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Call Center Software & Service Providers
Call center software is a crucial component of a company to track and manage a large volume of calls. This type of software provides many functions—such as quality monitoring, call recording and agent scripting—to support a call center, which administers incoming calls and makes outgoing calls in a customer service setting.
Call center software is conventionally housed in data centers and distributed over office networks, but it can also be delivered through a cloud-computing model.
The cloud allows centralized management of various resources, such as customers, agents, networks and telephony switches. It is a cost-effective call center solution without large investments in software or equipment.
Call Center Software Benefits
Reap the benefits of your own Call Center solution
Compared to traditional call centers, call center IP programs have a variety of benefits:
No need to purchase or maintain hardware
No large costs or maintenance fees
Reliable security and confidentiality
Multiple sites can operate as a virtual call center with at-home agents
Call Center IP programs also allow you to have greater efficiency and customer support across the board. A Call Center solution allows your company to address customer needs in a timely, productive manner. Plus, with call center programs you can have your incoming calls routed directly to the most appropriate employee or agent. This makes for a very effective contact system.
Factors in Purchasing Call Center Software
What to look for when choosing a Call Center solution
When shopping for a call center solution for your company, consider the following factors:
For businesses with call centers in various countries, the ability to scale your call center is critical in providing a secure and stable enterprise call center solution. In the past, companies were limited by their geographical location. But now, call centers are not limited in their global reach.
Consider if your call center software offers CRM integration. Programs like Salesforce, Zendesk, Netsuite and more can be integrated with your software to make for a well-rounded call center.
Think about what features you would like your call center to have. Call queueing? Call recording? Barge? Ensure that your call center software or provider offer the features your business needs to succeed.
Ease of use is another big factor to consider. Having a call center solution that is easy to maintain, deploy, and use it critical to your success.
Types and Features of Call Center Software
Whether a call center is inbound, outbound or blended, there are available programs to productively run operations while lowering costs.
Call Center Software Types:
Automatic call distributor (ACD)
Interactive voice response (IVR)
For an inbound call center system, there are user-friendly interactive voice response and automatic call distributor systems. IVR lets customers interact with a company’s phone system by using a phone keypad or speech recognition.
On the other hand, ACD is a phone system that distributes incoming calls. These features not only provide quality customer care, but also lower operational costs as well.
For an outbound call center system, there is a predictive dialer feature to keep employees productive and increase sales revenue. This function is a computerized system that automatically dials numerous phone numbers to connect to agents.
The blended call center system is for companies who have both inbound and outbound functions. For advanced voice self-service applications, some software offers IVR with speech recognition.
For companies who need automated notifications, voice message broadcasting or appointment reminders, the auto dialer function keeps customers informed so that employees can focus on revenue-generating activities.
To further minimize staffing costs and improve productivity, some software applications include an integrated workforce management solution, which enables agent scheduling and staffing.
Call Center Software or a Call Center Provider
Which one is right for my business?
As a consumer shopping for a call center solution, you have two options: do I purchase call center software, or choose a call center provider? There are certainly advantages to both of these solutions, and choosing the right one depends on what your business needs are.
With call center software, a user maintains, updates, and customizes their own call center solution. These types of solutions are often referenced as "on-premise" call centers, meaning that companies have local control over their system. This is a good choice for companies who would prefer to handle security and IT upkeep themselves.
With a call center provider, users have a service provider host their call center solution in the cloud. What does this mean for your business? For starters, choosing a call center service provider helps save you money. There are no upfront costs or hardware investments to speak of (other than your existing Internet connection) because all of the equipment is hosted by the provider at an off-site location. Because of this, you can guarantee that your system will always be upgraded and running.
Pricing for Call Center Software
Call center solutions are priced based on size and number of users
Call center software is a tool that can benefit your business with a higher profitability and lower costs, but you need to pick the right solution at the right price.
Although the price of call center programs varies, one feature is common throughout — providers charge by the seat (also referenced as per agent or per extension). According to Business.com an on-premise call center software solution can cost anywhere from $1,200 for smaller solutions to as much as $25,000 for a larger setup. On the other hand, hosted software can range from $50 to $300 per agent. CostOwl.com notes that the solutions needed for mid-sized businesses range around $65 to $125 per user per month. Oftentimes you can negotiate with providers for cheaper monthly rates if you agree to a longer contract period, too.
For a large call center solution, plan on spending upwards of $100,000-$500,000 on software and equipment. You'll also need to factor in additional fees for setup, installation, maintenance and more.
If you're unsure if a call center solution is right for you, most providers offer a free 30-day trial, so be sure to take advantage of this to test for service, upkeep, quality, and more.