Published On: Thu, Jan 14th, 2016

What to keep in mind when choosing hosted call center solutions

photo by Scott A. Thornbloom

photo by Scott A. Thornbloom

Ask anyone charged with the task of choosing hosted call center solutions and they will likely tell you that it is no easy pursuit. Luckily for you, we’ve taken the guess work out and compiled a list of everything that you need to consider when researching call center VoIP solutions.

Here are six things to keep in mind:

  • The type of contact center software
  • The complete list of contact center software features
  • The integration of business tools
  • The degree of flexibility
  • The degree of scalability
  • How easy is the system to use

The type of contact center software

For all intents and purposes, the types of contact center software available today can be grouped into four main categories, each differing in terms of cost, usability, deployment capabilities, security and uptime.

  • On-premise call center software
  • Hosted (or VoIP call center) software
  • Cloud-based call center software
  • Web-based call center software

The complete list of contact center software features

After having decided what type of contact (or call center) software will deliver the best results of your situation, next it is important to consider what features you absolutely cannot do without. Here are a few of the most common features:

  • VoIP telephony services
  • ACD, or automatic call distribution
  • Multiple or unlimited concurrent calls
  • IVR, or interactive voice response
  • Intelligent call routing
  • Call queuing
  • Call management
  • Disposition codes and automatic screen pop
  • Call recording and / or call monitoring
  • Whisper coaching
  • Conference calling
  • Voicemail and transcription
  • Management tools and reporting functions

The integration of business tools

One of the most imperative functions of any great call center solution is business tool integration. Consider how difficult it may be if your contact center software does not integrate with your existing helpdesk, CRM, e-commerce system, or other platforms. Where would that leave your team in terms of productivity and efficiency?

The degree of flexibility

Modern contact center solutions far surpass previous software applications in terms of flexibility, particularly when you consider the added degree of functionality and accessibility provided from the Internet. With these types of web-based (or virtual) solutions, teams can access extensive call center features remotely from anywhere. This means that employees can take or make calls, access reporting tools. Engage in conferences or monitor live call from anywhere.

The degree of scalability

Few things eat up a budget quite like a poorly selected calling solution, or a system that outlives its usefulness to soon. Here are a few questions to ask when auditing new providers:

  • How long does it take to add or remove users?
  • Will I be charged per seat? Is there a cap on the number of seats?
  • Are minutes purchased in bulk? Will I be billed for minutes that I don’t use?
  • Will the system support my current call volume? What about during the holidays?
  • Will I be required to hire or contract an IT team?
  • Am I able to add or remove features myself or will I need to contact the provider?

How easy is the system to use

After you’ve carefully researched contact center solutions, and have narrowed down a potential shortlist of solutions that have the correct features, the scalability and flexibility you need and are the correct type for your business, the next thing will be to audit the systems usability. After all, there is very little to be gained from a software the only looks good on paper but delivers no tangible results. It is important to ensure that employees are capable of developing at least a basic understanding of how to use the software in as little as a couple of hours.
Guest Author: Lynne Austin
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