To become a brand that customers love and are loyal to, the company needs to give them a reason to do so. Customers value the brands which they trust. One significant way of doing that is with exceptional customer service. And the best and most popular way to do that is by setting up a call center for your business.
Now, there are very many factors contributing to the decision of choosing the best call center software for your business. From the budget constraints to callcenter software features, to the scope of scaling operations as the business grows – the decision is tough.
However, with the evolving trends and changing customer expectations, brands need to deliver an omnichannel customer experience i.e. they need to engage with their prospects and customers on their preferred channel. And for this to become a reality, you need a call center solution that not only allows you to interact on multiple channels but also provides your customer service reps with a holistic view of the customer’s journey.
Let's first Understand the Difference between a Call Center and Contact Center
Let’s address the ever common debate of Call center Vs Contact Center. Unlike a call center that primarily focuses on voice and email as a channel of communication, a contact center caters to a lot more channels such as voice, email, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, live chat, etc. An omnichannel contact center software allows you to deliver a 360-degree customer service experience. Thus, arises the need to have a multi-skilled workforce too.
Let us now look at some of the key points to keep in mind while deciding on the right call centre software for your business from an array of call center softwares available in the market today.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Call Center Software
#1. Type of Call Center Deployment
There can be four types of call center software solutions available in the market. They differ in terms of the cost, time to deploy, scalability, maintenance, and robustness.
- On-premise call center software
- Cloud Call Center software
- Hosted call center software
- Browser-based call center software
Based on your need and other factors (which are discussed below) choose a deployment model that enhances your capability to provide excellent customer support and service. This will help you to further shortlist the best-suited solution for your business.
#2. Your Budget and Call Center Software Cost
Understand your need properly and also the stage at which your business is operating. For example, ideal call center software for small businesses is the one that is cloud-based. Whereas for large businesses having deep pockets an on-premise solution is a better option as it offers more autonomy and control for the organization. This might particularly be useful for organizations in the banking and securities industry where they have to deal with sensitive customer information. It is important to do a thorough analysis of the cost-effectiveness of the solution and the expected ROI.
#3. Call Center Software Features
Once you have done a SWOT analysis for your business and identified your needs, the next step is to make a list of call center software features that you DEFINITELY have to have for your team to work at their optimal levels. Some of the best call center software features for both outbound and inbound calling include:
- Dialers: One of the key components of an outbound call center software. Depending on the used case and industry, one can choose between different types of dialers such as predictive, parallel predictive, preview, etc.
- Automatic Call Distributor: To improve first call resolution (FCR) and customer satisfaction by routing them to the most suitable agent to handle their query.
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR): Lets the customers self-serve by playing customized messages and transfers the call to live agents in case of escalations. IVR plays a crucial role in determining the effectiveness of an inbound call center software.
- Reporting and Analytics: Get access to real-time dashboards and historical reports to make informed decisions.
- Virtual Queuing: Let the customer hold their position in the queue when the average waiting time is more.
- Agent Desktop Tools: Empower your agents to handle customers in an effective manner by providing them with all the relevant information in a single screen.
Workflow Designer: Design your business rules and routing strategies to improve customer satisfaction and agent productivity.
These are just a few call center features. You can have a complete list of call center features that go over and above all these. Having said that, it is imperative to first recognize the features that are of most significance to you. Once that is done and the solution is missing some features, you can always ask the vendor to customize the solution according to your needs. A good call center solution provider will be capable of doing that and thus, enhancing the overall experience.
#4. Available Integrations
Another must-have feature for a good call center software that deserves a separate mention are the call center integrations. Having a call center software that integrates with your CRM, help desk management system, ticketing system, or other third-party platforms such as Salesforce, Zoho, Zendesk, Freshdesk, allows and enables the call center agents to work productively and make things smoother. For example, if an agent needs to modify some customer details, she/he can change it on the CRM and the same will be modified in the helpdesk system as well.
Similarly, if a call hits your IVR during non-business hours, then a ticket will be created for it along with the transcript of the call recording. The bottom line is, to improve overall efficiency and employee empowerment, it’s always better to go for a call center software solution that integrates with all your (relevant) in-house systems – helpdesk, CRM, marketing, ticketing along with possible third-party CTI integrations.
While opting for a call center solution, it is important to keep your future business goals. You want a software which will help you move towards that business goal. Moreover, a call center solution which allows you to easily add or remove the number of agents and adjust according to the call volume. You need to know how much autonomy you will have in terms of the configurable features and how many dependencies your organization has on the tech-support team of the call center solution provider. It’s preferable to look for a solution which is an enabler rather than a hindrance to the success of your business.
#6. Ease of Use
Don’t opt for a solution that seems great in theory but is actually difficult to implement and use by your team. You do not want to be stuck with a call center solution which is too complex to understand that it requires extensive training on the part of the call center agents as well as your IT-support team. The best thing to do in this situation is to get a demo of the call center software. Nowadays, you don’t even need to physically be present at the demo location. They are available online. Taking a demo will allow your team to understand the functioning of the call center software at a close range. Post that as a call center manager, you can make an informed decision and shortlist the best call center software providers before making the final decision
#7. Technical Support
While installing new technology, you want a vendor who will be there to provide you support whenever you are in a fix. However robust a technology might be, you are bound to face glitches at some point in time. Thus, choosing the right call center software is important but choosing the right provider is equally important. Go for a call center solution provider which can offer you round-the-clock support. Because, for you to give superlative customer service, you need to have the right back-end team that supports you in case of downtime or some other issues.