Call centers operate on extremely competitive terms and have a tough task on their hands. On the one hand, they must satisfy their clients with exemplary services that enhance brand reputation and saves them costs. On the other hand, they are in touch with customers of their clients and keeping them satisfied is no less important. Operations of the contact center depend on the infrastructure in terms of space, the IT setup, communications setup, people and their expertise and, not the least, the software chosen.
One can choose contact center software that may be installed on-premises or in the cloud. One can just as well select browser-based software or hosted software. Costs, ease of use and performance vary and depend on the IT infrastructure. Regardless, it is the features that make all the difference to the performance.
On the operational side, the call center software should have a rich set of features that includes telephone, unlimited concurrent calls, interactive voice response, intelligent routing of calls to the right executive who happens to be free, queuing, call monitoring, call recording, barge-in, whisper facility, conference calling and voicemail. Call agents appreciate the ease of use a predictive dialer and facility to segregate numbers into various categories and one-touch calling. A solution that incorporates WebRTC phone is to be preferred over IP phones. Automatic call distribution is another desirable feature to automatically distribute calls to available agents, specifically according to the nature of the complaint or request by the caller.
From the management side, the call center solution must have a complete set of business tools. Real-time analytics is a must-have feature and the intelligent analytics must go hand in hand with reporting to help supervisors and management monitor performance and take steps to improve or address deficiencies. Using browser-based software makes it easy to scale up or scale down the number of agents to handle calls without affecting speed or concurrency of calls. A simple and easy to use panel should make it easy to add or remove agents or other features. Further, the solution should integrate easily with backend CRM and financials if so desired by the call center.
Browser-based solutions have features that make them more desirable. In the first place, it does away with the use of separate hardware IP requires. In the second place, agents can be located anywhere and can use laptops or even mobiles to carry out their task.
Maintenance of the software can be a problem and could involve additional costs if the staff is required for that purpose. Seamlessly integrated software that works without hitches or the need for separate personnel is the one to opt for and the vendor takes care of upgrades and maintenance if and when required.
Ease of use is another important factor to consider in the choice of contact center solutions. Firstly, it should work right out of the box with no complicated configuration and set up required. Second, the interface should be simple and logical so that even new agents can understand it and get to work without having to spend time learning.
Some call center managers may think that custom and the tailored solution could be better. However, this is not entirely right. There are call center solutions that factor in all variables and are designed to be set up and operational in just under an hour with minimum configuration. Even training may not be necessary because such packaged solutions are complete with reference and audio-visual help for agents. Custom software may be expensive and it will certainly have bugs that interfere with operations and need to be ironed out while a finely tuned ready to use the software is tested and proven.
No less important are backup service and support in case anything goes wrong. It pays to choose a vendor who provides 24×7 support to resolve any issue that may crop up. Checking references and testimonials of existing users is the best way to find out how reliable a vendor of call center software is. Finally, there is the price to consider. Some packages with tons of features cost a lot but there are also vendors offering affordable yet feature-rich solutions based on proven open-source technologies willing to offer free trials and complete satisfaction.