels.

Offering more convenient and preferable ways to connect with your business not only helps manage call volume but also gives customers options to choose from. Not every customer prefers phone conversations. In fact, customers now expect live chat and chatbots to ease the process of inquiring about products or getting support. And so, your business can meet customer expectations while reducing the burden on employees answering phone calls.

3. Route Calls Based on Time

Call forwarding and routing options allow businesses to route calls based on the time a call is coming in. This is called time-based routing. You can set up time-based routing to forward incoming calls during specific time periods to different locations. For example:

  • Route calls to different office locations
  • Route calls to remote teams assisting in customer service efforts
  • Forward calls to voicemail where callers can leave a message or request a callback
  • Forward calls to an offshore BPO to assist with high volume of calls

This helps your business distribute incoming calls across different platforms based on predetermined rules. By doing so, your employees and customer service teams are better equipped to manage high call traffic.

4. Route Calls Based on Location

You can also route calls based on the location of the caller: location-based routing. This is a helpful feature for companies that want to adopt a follow the sun support model to provide global customer service.

You can set this feature up beforehand, just like you do with time-based routing. Then as callers call, they will be routed to the customer service team closest to them, in their time zone and language, as well. This can help reduce the stress that might otherwise fall on the main customer service office.

5. Design an Effective IVR System

A cloud IVR system can go a long way in effective call management. An IVR is an automated voice response system that interacts with callers to assist them either by transferring them to the right agent and department or by offering self-service options. Here are some ways an IVR system enables better call management:

  • Transfer callers to the right agents
  • Offer troubleshooting assistance
  • Offer information about the company (hours, locations, etc), key products and services, and more

A well-designed IVR system can help callers with common or simple questions as well as self-service options so agents and employees are available to assist customers with more complex questions and processes.

6. Let Callers Know

To prevent high call volumes, consider sending your customers email and text message blasts. This allows you to communicate emergencies, holiday closures, and more to your entire customer base simultaneously instead of fielding individual calls. Additionally, place a message on your website to make visitors aware of the issue or change.

With these explanations in place, customers are less likely to bombard your call center looking for answers. And this leaves more time for your teams to focus on complex issues.

Still experiencing high call volumes? Let callers know you’re experiencing a surge as well as the predicted wait time. And direct them to alternative communication channels, callback options, and support resources, if applicable. This helps minimize customer frustration and can even reduce the amount of calls you receive.

Here are some examples of scripts to get you started:

“Thank you for calling [business name]. We are currently experiencing high call volumes. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause. Our estimated wait time is currently [wait time]. If you would like to avoid the wait, you may also reach out to us via email at [customer support email], or through our website’s live chat service. Thank you for your patience, and we look forward to assisting you.”
“Thank you for calling [business name]. We are currently experiencing high call volumes. Our estimated wait time is currently [wait time]. We apologize for this inconvenience. Don’t want to wait? You can request a callback option. All you have to do is provide us with your phone number and the best time to reach you, and one of our representatives will call you back as soon as possible. Alternatively, you can find answers on our website’s support and FAQ page. Thank you for your patience, and we look forward to assisting you.”

7. Implement Call Groups

Call groups, also called ring groups, enable you to automatically send callers to a specific group of lines based on the IVR option selected or the number dialed. These groups can include certain agents, entire departments, or multiple teams.

You can use this feature to streamline your call management efforts by effectively distributing calls and ensuring callers reach the most qualified reps.

And if callers swarm your ring groups, you can establish backup groups for overflow management and failover strategies. This assures that calls are answered, even if all other agents are unavailable.

8. Focus on First Call Resolution

If a customer’s issue isn’t fully resolved during their initial call, they will likely call your business back to follow up. When this happens, it leads to multiple calls, higher call volumes, and time wasted for both the customer and the call center. On top of that, it’s important to note that every time a customer must call a company about the same issue, customer satisfaction drops by 15%.

To minimize the impact of repeat callers, companies must focus on first call resolution by:

  • Providing clear and concise information
  • Addressing all of the customer’s concerns at once
  • Encouraging customers to use self-service options
  • Tracking customer history and previous interactions using applications like a CRM
  • Establishing quality control and follow-up procedures to ensure issue resolution and customer satisfaction.

9. Offer Self-Service Options

Another way to manage high call volume is to offer customers self-service options so they don’t need to call your business each time they need something. Some ways you can do this include:

  • Setting up an auto-attendant
  • Creating a support center
  • Allowing customers to submit trouble or issue tickets
  • Writing guides and how-tos on your blog that customers can follow
  • Developing online processes that are easy-to-follow
  • Using content and UX writing to make processes more user-friendly

The goal is to enable customers to help themselves by making clear and easy processes or by providing guides. This way, they don’t have to always rely on your customer support teams for assistance.

10. Pay Attention to Call Center Data & Metrics

Analyze data and metrics to identify when and where there was a spike in call volumes. Was there a promotion running or a new product roll-out? Did a feature have issues? Was it the holiday season? Which locations received the most calls? What times did your business experience high call volume? And so on. This data can help you better prepare for the future.

11. Offer Voicemail & Callback Options

As with other communication channels, it is a good idea to also offer voicemail and callback services. Some phone service providers offer a callback feature with their service. This could be a widget placed on your website or a button that customers click to receive a call or schedule an appointment with a representative.

For example, Global Call Forwarding offers a CallMe Click service. This is a widget that you can place on your website. Web visitors can click on it and include their contact information to receive an automatic call back from your business.

Voicemail and callback options help callers leave a message or schedule a time to talk with a representative. This is a good option during periods of high call traffic so customers know that your business will return their call or get in touch with them soon.

12. Create a Knowledge Base or Support Center

As mentioned above, a knowledge base or support center can help your customers use self-service options to resolve their issues. A knowledge base is a series of posts or articles published on your website that answer common questions, offer how-to-use guides and troubleshooting help, and provide any other assistance your customers may need.

By having this resource available, customers can help themselves instead of calling your business time and again, especially for small queries. This leaves room for customers with more complex queries to get through to your customer service team.

 13. Consider Outsourcing and BPOs

Lastly, you may consider outsourcing your call center to an offshore BPO in order to support high volume. These services often have access to call center features and tools mentioned above that help them manage high call volumes for multiple companies.

Be Proactive with Call Management

One of the best ways to handle high and fluctuating call volumes is to plan ahead. Understand where your call spikes are coming from and put plans into place to prevent and support these call volumes.

Global Call Forwarding offers various call management tools for businesses like yours to manage call volumes and offer a better caller experience to your customers. Speak with our representatives today to see how our call flow builder can help your business communicate better!

Top 8 Tips to Creating a Multilingual IVR

As a global business pushing into new markets, languages, and geographies, you should do everything possible to “localize” yourself. In other words, you want to make your global business appear and communicate locally.

This means catering to your target audience in languages they are comfortable with.

Why is it Important to Support Multiple Languages in Your IVR?

Even with the inclusion of newer communication channels (like chatbots and text messaging), customers still largely prefer calling a business for support. This means a significant segment of your target audience expects good service when they call your business.

And if you plan to expand globally (or already have global support centers), you need to build trust with these customers. This is because excellent and responsive customer service experiences will retain at least 89% of your customers.

So, how do you build this trust and make your international customers comfortable?

Provide service and support in languages they understand. That’s where a multilingual IVR comes in handy!

Create a hosted IVR with multilingual support options, so customers receive help in their preferred languages.

A diagram of a multilingual IVR.

Quick Notes

Now, before we jump into different tips for creating a multilingual IVR, let’s get some basics down.

1. Setup: You can get local or toll-free numbers for different countries and set up a single language IVR on each line. Or, you can have a single number with a multi-language IVR.
A comparison of single language versus multi-language IVR.

2. Don’t translate on your own: You may be tempted to use Google translate or something similar to create your own translations. However, chances are you may not get it 100% right since there are many issues with machine translations. And that will only negatively affect your ability to provide reliable support. So, plan to work with professional translators.

3. Avoid robotic voices: In this day and age, people are tired of lousy support, specifically communicating with a robot that spins them around. So, whenever possible, use human agents to provide service.

How to Create a Multilingual IVR for Your Global Business: 8 Tips

We’ve divided the tips for every stage of the IVR-building process from preparation, setup, and testing. Here are 8 tips for creating a multilingual IVR:

  1. Choose Target Countries
  2. Listen to Multiple Demos and Examples
  3. Decide Who Handles Multilingual Needs
  4. Find an IVR Platform that Works With Your Phone System
  5. Use a Standardized Script Format
  6. Use Native Speakers, Consider Professional Services
  7. Keep it Smooth and Consistent
  8. Test, Gather Feedback, and Update

1. Choose Target Countries and Dialects

The first step in the process is to decide (if you haven’t already) the countries you want to provide service in. This is a good opportunity to consider global expansion. And since some languages are spoken in multiple countries, you can easily extend your operations to these countries.

When considering target countries, be sure to research different languages and dialects spoken in these areas. For example: Not all Spanish-speaking countries speak the same dialect of Spanish. Spanish spoken in Latin America differs from Castilian Spanish, which is spoken in northern and central Spain. Similarly, people in China use different dialects such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Hunanese, and more.

So, depending on your target areas, you will want to be regionally specific in your translations. If including too many dialects is an issue, then find the most commonly used languages.

Pro tip: Professional translators will help you identify the right dialects to go after.

2. Listen to Multiple Demos and Map Out Call Flows

Find other international businesses and listen to their multilingual IVRs. Consider:

  • What languages do they use?
  • How do they set up their IVR (multiple phone numbers vs single number with multiple IVRs)?
  • What menu options do they offer? And so on.

This will help you decide how to design your own IVR with multiple languages.

However, keep in mind that every business has different goals and expectations. In other words, what’s important for your business may not be important for another.

So, when choosing your languages and menu options, keep your customers in mind. You want to create call flows that support their needs and questions.

  • What languages are helpful for them?
  • What support options do customers usually need when they call your business?
  • What departments need to be included in your IVR, and which of these need multilingual options? And so on.

Pro tip: Compare what other international businesses are doing with their IVRs to what your business needs. Then, create a solution that caters to your customers.

3. Decide Who Handles Multilingual Needs

So, what happens after you decide your IVR will offer multilingual menu options? It’s important to consider who will help your customers calling in from different countries and those with different language requirements. Think about:

• Who records these messages (internal employees vs audio recording vendors vs translation services)

There are many parts to creating multilingual phone menus:

    • Deciding menu options
    • Writing and translating prompts
    • Recording voices
    • Editing sound, music, and audio files
    • Uploading files to your IVR platform
    • File storing and documenting (for future reference)
    • And finally, testing the IVR.

This means there’s a lot of room for error. Your internal teams may handle some of the tasks on their own (writing and uploading prompts). But you may need to look for outside, professional help for other delicate tasks (translating, recording). So, it’s a good idea to decide beforehand who will do what.

• Which departments or support centers offer multilingual support (global customer support teams)

Next, you want to consider which departments require multilingual support. For instance, sales and customer support deal with customers the most. So equipping these departments with diverse languages will improve caller and customer experience. But, does your billing or vendor management department need to provide multilingual support as well?

Similarly, if you have multiple support centers spread across different regions, not all centers may need a multilingual IVR. For instance, you may be able to get away with just English (and maybe Spanish) in your US office, while you may need Chinese, Thai, and Japanese in your APAC support center.

Pro tip: Take time to decide and plan out before jumping into translating and recording.

4. Find an IVR Platform that Works With Your Phone System

This largely depends on the type of business phone system you have. Most cloud phone systems come with their own IVR editor or call flow builder, where you can build out your call flow with different menu options and actions.

call flow apps

Using a cloud phone service provider will prove more useful as they often have various features and capabilities built into their IVR editor.

You then have control over how your calls flow and what multilingual options you want to offer. And you can expand your IVR as you see fit, all through an online dashboard.

If your phone system does not have its own editor, then you may need to work with your provider to change and update your IVR menu. This means you must find another voice/audio platform to handle all translating, recording, and editing needs.

Check out what you can do with the Global Call Forwarding call flow designer (templates included).

Pro tip: Research different cloud phone service providers to see what options are available for advanced IVR.

5. Use a Standardized Script Format

Now, for the IVR script itself. Whether you’re translating in-house or through a professional translation service, a script document will streamline the process and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Plus, it becomes a standard document that you can share with everyone involved in the process: writers, translators, voice talent, post-production editors, and uploading the recordings.

Start with a default script in your main language (English, for example), and then add necessary menu options. In the same document, include different sections for each language you want to include. Your script could look something like this:

Recording 1 – Intro: Welcome to [Company Name].

This call may be recorded for quality and training purposes.

Please press 1 for English.

Por favor marquez dos para español. (Spanish)

Si vous parlez français, appuyez sur trois. (French)

Recording 2 – If caller presses 1:

If you know your party’s extension, you may dial it at any time.

For sales, press 1.

For customer support, press 2.

For billing and accounts payable, press 3.

To go back to the main menu, press 9.

Recording 3 – If caller presses 2 (Spanish)

Si usted conoce la extensión de la persona con quien desea hablar, marque en cualquier momento;

Por favor marque uno para ventas y precios;

Marque dos para servicio al cliente;

Marque nueve para volver al menú principal.

Recording 4 – If caller presses 3 (French)

Si vous savez déjà l’extension de la personne que vous cherchez à joindre, vous pouvez composez le numéro à tous moment.

Pour le service de vente, appuyez sur 1

Pour le service client appuyez sur deux

Pour revenir au menu principale appuyez sur 9

You can also include other important information in this document, such as instructions on pronunciation, directions, special treatments, etc. Make sure to keep script and audio file names consistent to avoid any confusion during the production process.

We put together a list of IVR and auto-attendant scripts to help get you started.

Pro tip: Don’t overcomplicate your IVR script with too many options and long sentences; Be concise and to the point.

6. Use Native Speakers, Consider Professional Services

As mentioned above, it may seem harmless to throw your script into Google translate and work off of that. But, if you want to appear credible and trustworthy to your global audience, you need to do more than that. Your translations must be grammatically and regionally accurate.

This means you should look at native speakers or professional translation or recording agencies for your multilingual IVR. Native speakers will get the words, accent, and cultural sensitivities correct and even guide the script-writing process.

You may come across certain English words or phrases – usually technical jargon – that may not translate well into the target language. Ask for help from native speakers in your company or with customers and business contacts in that region.

Now, your team may not have a native speaker for every language you want to target. In that case, you will benefit from hiring a translation service. Before signing on with an agency, however, read reviews about the agency.

Vinit Muralidharan, Head of Operations and Sales at Milestone Localization, says to specifically look for an agency that “works with native translators having domain expertise, supports multiple languages, and has an ISO 17100 certification.”

As for recording services, again, check credentials and reviews. Ask for demos to evaluate audio recording quality. If you decide to record in-house with native speakers, then make sure you follow audio recording best practices.

Pro tip: It helps to work with 1 or 2 service providers instead of multiple. This way, you can better manage the quality of your multilingual IVR.

7. Keep it Smooth & Consistent

In many cases, this is the first interaction between your customers and your business, so you want to get it right. Common issues associated with IVR include:

  • Overcomplicated call flows and IVR menus
  • Confusing menu options
  • Low audio quality
  • Long hold times
  • Robotic voice; no human interaction

Thankfully, there are ways to avoid these issues. Once you have your translations and recordings in place, upload them to your phone system. As you do this, make sure the audio quality is strong.

If you’re using different audio files, ensure the audio levels (volumes) are consistent without any interruptions. Similarly, aim for consistent style and pace, which professionals should be able to handle. Watch for mispronunciations, audio lags, jumbled words, and so on.

To provide your customers with a good caller experience, you must help them move through your IVR efficiently. This means clear and concise communication, easy navigation, and quick resolution. And always ensure there is a way for them to opt out and connect with an agent. Don’t let them get trapped in the IVR-verse.

Pro tip: Conduct quality checks at various points of the process to make sure your multilingual IVR works effectively.

8. Test Your IVR, Gather Feedback, and Update

With everything set up, test your multilingual IVR multiple times. Remember that you want a simple and easy-to-follow IVR system. Make sure you go through each call flow and use case to evaluate the experience of all types of customers calling your business.

It’s a good idea to ask a select few employees and customers to use the IVR and see how they respond to it. Specifically, ask if they are confused anywhere or if any necessary queries are missing. You may even ask customers in your target regions to navigate the IVR in their preferred language and offer their feedback.

Another way to gather feedback is through post-conversation surveys. This way, when your agent or employee finishes helping the customer, they quickly ask how the IVR experience was and where you could improve.

Then, based on these new caller insights and feedback, update your IVR system.

Pro tip: Test each call flow with its respective department (sales, customer service, or tech support). This way, they can provide contextual feedback that you may otherwise miss.

Create Your Own Multilingual IVR

Setting up a multilingual IVR for your global business does not have to be a daunting task. Yes, there are many different factors that contribute to its success, but it is a manageable task with the right vendors and providers.

For starters, you want a cloud phone service platform that can accommodate your advanced IVR needs. Then, you need a translation and/or audio recording service for the script itself. And before you know it, you’ll have your multilingual IVR system ready to support customers across the globe.

Need to upgrade your current IVR system? Consider switching to Global Call Forwarding.

Our service comes with a cloud IVR manager where you can customize and design your own advanced IVR. Our tech support team is happy to help get you set up and provide recommendations to meet your multilingual needs. Call us at 1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with us online!

What is an Inbound Call? (Strategies, Tips & Benefits)

Most customers still prefer using phone calls to resolve any service issues or questions. In fact, more than 40% of consumers favor calling a business over digital channels like email.

Since outbound and inbound phone calls aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, it’s helpful for service and support teams to know the basics of inbound calling. Without further ado, let’s get into it.

The Fundamentals of Inbound Calling

So, what exactly is an inbound call? “Inbound” refers to the way the call travels.

An inbound call is an incoming call. They occur when your business receives a call from a prospect or customer. In contrast, an outbound call is when your business calls the customer.

Since consumers initiate inbound calls, your business and teams don’t know the reason for the call until it is answered. So, your team has to react to the customer’s request – often referred to as reactive support.

There are different reasons why customers may call a business. Common types of inbound calls include:

  • Product or tech support
  • Inquiries or general questions
  • Inbound sales
  • Renewals and upgrades
  • Complaints
  • Billing and order updates

Additionally, inbound call performance is typically measured through metrics like first call resolution, average handle time (AHT), hold times, abandonment rate, and, of course, caller experience.

Methods and Software for Handling Inbound Calls

Inbound calling is generally handled by call centers, receptionists, support teams, and so on. The way your business approaches incoming calls depends on your company’s size, average number of calls, and your frequent call types.

Here are some options for handling inbound calls:

Inbound Call Handling Methods

  • In-house call centers – With this method, your staff directly handles all inbound calls on location. This may look different depending on your company’s size. For example, small businesses use help desks, receptionists, or a small team of support reps. Larger corporations, however, have an entire team or in-house call centers for inbound services.
  • Outsourced contact centers – You can also choose to outsource your inbound services. In other words, a third-party contact center (outside of your business’ location) handles your inbound calls for you.

Management Software for Inbound Calling

  • Call Routing Strategies – These strategies allow your business to route incoming calls to different numbers and locations based on your preset routing rules.
  • Advanced IVR (Auto-Attendant) – Interactive Voice Response (IVR) automatically answers incoming calls, greets callers, identifies their requests, and routes them to the appropriate destination.
  • Call Flow Builder – With this tool, you can build custom inbound call flows for your contact center, giving you complete control over the way calls travel through your system.

An example of an inbound call and how it should be handled.

How to Build an Inbound Calling Strategy

You can maximize your system’s efficiency and take caller experience to the next level with an effective strategy. But how does one build a strong inbound calling strategy? Let’s take a look.

1. Focus on the caller’s experience – A positive caller experience leads to increased sales, referrals, and consumer lifetime value (CLV). So, it’s important to deliver customer-centric support through a well-designed and consistent system.

Start by considering the customers’ pain points and conducting market research. Then, design your phone system to efficiently assist callers with their top requests and train employees to handle recurring issues.

2. Use the right technology – When choosing inbound calling tools, consider your communication goals, budget, and the number of concurrent calls.

Most inbound services use cloud telephony for their business calls. This is because cloud phone services deliver higher flexibility, better voice quality, and more cost savings. Many services also come with useful features like advanced IVR, auto-attendant, and call routing to streamline incoming call management and reduce wait times.

Other inbound teams use CRM software integrations to track the customer’s history with the business. This way, you provide personalized support for each customer.

3. Empower your employees – An excellent inbound strategy all comes down to the service you provide callers. Sure, technology and customer-centric methods make it easier, but ultimately it is up to the support your team provides.

So, it’s essential to train and empower your employees to make decisions and develop practical solutions. And you can use tools like call recording to train agents or for quality assurance.

4. Analyze your inbound calls – Once you’ve implemented your strategy, continue to track its progress and make changes where necessary. You can use features like inbound call detail records or call analytics to access vital call metrics.

Tips for an Effective Inbound Calling Service

In addition to a well-organized strategy, it’s helpful to know some industry tips for a successful inbound calling service. Here are our top tips:

• Set up inbound phone numbers

With global inbound numbers like international toll-free services (ITFS), you provide customers with a simple and free way to call your business. This encourages consumers to contact your business and helps establish a professional image. You can get phone numbers in your company’s target countries to provide support to international clientele.

• Provide omnichannel and 24/7 support

Although phone service remains a popular support channel, not all customers want to communicate over the phone. Some may prefer channels like live chats, text, or email. So, consider offering multiple contact methods for customers. Omnichannel support not only fulfills the customer’s contact needs, but also allows your business to provide cost-effective, tailored support.

And with AI and call routing strategies, you can offer 24/7 customer support. For instance, chatbots provide quick answers at any time, while Follow-the-Sun routing models ensure callers receive support regardless of time. So, your business is always accessible to customers.

• Offer self-service options and resources

Help customers solve their own problems and save time by providing self-service options and resources. You can set up self-service options for callers using an advanced IVR. Using IVR, callers can find answers to questions, pay balances, sign up for renewals, and more – without the help of a live representative. Additionally, prepare online resources like FAQ pages or knowledge bases for those customers who prefer self-service.

• Track customer satisfaction

To evaluate your service and satisfaction levels, distribute surveys and ask for customer feedback. This way, you know exactly what’s working and what’s not, directly from the customer. With this data, you can improve your inbound service and further maximize the customer’s experience.

9 Benefits of a Strong Inbound Strategy

With the strategies and tips listed above, your business ensures that customers get the best service possible when they call. As a matter of fact, a strong inbound calling strategy is just as beneficial for customers as it is for all businesses – small or large. So, let’s dive into the benefits.

  • Strengthen customer satisfaction
  • Increase inbound sales
  • Drive business growth
  • Boost employee productivity
  • Reduce wait times
  • Offer accessible, 24/7 global support
  • Improve caller experience
  • Enhance customer lifetime value (CLV)

Inbound Calling with Global Call Forwarding

Global Call Forwarding provides high-quality inbound services and international business phone numbers in over 160 countries. With our cloud-based solutions, you can access advanced communication tools and features to support your inbound calling efforts.

To learn more about our inbound services and how we can help your business manage calls more effectively, chat with us online or call us at +1 (561) 908-6171.

12 Reasons to Use Hosted IVR

Hosted IVR solutions help businesses automate call processes and manage their phone system effectively. In fact, it offers many benefits to any business – regardless of what industry your company falls under. And it is entirely customizable to your individual communication needs. As such, there are many reasons companies look into getting a hosted IVR. Let’s take a look.

Hosted IVR for Every Business

Whether you’re running a small business or a large corporation, hosted IVR helps improve the efficiency of your communication system. IVR is a highly adaptable solution that is perfect for managing call flows and high call volumes.

Streamline Your Business Phone System
1. Easy to Set Up and Use
2. Manage Your IVR From Anywhere
3. Use Hosted IVR to Reduce Business Costs
4. Balance Your Team’s Workload and Increase Productivity

Customize Business Voice Messaging
5. Customize to Match Your Business Model
6. Strengthen Your Brand Identity
7. Cater to All of Your Audience Segments with Multi-level IVR

Optimize Call Management
8. Automate Call Processes & Offer Self Service Options
9. Address Fluctuating Call Volumes & Avoid Missed Calls
10. Increase First Call Resolution Rates

Improve Brand Reliability and Trust
11. Remain Accessible at All Time
12. Improve Caller Experience

Recapping the Basics of Hosted IVR

Before we get into all the reasons to use a hosted IVR, let’s recap the basics of this tool.

Hosted IVR, or Interactive Voice Response, is a cloud-based communication tool for effective call distribution.

Other names for this tool include advanced IVR, cloud IVR, or auto-attendant. When customers call your business, an IVR automatically answers them and assists callers through interactive menu options.

Callers respond to these options either verbally or using their keypad. Based on their input, the caller is then delivered to their desired destination. This ensures that each caller reaches the appropriate agent or department.

Since this is a hosted feature, your business does not have to worry about maintaining or updating IVR software. That is taken care of by your provider. You simply design the call flows you need in an easy-to-use IVR editor or call flow designer accessible from your online portal.

12 Reasons to Use Hosted IVR

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive deeper into the 12 reasons your business should use a hosted IVR solution.

Streamline Your Business Phone System

1. Easy to Set Up and Use

Cloud IVRs do not require a complicated setup, since you don’t need bulky hardware or additional software. To access this communication tool, you’ll need a trusted IVR provider, a network connection, and an internet-enabled device.

Then, simply log into your provider’s online portal and start designing efficient call flows. Additionally, you can modify your hosted IVR at any point, and these changes apply immediately. This flexible solution makes it easy to address your business’ evolving needs.

2. Manage Your IVR From Anywhere

Since IVR systems come with most virtual phone services, you get a single, centralized call control platform to easily control your phone system. And this is accessible from any device, making it possible to manage your system from any location and at any time. So if you manage remote or international teams, advanced IVRs can connect and support all of your staff – even at the same time.

3. Use Hosted IVR to Reduce Business Costs

Advanced IVR systems help companies reduce overhead costs by eliminating the need for additional personnel. Since a cloud IVR automatically answers and routes calls, receptionists are no longer a business necessity. And with self-service options and efficient call flows, you can operate with an essential team of agents.

An IVR system also helps lower your business’ average handling times (AHT) – requiring less labor per call. In many cases, a cloud-based IVR handles caller requests by itself, bypassing human representatives altogether. According to an IVR study, one financial institution saved around $100 million annually with IVR compared to the cost of handling calls with just live agents.

Not only does this tool deliver significant cost savings, but it is also highly affordable on its own. Virtual IVR rates are typically cheaper than any on-premise call management setups– as it requires no maintenance or extra equipment.

Ultimately, the cost of an IVR system depends on which provider you choose. Most providers grant users access to hosted IVR features with business phone number plans, SIP trunks, and so on. So, it’s important to research providers that fit both your communication and budget needs.

4. Optimize Your Team’s Workload and Increase Productivity

Given that IVR systems efficiently manage and distribute calls, it frees up agents to focus on complex cases that need a human touch. You can set up call groups and other call distribution methods to optimize your employee’s workload. This way, work is divided equally among teams, and no one on your team experiences burnout. (We’ll dive into call groups more below.)

Since callers reach the most qualified agent for their issue, your team can handle queries quickly and proficiently. Thus, decreasing average handling time (AHT) in the process. And with skill-based routing strategies, agents receive cases matching their specific skill set – allowing them to perform better and feel more confident.

Customize Business Voice Messaging

5. Customize to Match Your Business Model

Whether in the marketing industry or healthcare field, hosted IVR works for every business model. This is because these systems are completely customizable to your specific communication needs.

Many advanced IVRs include custom phone tree designers and call flow builders. These editors give you more control over how callers move through your system.

  • Time of Day – routes calls to another destination based on time
  • Holiday – route or forward inbound calls during holidays or an entire holiday season
  • Caller ID – route and prioritize calls based on the caller ID
  • Location – route to a nearby office based on the caller’s phone number and area code
  • On top of that, IVRs offer customizable greetings, voicemails, and other voice messaging. Using this feature, your business can promote new products, inform callers about any business continuity issues due to disasters, and much more.

    6. Strengthen Your Brand Identity

    Anytime and any place you communicate with customers, it reflects your brand’s identity. So, your IVR gives your business another opportunity to create a strong, professional, and consistent image for your business.

    With hosted IVR’s custom greetings, voicemails, and prompts, you can create messaging that reflects your business’ personality. This brings life to your IVR system and helps strengthen your brand’s identity – improving the connection between customers and your brand.

    7. Cater to All of Your Audience Segments with Multi-level IVR

    Using a multi-level IVR setup, you can appeal to multiple audience segments. A multi-level IVR presents callers with a first set of menu options and then moves them to the next set of prompts based on their responses. This is very useful for businesses trying to address a range of caller needs.

    For example:

    If you’re in the healthcare industry, your business might get calls from patients, pharmacists, suppliers, and so on. A multi-level healthcare IVR allows you to format menu options to manage each segment’s requests and provide an all-inclusive service.

    multi level healthcare ivr

    Optimize Call Management

    8. Automate Call Processes & Offer Self Service Options

    With a cloud-based IVR, you can automate tedious processes like answering and transferring calls. Automating phone system processes saves time and money for your business. It also cuts out time-consuming, repetitive tasks for your agents. So, they can work on more complicated tasks or customer requests.

    Additionally, it reliably transfers calls every time. This means callers no longer waste time jumping from department to department to find the right agent. Instead, the IVR seamlessly and consistently forwards calls to the appropriate destination every time – increasing customer satisfaction and employee productivity.

    An intelligent, automated system like an advanced IVR often supports self-service abilities. This allows customers to complete simple tasks or access basic information – without speaking with an agent. Self-service options reduce hold times, call volumes, and your team’s workload.

    So, what type of self-service options should you include in your IVR? Here are some ideas:

    • Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
    • Company information like hours of operation
    • Troubleshooting instructions for common problems
    • Bill pay or basic customer account management
    • Simple upgrade or renewal purchases

    9. Address Fluctuating Call Volumes & Avoid Missed Calls

    Designed to manage fluctuating call volumes, hosted IVRs help businesses reduce call queues and wait times for callers. It’s able to handle multiple calls at once, effectively organizing, prioritizing, and distributing them. And since it accurately routes callers, transfer errors also go down – saving time for both customers and agents.

    Consider establishing call groups (or ring groups) that trigger when callers select a specific menu option. The system then rings your preset group of lines, either simultaneously or sequentially. This cloud IVR capability helps businesses effectively distribute calls and eliminate the percentage of unanswered calls.

    You can also utilize callback capabilities and set up failover options like Find Me Follow Me and Failover Forwarding. So, if your teams get swamped, you can manage a volume surge by redirecting calls to backup destinations. Similarly, if your teams are working on low capacity, callers can leave a voicemail or use self-service options. This way, you can also reduce the number of missed calls and you no longer have to worry about missing important business calls or potential sales. And the best part is that this works for both a high and normal call volume.

    10. Increase First Call Resolution Rates

    IVR systems accurately direct callers to the right representative or department every time. This means caller requests are solved quickly and efficiently. As such, there’s no need for callers to keep calling for the same issue. This eliminates repeat callers and significantly increases your business’ first call resolution rates – saving your business time and money.

    Improve Brand Reliability and Trust

    11. Remain Accessible at All Times

    Since hosted IVR is an automated system, it answers calls, takes messages, and assists callers even after regular business hours. In other words, you manage incoming calls at any time. This ensures that customers receive consistent, reliable service – especially if they’re located in a different time zone.

    Self-service capabilities and routing strategies – like Time of Day or location-based routing – also help your business remain accessible. With these techniques, you can tell IVR to send after-hours calls to different destinations. This enables your business to provide 24/7 global customer service using a Follow the Sun model. And callers get the support they need at the time most convenient to them.

    time routing

    12. Improve Caller Experience

    Cloud-based IVRs quickly answer all your incoming calls and professionally greet all your customers – giving them a great first impression. They accurately and seamlessly guide callers through your system, so callers don’t waste time repeating their requests. Instead, IVRs help by reducing the customers’ time and effort on the phone.

    Your IVR system’s main design should prioritize the caller’s experience and remove any roadblocks they might encounter. With all the features hosted IVRs offer, your business can enhance the caller’s experience by:

    • Lowering wait times
    • Reducing call abandonment rates
    • Solving their issues quickly
    • Providing consistent and reliable service
    • Offering 24/7 follow the sun customer support
    • Eliminating ignored or missed calls
    • Decreasing customer effort

    When you deliver a quality experience to your customers, you further the chances of retaining current customers and increasing customer lifetime value (CLV). By doing so, you drive growth – making it easier to stand out from the competition and scale your business.

    Manage Calls More Effectively with Hosted IVR

    After everything that’s been discussed, it’s easy to see how a hosted IVR system helps businesses manage calls more effectively. It allows you to gain greater control over how calls travel through your system and how they are distributed. So, the overall functionality of your business phone network increases. And as it offers many customizable capabilities, an IVR streamlines the efforts of both your reps and customers – leading to a more effective, well-organized service.

    As you can see, hosted IVR delivers many benefits for businesses looking to improve their phone system’s functionality. And with a trusted provider like Global Call Forwarding, you can start building a better phone system today.

    Get Advanced IVR with any virtual phone number plan from Global Call Forwarding. Sign up online or speak with our customer service representatives today at +1 (561) 908-6171.

    What is a Call Group? (Benefits, Strategies, Use Cases)

    An effective call flow creates a domino effect for your business. Your caller’s experience and satisfaction, first call resolution rates, and distribution methods all improve. Meanwhile, your hold times, abandonment rates, and missed calls decrease.

    But, how do you achieve an effective call management system? Enter: call groups.

    Understanding Call Groups and How They Work

    A call group is a management feature that routes incoming calls to a specific “group” of phone lines based on your preset rules.

    This is also referred to as a ring group. You can configure this feature to include particular agents, departments, or multiple teams.

    So, how does this feature work? Call groups typically trigger when callers dial a specific number or select a particular IVR menu option. Group members receive inbound calls based on the ringing strategy you set up (more on that later).

    If no one is available or the call goes unanswered, you can direct the call from there. Possible end destinations include your voicemail, a backup team, or even rerouting back to your IVR menu.

    Call Groups vs. Hunt Groups

    The term “hunt group” also comes up when talking about ring and call groups. However, this strategy differs from the others as it “hunts” for an available agent by ringing lines one after another.

    On the other hand, ring and call groups offer multiple ringing strategies. So, you can customize it to fit your team’s needs.

    Why Are Call Groups Important to Your Business?

    Call groups streamline your business phone system by effectively distributing incoming calls across your teams. So, your customers get support faster and reach the agent most qualified to help them – even during a call volume surge. Additionally, your employees experience a balanced workload and equal opportunity at high-quality leads. And that’s not all!

    Let’s look at 9 major benefits of using ring groups:

    1. Reduce call abandonment rates
    2. Better call distribution and even workload among agents
    3. Lower hold times
    4. Eliminate the chance of missed calls
    5. Improve call management, especially for high call volumes
    6. Enhance customer satisfaction
    7. Increase first call resolution rates
    8. Ensure calls are prioritized equally
    9. Boost employee productivity

    call group explanation

    Call Group Ringing Strategies

    Ringing strategies determine the order in which call group members receive incoming calls. In most cases, these methods help lower wait times, avoid missed calls, and distribute calls effectively among your teams. There are 4 types of ringing categories available.

    Let’s take a look:

    • Simultaneous Ringing – When a call comes in, this strategy rings all grouped agents at the same time. The ringing stops once the call is answered. Simultaneous ringing allows staff to address calls as they arrive.

    • Sequential Ringing – Known as sequential forwarding, this strategy rings grouped lines one right after another. So, if Agent A doesn’t answer or is helping another caller, the call moves to the next agent (Agent B) in your predetermined sequence. You can decide how much time the call rings for each agent before moving on to the next.

    • Cyclic Ring Pattern – Also called round-robin routing or rollover ringing, cyclic ringing distributes calls equally across your groups. This strategy starts by ringing Agent A and moves on to Agent B if this rep is busy. The cyclic pattern will continue down your list and then cycle back to Agent A until the call is answered. This guarantees that workload distribution is proportionate since each member receives the same amount of calls.

    • Random Ring Pattern – As the name suggests, this strategy randomly rings lines within a call group. With this method, you don’t have to worry about creating preset ringing rules or agent hierarchies. You just input your call group phone lines and you’re ready to go.

    5 Call Group Use Cases

    Most businesses create ring groups for their sales, support, IT, or accounting teams to serve customers better. Since this is a highly customizable call management solution, your setup may look different. It all depends on your business communication needs. Here are some ways your teams can use call groups:

    1. Connect your teams – Whether you manage local, global, or remote teams, use this feature to connect teams and agents across multiple locations.

    2. Establish backup teams – In case of high call volumes, create a backup team for overflow management. This ensures that no call goes unanswered, even if all other agents are unavailable.

    3. Distribute based on experience – Consider delivering calls to the most experienced agents first. Or, flip the script and direct calls to those with the least experience for more hands-on training.

    4. Encourage healthy team competition – Distribute sales calls simultaneously to incentivize your team and encourage fast response rates. Whoever answers first gets the sale! But give team members a chance to opt-out if they want.

    5. Manage calls after business hours – Handle after-hours or holiday calls by forwarding them to alternate call groups.

    What is the purpose of a call group?

    How to Plan Out Effective Call Groups

    Now that we’ve covered all the foundational information. Let’s get into how to successfully organize and configure ring groups as well as best practices for each. This way, you can gain the most benefits from this feature.

    Step 1: Categorize your Staff

    Think about how you’d like to organize your call groups. Do you want to divide groups by department, skill, location, or time zone? Agents can even belong to multiple ring groups. For example, Agent A is located in California and is a support team rep specializing in IT troubleshooting. So, you could include Agent A in 3 groups – the support team, West Coast time zone team, and IT troubleshooting team.

    Best Practices
    • Consider each agent’s level of expertise
    • Opt for smaller, niche ring groups over one large unit

    Step 2: Determine Your Distribution Method

    Set up groups to receive calls from specific phone numbers or IVR menu inputs. Then, decide on your ringing strategy and the ringing order of each call group. For instance, if you decide on a sequential or cyclic approach, which agent will the system ring first? You can distribute calls based on availability, productivity, seniority, expertise, etc.

    Best Practices
    • Keep ring times between transfers short
    • Pick a ringing strategy and order that speaks to your team’s strengths

    Step 3: Establish Failover Strategies

    If your business experiences high call volume influxes, your call groups may be flooded with calls. It’s essential to plan VoIP failover and overflow strategies if no one in a group is available. Some failover options include forwarding calls to a backup team or voicemail, providing callers with a callback option, or redirecting the call back to the IVR menu. This helps keep caller frustration low and reduces call abandonment caused by long wait times.

    Best Practices
    • Identify potential call flow problems, plan failover techniques accordingly
    • List all available backup options (offshore call center, remote team, etc.), so you can utilize them fully

    How to Set Up Call Groups with Global Call Forwarding

    Once you sign up for our service, you can easily set up call groups in our online Control Panel. Here’s how to set up a call group within your Global Call Forwarding account:

    1. Log in to your Control Panel.
    2. Choose a phone service line and click on Settings.
    3. Select Call Forwarding from the horizontal menu and click Advanced Routing.
    4. Click on the orange Go to Rules button.
    5. Click the green Create a New Rule button. Add the description and select your desired days and times.
    6. Select Forward All Calls and add your preferred call group phone numbers.
    7. Then, choose your ring strategy under the Call Method section, either Sequential, Simultaneous, or Random.
    8. Click Save Rule.

    Optimize your Incoming Call Flow with Call Groups

    Choosing the right provider for your business’ communication needs makes all the difference when it comes to call management. Global Call Forwarding can help you optimize your incoming call flow through our online control panel.

    Want to learn more about call groups from Global Call Forwarding? Speak with our representatives today or contact your account manager. Call us at +1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with us online!

    Three 9s and Above: Guide to High-Availability Infrastructure

    When purchasing cloud services online, you might come across numbers like 99.999% uptime or 99.9% uptime. And as far as uptime goes, “99 point anything” should seem reliable enough. After all, it’s so close to 100%, so how much can it really be lacking? And what do those extra nines mean?

    It’s a lot more than we think. To put it in perspective, 99.9% adds up to more than 8 hours of downtime a year, while 99.99999% adds up to only 3.15 seconds a year. Let that sink in for a minute.

    Depending on your business, you may need a high-availability setup with little to no downtime. To determine what that looks like, we put together a guide to high-availability infrastructure to help you understand the specific differences between three 9s, four 9s, and five 9s.

    Let’s dive in!

    Understanding the 9s: Three 9s vs Four 9s vs Five 9s

    Most service providers — including telecom providers — guarantee a certain percentage of uptime. This is also known as a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Uptime refers to the time a machine or system is in operation and actively working. Downtime, then, is when the machine or system is inactive or unavailable for use.

    Downtimes can occur for a few different reasons:

    • Electricity or internet outages
    • Moving devices and equipment around
    • Devices or equipment break down
    • Natural disasters
    • Updates and maintenance
    • Hacking or cyberattacks, and so on.

    And if you don’t have a valid disaster recovery plan in place, downtime can lead to significant service interruptions. This means your teams cannot complete tasks or communicate with each other. When your business is not accessible, you will lose out on providing reliable customer service.

    To combat this issue and reduce potential downtime, it is recommended that businesses build voice redundancy (failover and backups) into their systems. One way to do this is by incorporating high-availability infrastructure and services.

    high availability guide

    What is a High-Availability Infrastructure?

    High-availability infrastructure is designed to provide a level of operational performance and uptime that is higher than normal within a set time period. In simpler terms, high availability (HA) creates reliable systems that continue to operate with little to no downtime.

    What does this look like?

    A high-availability infrastructure is created by using clusters of servers — with failover options in place — to monitor each other. This way, if one server fails, the backup server will activate. It restarts applications that were active on the failed server and gets everything up and running again.

    A chart that high availability infrastructure and design.

    Basics of High-Availability Infrastructure

    One of the foundations of creating high availability is eliminating single points of failure — an element of the system that, if it fails, causes everything in the system to fail.

    To eliminate various single points of failure, most high-availability architecture look something like this at the base level:

    • Traffic load is balanced between multiple servers with a load balancer. This way, when one server is offline, traffic is sent through the other server.
    • Two load balancers provide additional support. This way, if one load balancer fails, traffic can failover to the other one.
    • Since failover to a load balancer involves a Domain Name System (DNS) change, you may experience downtime. Solve this by adding a tool for rapid IP remapping. An Elastic IP can easily balance traffic between load balancers.

    basics-of high availability infrastructure

    Understanding the 9s: Three 9s vs Four 9s vs Five 9s Uptime

    So, what do the 9s have to do with anything? The 9s determine the amount of availability. In other words, three 9s availability or five 9s availability is the percentage of time a network or service is accessible to a user in a given period, usually a year.

    During that period, your service will experience high uptime, while the remaining 0.0001% is the downtime you may experience.

    Here’s a table comparing the different uptime percentages and how much downtime you might experience:

    A chart that compares four 9s versus five 9s availability.

    99.9% vs 99.99% vs 99.999% Uptime: What Does Your Business Need?

    Now, 100% uptime is rare with complex systems. So, most services — cloud services in particular — will offer between 99% and 100% uptime.

    Shouldn’t 99.9% uptime be enough?

    In theory, yes, 99.9% uptime should be reliable enough. But as you can see above, it will still lead to about 3 days of downtime a year and almost a full day (21 hrs) per quarter.

    But the uptime your business requires depends on your systems and service demands. So, the real question is…

    How much downtime can you afford?

    And can you add additional failover options in place to make up for that downtime? When deciding what high-availability infrastructure should look like for your business, consider these questions:

    • How will my customers react if my service is down for 5 – 10 minutes? 1 – 3 hours? 12 hours to a full day?
    • What percent of revenue will my business lose at those same intervals?
    • Can I afford the costs of complex infrastructure?
    • How does the value compare to the risks that come with additional complexity?
    • Do I have the right people working to manage and scale the project?
    • Do we have an updated incident management process and a disaster plan for when systems are down?

    What 99.999% uptime means for your business?

    The industry recognizes 99.9% and above as good and reliable uptime. But when you compare 99.9% vs 99.999% — it is safe to say that anything above the five 9s (99.999%) is excellent uptime and availability. This is because the most downtime you will experience in a year is a meager 5 mins.

    How Do You Achieve a High-Availability Business Phone System?

    There are 2 ways to create a high-availability infrastructure for your business phone system with high uptime:

    1. Choose the right providers

    Find a provider that has high availability or multiple layers of redundancy built into their systems.

    When choosing a cloud telephony provider, ask about:

    2. Set up redundancy in-house

    Build geo-redundancy into your VoIP system and set up failover capabilities. Some ways to do this include:

    • Add mission-critical applications and services within your network.
    • Ask your in-house IT and operation teams to manage backup solutions, such as using additional hardware and equipment to mirror main systems.
    • Buy equipment that is easy to use, repair, and update.
    • Organize teams, agents, and call groups to function as backups.
    • Automate wherever possible and monitor quality and performance.
    • Consider hosting systems and teams in multiple geographic locations.
    • Use advanced call routing strategies to forward calls to secondary destinations if the primary destination is unavailable. Failover forwarding, sequential ring, and simultaneous ringing will help you achieve this.
    • Test backup and disaster recovery plans.

    How Can Global Call Forwarding Help?

    Global Call Forwarding offers 99.999% uptime through our high-availability and highly-redundant global network. We can maintain this level of availability and reliability because of a few different reasons:

    • Multiple geo-redundant data centers spread globally
    • Decades of industry expertise
    • Long-term relationships built with local and global Tier-1 carriers, and more.

    Find out if we are a good fit for your business by speaking with our telecom experts. Call us +1 (561) 908-6171 at or chat with us online today!

    What is CPaaS? Communications-Platform-as-a-Service Explained

    The Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) market has seen explosive growth since 2020.

    Dozens of new industry use cases emerged as a global pandemic forced businesses to shift away from in-person communication toward digital interactions.

    As a result, IT departments now require more easily maintained, customizable, and reliable network systems to power business communications. So, many IT infrastructure professionals are turning to CPaaS.

    But what does CPaaS mean in layman’s terms? And how can your business use a CPaaS platform and APIs to improve communications in 2022?

    CPaaS Definition

    CPaaS stands for Communications Platform as a Service. It’s a platform that enables businesses to add real-time communications (like voice, video, and SMS) to their applications.

    A communications platform is made up of several key components:

    • Voice, video, and messaging features
    • Cloud-based delivery model
    • Fully programmable and customizable communications APIs

    The acronym might sound confusing, but CPaaS is basically just a set of communications APIs offered as a service.

    In layman’s terms, CPaaS is a set of programming rules that allows businesses to program voice, video, and messaging functionality.

    Developers can use these rules to add and remove communications features as they see fit.

    With a CPaaS platform, there is no need for companies to build their own networks and backend voice infrastructure. They can just tap into a reliable, prebuilt network.

    What is a CPaaS Provider?

    A CPaaS provider offers application programming interfaces (APIs), code snippets, and web interfaces for businesses to add real-time communications channels to programs.

    Essentially, CPaaS providers serve up cloud-based platforms for businesses to set up a complete cloud phone system with all the necessary bells and whistles.

    Developers can choose from a range of features like voice, video, SMS, fax, and more to add to their communications systems. You can add these features through an online portal or via code.

    CPaaS providers continue to improve their APIs, product documentation, and in some cases, software development kits. They also provide support and product documentation to ease the development process.

    Types of CPaaS Providers

    There are different types of CPaaS providers that you can choose from, depending on the needs of your business.

    API Providers

    These are pure software companies that leverage other telecommunications networks. They’re a great choice for businesses with simple telecom requirements that just need to deploy a solution quickly. But they’re not ideal when you need to achieve massive scale or build highly customized features.

    API Providers that are also Network Owners

    Another type of CPaaS provider is the telecom network owners that built APIs to complement their proprietary networks. This is an ideal CPaaS provider as you can use their networks and APIs to tap into large-scale and low costs.

    The Big Telecom Giants

    You’ve probably heard of the legacy telecom companies like AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, etc. They provide voice services and phone numbers. But, they’re not technically considered CPaaS providers.

    How Big is the CPaaS Market?

    CPaaS was a $5.9 billion market in 2020. It’s projected to surpass $17 billion by 2024. Obviously, the CPaaS market is already massive and growing quickly.

    As enterprises transform their digital infrastructure and migrate operations to the cloud, this market is expected to grow.

    However, the market is fragmented with a few major players dominating the market.

    How Does CPaaS Work?

    Communications APIs are at the heart of any CPaaS.

    APIs are intermediaries that allow different applications to communicate with each other. In the case of CPaaS, your business would use these APIs to connect your software and applications with our backend telecommunications network.

    To take full advantage of CPaaS, you would need developers with experience using APIs. You also need software and business systems that are capable of interacting with API endpoints.

    However, CPaaS can also work through an online interface for businesses that don’t have developer resources. They can access communications features and implement those features with no-code or low-code.

    CPaaS Examples

    Here are the most common examples of CPaaS.

    • View available phone numbers and order numbers through an API or web interface.
    • Synchronize call detail records and recordings from a CPaaS provider with your own business systems via API.
    • Dialing a phone number and making a call through a softphone or PBX.

    A good CPaaS solution should help you fulfill the communications needs of your business through:

    • Product and API documentation.
    • Code samples.
    • Code libraries for various platforms and languages.
    • Software Development Kits (SDKs)
    • Developer and customer support

    Before choosing a provider, you’ll want to see real-life examples, API documentation, potential use cases, and a demo of how it works. This will help make sure you have the right solution.

    Key Functions of CPaaS

    We explained how CPaaS works above, but it’s important to get a better idea of its key functions. Here are some of the key functions and features you can access with CPaaS:

    Outbound calls

    Businesses can use CPaaS to access outbound calling and outbound call center functionality. CPaaS providers offer various APIs that enable outbound calling through business applications.

    Essentially, your developers would embed code into your apps and business systems for calls.

    Click-to-call is one of the major functions in this regard. With CPaaS, you would have the ability to make outbound calls, either by clicking on a phone number or clicking a call icon.

    Inbound call routing

    Inbound call routing is one of the main CPaaS features. With CPaaS, you can access virtual number inventories and provision numbers instantly.

    Also, you can use CPaaS to customize how inbound calls are routed within your business. If you want to divert calls to a voicemail after-hours or ring multiple users at once, CPaaS makes that possible.

    WebRTC calling

    WebRTC is a newer technology that enables real-time communications over a web browser. CPaaS lets you tap into the power of WebRTC to receive and make calls over the internet.

    Number masking

    Number masking is a common CPaaS feature. Basically, you can hide or “mask” your caller ID to keep users’ identities secret. Ride-sharing and delivery apps use number masking, but many sales and customer support teams also mask their calls to increase response rates.

    SMS & MMS

    SMS is one of the key CPaaS features. The communications APIs can enable SMS and MMS to be embedded within your business tools. This makes omnichannel communication with your customers possible.

    With this omnichannel functionality, employees and users can collaborate with each other and communicate with customers however they choose.


    CPaaS enables developers to embed video into their applications and software programs. Users can initiate video chats through native applications.

    Not all providers offer video through their communications platform. But video is becoming more important as businesses transition to remote work and telecommunications.

    Social media messaging

    Social media is a preferred communication channel among younger generations. It’s great for customer engagement.

    With CPaaS, your business can build multi-channel customer experiences on social media. For example, you can use social to chat with customers, send files, and check message receipts.

    Benefits of Communication Platforms as a Service

    CPaaS offers many advantages that make it a preferred choice among modern businesses.

    For one, businesses that leverage CPaaS don’t need to build their own backend VoIP infrastructure. Instead, they can tap into an existing high-availability network maintained by their CPaaS provider.

    As a result, the startup costs are much lower and less development-intensive.

    Second, CPaaS lets you scale up and down as needed. You can add or remove phone numbers and communications features through your code. Compared to managing physical telecom hardware, CPaaS is much easier.

    Finally, CPaaS uses a cloud-based delivery model that is highly redundant and incredibly reliable. You’ll never have to worry about major outages and downtime.

    Common Use Cases

    CPaaS has tons of use cases across a myriad of industries. The potential to enhance your business communications is practically limitless.

    Some of the common use industries include contact centers, hospitals, educational institutions, and financial services companies.

    CPaaS vs UCaaS vs CCaaS

    In the last 20 years, Software as a Service (SaaS) has become increasingly popular as a software delivery model. SaaS is centrally-hosted software that is licensed on a subscription basis.

    Along with the increasing popularity of SaaS, Communications as a Service (CaaS) has emerged as a popular option. Rather than businesses building their own communications systems from scratch and hosting their own infrastructure, they can tap into an existing communications platform on a subscription basis.

    Some popular types of communications as a service are CPaaS, UCaas, and CCaaS.

    This jargon might seem confusing, but it can be summarized pretty easily:

    • UCaaS is a one-stop platform that is mainly designed for internal collaboration. Everything, from video conferencing to voice and SMS, is pre-built inside a single environment.
    • CCaaS stands for contact center as a service. It is intended for businesses to communicate with their customers and provide support.
    • CPaaS lets businesses pick and choose which communications features they want. Developers can integrate cloud telephony and message into their existing applications a-la-carte.

    Related: CCaaS versus CPaaS: What’s the Difference?

    Talk to one of our telecom experts today or give us a call to learn more about CPaaS.