Despite having a name that refers back to the early days of the telephone, Halloo strives to be an innovating pioneer by inventing a suite of telecommunication tools of the future. Halloo’s software looks like a brother or sister of your Facebook news feed, and actually lets you interact with customers just as intensely as Facebook does with your personal friends. The platform leverages all of the useful sales and marketing data your company has to assist you in getting the most out of your phone calls, and provides call center features to give your team the same power as the biggest Fortune 500 companies have in their enterprise systems. Excited to learn more about this ambitious VoIP provider and its services, we invited the company’s CEO Jim Li for an interview.
Can you introduce yourself and your company Halloo?
Halloo was founded back in 2002 and has since become the leading provider of cloud based business phone systems. Our goal is to transform the way corporations interact by making the whole process easier to increase effectiveness and productivity. Our web-based voice and contact management tools make it possible for companies of all sizes located anywhere to fulfill this. Backed with superior customer support, these tools and easy to use services are the perfect way for us to guarantee customer satisfaction and success for the years to come.
How did you come up with the name Halloo?
“Halloo” is the old-English word for “hello”, and is a call or beckon. The dictionary defines it as, “a shout to attract attention, esp to call hounds at a hunt”.
Why did you decide to integrate a contact management system into your software?
Traditional CRMs are loved by managers and often disliked by customer service reps due to the tedious data entry required. Caller-ID, time and date of call, length of call, identity of caller, etc., all have to be input into a database for every call. We began to recognize that the “metadata” surrounding business phone calls adds as much, if not more, value to the sales or service organization using our virtual phone services. Our system is designed to integrate directly into the flow of the call center, capturing as much metadata as possible at the time of the call and displaying related call history to the agent. In this way, we can help the agent to see the “big picture” relating to every caller, to improve customer service and satisfaction.
Is it just us, or did you develop and design your software to resemble Facebook’s interface?
There are many successful systems that use a “timeline” format to display activity. In enterprise software, Yammer, for example, has been very successful taking the “social paradigm” to improve collaboration and communication within companies. We believe that displaying call activity within a similar format is natural for call center collaboration and fosters teamwork and sharing of knowledge.
Can you tell us more about your FlexCall Center solution?
FlexCall Center is our solution for small, distributed call centers needing true ACD queuing. FlexCall works with the customer’s existing telephones and is a pure cloud solution, requiring no software or hardware. It uses a web-based console to allow third-party call control and offers features such as silent monitoring, barge-in, queued call pickup and conferencing.
Is it easy for SMBs with limited IT resources to integrate their existing CRM, phone infrastructure with Halloo?
We work with any standard phone including landline, mobile, and VoIP. And now, we also allow customers to pick up calls within their Chrome web browser directly in My Halloo, thanks to the new WebRTC technology.
We are planning to integrate with popular cloud based CRM packages in future releases. In particular, we believe that cloud vendors working together can significantly help SMBs with limited IT resources by offering pre-integrated services.
Is your VoIP solution also suited for businesses that make and receive a lot of international calls?
Our WebRTC solution is great for that as it saves on long distance termination charges. At this time we do not support direct connection to customer VoIP equipment. Those clients will need to bring their own “dialtone” to their phones via a provider like Vonage or Skype.
Which tips would you like to give to SMBs to improve their phone calls, other than using a VoIP of course?
Small businesses should think more about the cost of missing calls. According to a Fortune Magazine study, 80% of callers to businesses hang up when hearing voice mail. Considering the expense that most companies invest in marketing and convincing would be customers to pick up the phone, dropping the ball at the goal line is especially tragic. We introduced the Halloo Receptionist service as an optional feature to help our customers ensure that their important calls get answered by a live agent, 24x7x365. Staffing for that level of service is well beyond the means of most SMBs. Rolling over to a professional 24×7 call center reduces abandoned calls and makes a small business appear larger. This increases confidence and customer satisfaction.
How do you see (phone) calls evolve over the coming years?
We have already seen the traditional phone call replaced by other modes of communication, e.g. text, email, web, in many instances. But just as television did not “kill” radio, the traditional telephone call center will evolve into a more comprehensive multi-contact center. Direct human connection is still preferred in many situations where service is seen as an added value.
We’re very excited about driving information from calls down and throughout the sales and service organization to improve productivity and customer satisfaction. By making the phone system more “social”, we believe that we can improve teamwork and accountability, and that ultimately improves the bottom line. We want to eliminate repetition, for example, requiring every agent to ask a caller for their email address and account number, and improve first call resolution.
Which features, updates does Halloo have in store for the months to come?
We have many features planned for future releases. Better timeline capabilities, call recording, integration with third party SaaS services are just a hint of what’s to come.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Our thanks go to Jim Li for doing this interview with us!