Buyers Guide to Purchase Call Center Software
Call center software is a tool that helps in the easy handling of both inbound and outbound calls of a business. These days, call centers deploy software to enhance agents’ productivity, handle customer queries effectively, and successfully improve call center operations. This is why there is a need for a good guide to purchase call center software.
A call center is a customer service center where executives answer queries, offer technical support, or manage sales via the telephone.
The aim of using software is to organize a call center’s operations for businesses.
It usually automates various tasks such as phone call recording, monitoring of customer interactions, organization of emails, etc. Small businesses can host virtual call centers, decreasing the direct costs needed for on-premise centers.
In addition, the best software solution will have many features like computer telephony integration, IVR, automatic call distribution, skill-based routing, etc., that can run alongside existing phone setups.
This blog will give you insights on the types of call center software, its importance, the features to look out for while buying it, and how to choose the right vendor.
Types of Call Center Software
Depending upon the type of hosting, the call center software can be divided into four main types.
On-premise call center software makes a major contribution to the industry. It is also called as onsite call center, legacy system, or traditional system. As the name describes, this type of software is located on-premise, at your office or call center.
This setting implies that all the software, hardware, and infrastructure needed are on-premise or where your agents work. Different servers are involved, including PBXs and IP PBXs. Your IT team must handle this software’s installation, maintenance, and upkeep. Rather than using the internet, it relies on phone lines.
It gives you total control over the software and can be personalized according to business needs. Therefore, it is not necessary to spend money on features that are not required.
You and your team members handle everything from the setup to the maintenance, customizations, and upgrades.
Hosted call center software is a type of software whose server is hosted offsite, away from the location of your office or call center. It is accessible through the internet that might or might not be connected to the web. A vendor usually manages it.
It requires a monthly subscription to use it over the internet. Start-ups and smaller companies use this kind of software often.
Its implementation and upkeep are easy when compared to on-premise solutions. A manufacturer or third-party software vendor can maintain it without difficulty. It does not require a specialized team.
Generally, data is kept very secure with this software. Hosted call center software requires no upfront investment as it is hosted onsite. It is often less costly than on-premise solutions since much less cost is involved for its maintenance and support. It is offered as a pay-as-you-go model, meaning you only pay for the software used.
It is hosted in the cloud, and users can access the entire data online. It is also known as virtual call center software. Users can visualize analytics through mobile or desktop apps and examine customer interaction data anytime.
Call center managers can also monitor key metrics and improve the team’s performance, thereby, end-customer satisfaction. Cloud call center software allows businesses to adapt to changing customer expectations.
It is a multi-tenant that can be shared amongst many agents. There is no need for dedicated IT staff to handle or maintain the software. It provides better data security, privacy, and uptime than on-premise and hosted software. Setup and deployment are quick and easy.
It is less costly when compared to hosted or on-premise software. It is also compatible with many cloud-based and browser-based business tools, thus making it more versatile than on-premise and hosted solutions. For example, this software can support remote work environments for your agents.
Using it, you can monitor the performance of each remote agent, track live calls, and listen to recordings of telephone calls. As a result, this will enable you to provide guidance whenever necessary. In addition, you can combine cloud call center software with any CRM you might already be using or custom software with API integration.
The integration enables support teams to see account details and call history in one place, focusing on providing assistance rather than juggling between various apps. In addition, as it is built using cloud telephony technology, no capital expenditures or equipment setups are required
According to your business requirements, you can use it as a call center for inbound and outbound calls or both. Furthermore, this software can be used as a virtual receptionist since it is integrated with the IVR system. Virtual receptionist capabilities eliminate the need to manually route incoming calls to the right agent and handle more calls efficiently.
This software is the most advanced solution. It integrates software, communication services, and other call center features into a web browser. It is hosted on the cloud but is accessible through a web browser. Therefore, it is not necessary to develop a mobile or desktop application.
Logging in is as simple as entering a URL into the browser.
There are many advantages of web-based call center software. Due to its ability to be accessed via a web browser, its setup is quite rapid. In addition, it is accessible from anywhere via the internet. This means that it allows scattered teams to work easily and remotely and allows call center managers to stay connected remotely.
It is also easy to implement and scale. It is a cost-effective solution due to:
- Management by the service provider (absence of dedicated IT staff).
- Lack of upfront investment.
- Availability as a pay-as-you-go option.
It enables the addition or removal of agents within a few seconds. You can also customize it effortlessly. Web-based call center software offers one-click integrations with many business tools. In addition, users have quick access to the latest product updates.
There is no requirement for downloads, plugins, or updates. Finally, this software offers better security, privacy, and uptime than hosted and on-premise solutions.
Why is a Call Center Software Important?
Call center software has been nothing less than a boon for organizations ranging from small to enterprises. You can use it for many purposes, such as acquiring new leads, conducting surveys, etc.
You can easily manage a huge call flow with this software. It is very flexible to use. You only need a stable Internet connection, a PC, and a headset. It provides the best data security and helps you to deliver higher-quality services. You can also integrate software like CRM with it.
When implemented at your call center, it can boost productivity. Call center software can automate all the processes and help you save precious time and effort. In addition, it helps you save costs that you would otherwise incur.
It is available round the clock, so you can help customers round the clock as well. This improves customer service and satisfaction.
8 Must-Have Features in Call Center Software
Now that you know the myriad of benefits that call center software will bring to your table and are already decided on getting your hands on it, why don’t we see its must-have features?
While buying the software, you need to analyze whether the features provided will be useful to the business and budget-friendly.
The requirements could be multichannel support, data analytics, reports, the feasibility of integrating other software like CRM, whether or not it has an ACD/automatic call distribution feature to route calls effectively, IVR feature, etc.
It is also important to consider that you select software in such a way that you reap long-term usability. Below is a list of features to look for while buying call center software.
Proper queue management is an important task in a call center. If customers cannot connect with agents, your products and services mean nothing. Over the years, there has been a drastic increase in the expectations of customers and a drastic decrease in tolerance amongst customers.
This means that customers do not like waiting in the call queue for long and expect their queries to be solved immediately. Long wait times are the most frustrating facet of a poor customer experience. Hence, keeping the call queue times within a healthy statistical range is important.
This is where the right call center software, training, management, and strategies can help. Scalable software will maintain the effectiveness of queue management even during high call volume hours.
The call queue management feature has many benefits. For example, it minimizes customer wait times, improves first-call resolution rates, lowers call abandonment rates, and increases employee productivity and satisfaction.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
When purchasing software, IVR is a crucial feature to consider.
Interactive Voice Response systems greet the callers well and enable customer self-service, which is ideal for customers and their budgets. It helps you manage call volume and automatically collects relevant customer information. This information is readily available to the agents, enabling the ACD routing to become smarter.
Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)
There is an alarming rate of increase in the number of customers opting for online transactions & purchases. For this, many customers seek help from the agents. This has resulted in a huge volume of inbound calls at call centers.
It enables calls from customers to be distributed equally. It automatically routes customer calls to the right agents automatically, without the customers having to wait in the queue to speak to them. Before buying software for your call center, ensure that it has this feature so that you can handle customer calls systematically.
Moreover, this feature allows you to customize the order of calls that must be routed from customers to the agents. You can also change this order based on the call volume. It allows you to route calls according to agents’ performance, location, time, etc.
Read our latest blog on 18 ways to improve call center performance here.
Skill-Based Routing/Live Call Transfer
Skill-based routing is a crucial and must-have feature for any call center software. It is also called skill-based distribution. This feature helps customer calls routed to agents based on their skills. Calls are directed to agents with the most suitable skills to handle customer queries.
Generally, agents are categorized based on many skills like expertise, language, region, demographics, etc. Then, based on their input, the call is routed to the most qualified agent when the IVR interacts with customers.
So, when buying call center software, it is important to look for this feature. With this feature, customers will no longer have to face agents who cannot answer or solve their queries, which could otherwise have an impact on customer experience to a large extent.
Skill-based routing simplifies communication & helps save time and resources. It ensures that customer queries are resolved within the first call, improving the first-call resolution rate and maximizing productivity. In addition, it makes ticketing simpler and more feasible to manage.
It can also customize routing rules that help you establish efficient workflows and adjust them as your needs differ. It also allows live call transfer from one agent to another while the customer is on the call for better query resolution. For example, if a particular agent cannot answer a customer query, they can transfer the call to the next available skilled agent who can solve the query.
In one way, this will improve customer experience and decrease customer waiting time.
Call recording is a very important feature in call center software. It provides a plethora of benefits to your business. First, it helps call center managers monitor calls between agents and customers. This helps managers identify the key points of agents’ communication skills that need improvement, like active listening, clear communication, etc.
It also helps managers identify agents’ knowledge about the business’s product or service and help improve it.
Another benefit offered by call recording is improved customer service. This feature makes it possible by constantly training agents and providing them with proper feedback.
The call recording feature in call center software also helps you identify issues like whether a customer is having difficulty understanding an agent, whether a complaint raised by a customer is true, or whether an agent is offering poor customer service.
Agent Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)
Agent CTI is the technology where computer and telephone systems interact to increase a call center’s efficiency. It provides an intuitive dashboard interface as a central location for all official communication. With the agent CTI feature in your call center software, there is no need for physical phones.
This single interface is enough for agents to make outgoing calls, receive incoming calls, transfer calls, keep callers on hold, etc., with a simple click of a button on their computer screen.
Agent CTI allows intelligent call routing, i.e., incoming calls are routed to the agents automatically based on the category of a product inquiry, degree of help required, etc. In addition, they can get detailed information about the customer on the call through an automated “screen pop.”
It lets them have personalized, smart conversations with customers, enhancing the caller experience. It also saves agents time you would have, that is otherwise spent on curating customer information. Information about call logs, call recordings, purchase history, cases, support tickets, etc., are also provided by agent CTI.
CRM (customer relationship management) software integration is important when buying call center software. It helps agents get a complete view of the callers. This information includes call logs, previous tickets, notes, chat transcripts, etc.
Not only does this information help agents to be more efficient, but it helps them to give a personalized experience to customers. For example, agents no longer have to switch tabs to place calls on hold, call transfers, conferencing, etc.
It provides a single window to agents with valuable integrations such as automatic call distribution, intelligent skill-based routing, and a predictive dialer. As a result, it saves the time and effort of agents.
As the CRM system or lead management software often displays everything you need to know about the leads, your agents can sometimes be sales executives. The customer also need not explain everything again the next time when they look for some support. CRM integration allows easy accordance between CRM software and third-party applications.
Cost is one of the most important features to look out for when buying call center software. Every software has a different pricing plan through monthly/annual subscription fees and varies as per the features it includes.
Here is the price comparison between the best call center software providers.
|Call Center Software||Basic||Advanced||Professional|
Before buying the software, ensure that you have a clear picture of the fees involved in implementation, the cost per agent, per hour/min, per phone number, and additional fees charged for advanced features.
You should also be aware of a few more important things, like whether the billing is transparent, whether the support team is available when there is any billing issue, and if any contract is involved.
How to Choose the Right Vendor for Call Center Software?
Choosing the right system is challenging as every call center software has features and functionalities. The decision is a huge task. The vendor choice can be a win-win or a lose-all situation for your business and workforce.
This is because the wrong software implemented can impact your business tremendously and pave the road to failure for your business. Hence, you must conduct a software vendor evaluation to ensure you select the right software. Below are the steps to help that can guide you through this.
Ask Your Team About Features Needed
Get to know what you want beforehand in order to Purchase call center Software. Then, you need to ask your team about the important features and functionalities.
When thinking about how your team will use the software in question, establish a shortlist of the key performance indicators to determine whether the software implementation will succeed. Your KPIs should address what you expect to achieve and how you’ll measure it.
If your team members do not like the software in use, find out the reason behind it and what can be done. Narrow down the important features needed by asking your team members and finding the one that fits all of them. Do look out for its usability in the long run.
Check Credentials/Track Record of Vendor
While looking for the right vendor for your call center software, check the credentials of the vendors. You need to know how long the vendor has been in business and at what scale their business is growing.
You also need to know if your customer service team can handle many inbound calls and whether or not the vendor has an engineering team that can perform product development if needed in the long run. Also, check for the reliability of software within various industries.
You don’t want your call center service to be affected at any cost, even for a minute. So, you must ask if the call center software guarantees uptime. Explain what is included in that calculation and what is not.
Get Feedback from Customers
When choosing a vendor, you need to ask them for any testimonials in your industry and check the vendor’s profile. For instance, looking for software and seeing what real clients and customers say about the company by reading through reviews.
Getting customer feedback is a great way to discover what they like and dislike about the software. You’ll also see what problems specific software addresses and its solutions there. If you can interact with customers directly, find out how long they have been associated with that vendor and how well they address their concerns.
Inquire about Additional Fees
Watch out for any additional fees or hidden costs that may come up during your time with the call center software vendor. For example, additional training, document management services, or setup may be additional fees.
You should pay attention to any mention of provisions that allow the vendor to increase fees during your contract. Ensure you can exit an agreement if it doesn’t work for your company.
Check about the Data Clause
Data is crucial to success in any business. Therefore, it’s important to understand what would happen if your relationship with a vendor ended and where your data would go. When you sign a license agreement, there are always strings attached. One of those strings is a subscription model.
If your company ends up parting ways with the call center software vendor, you could find yourself in a tough spot if it turns out that the vendor doesn’t allow the portability of your data. Vendor lock-in can be risky if you use proprietary software for customer management, marketing automation, and CRM.
One of the most crucial questions you should ask before signing is to ask the vendor what will happen with your data if you were to leave and how you could get it back. Getting your data back can be key, allowing you to take your business elsewhere or start over from scratch.
Ask during the onboarding process how much money you will have to pay and if there are other requirements for getting your data back. Know these terms, and make sure to have it in writing before you pay. This way, your data will be safe, and you can be assured whenever you want to switch the software.
Look at our latest blog on the top 18 benefits of CRM systems for your business here.
Inquire about International Reach
Call centers are not all the same. While there are many effective ways to help manage customer service, some work better than others. Know whether your software is compatible with international calls or not.
Often, companies scale and go international; if the software you use does not offer international services, then migrating to a new one will be quite a hassle. Either way, you won’t pay for international services immediately, right? So, check with the vendor about their international reach before opting for the service.
A world-class call center should be able to handle calls from around the world and provide services in many different languages.
Choose a Vendor as Per the Size of Your Business
While choosing a call center software vendor, ensure that it fits according to the size of your business. The call center software you will opt for should suit your business requirements.
Choosing a vendor with limited features will drag your CRM call center business behind. Selecting a call center software vendor that offers unlimited features as a package will result in unnecessary costs and a lack of personalized attention.
The goal is to be flexible and responsive while keeping costs low, requiring you to choose a vendor that can scale with your needs. Make sure the size of the CRM call center fits the size of your business so that you get the results you want and need.
Get a Clear Picture of the Cost
Call center software pricing can be confusing and tricky with all the hidden clauses and costs. Get the price quotation from all the vendors and ensure the quote is the final one with no hidden costs. Then, compare these prices.
Let’s face it: you will want to select the vendor with the highest performance at the lowest price. First, however, make sure everything is clear when estimating costs. You must get a selection of cost estimates from your competing vendors.
It’s best to write everything in writing, including taxes and currency differences. You also need to ensure that you use consistent and comparable benchmarks and data when evaluating quotes from multiple vendors. For example, suppose you require the service provider to have recent technology certifications.
In that case, it’s important to be clear with prospective vendors about what you’re looking for regarding required certification levels.
Examine about On-Premise/ Cloud
Traditional vendors offer services on-premises, while cloud-based providers are emerging. For many reasons, it may be wise to consider a cloud center call center vendor. The installation process over the cloud is much quicker and budget-friendly. In addition, the cloud offers more flexibility and scalability with multiple options for call centers.
Then, some want to purchase call center software for on-premise setup only.
Whether you choose a cloud-based or an on-premise solution is ultimately up to you, but there are some important questions to ask yourself before making a decision, like: Can your business handle its equipment? Where will we place it? Do we have enough space? What about disaster recovery and redundancy?
Look into Multichannel Support
When choosing a vendor, ensure the call center software has multichannel support through channels like web, email, social media, mobile, etc., that can enhance customer service. It should also offer KPI monitoring with customizable and pre-made reports that can be automatically generated at preset intervals.
Examine Scalability, Flexibility
When buying software for call centers, you should not forget to examine whether it is scalable. As your business grows, the software should be able to scale up. For example, the software should allow you to add more agents. You should also be able to upgrade it with new and advanced features.
Further, check if the software is browser-based and is available as a mobile application, as this will enable agents to work remotely.
Search for a Free Trial
A SaaS tool’s user-friendliness is crucial to its success as an enterprise tool. Every call center software has its strengths and weaknesses. Knowing the pros and cons of your top contenders is essential before selecting.
Make sure your call center software is free for at least seven days. Then, get trusted and dedicated agents on board for the trial and let them explore, too. The best way to know the usability of software is to put it against your use cases.
When you start using it actively, you can only truly experience how it will fit within your process. That way, you cover all aspects of user-friendliness—from the manager’s and the agent’s dashboard.
Why Choose Office24by7 Call Center Software?
So, you have seen the most important features that must be present in call center software and how you can choose the right vendor. I know this entire sifting through the vendor profiles and trying to understand their services will be time-consuming.
It will exhaust you, and don’t even get me started on how much time you will waste on them. However, you can stop worrying about these and select call center software by Office24by7 call center software. Isn’t this the better option that will remove much research and hassle from your part?
Our software fits the requirements of small businesses as well as the enterprise. Are you a one-person company, take our one-user plan, and offer your customer services, or are you a company with more than 1000 users? take that plan and optimize your call center. One size may not fit all, but one Office24by7 call center software will surely fit your requirements.
It is essential that the software you choose is expandable and meets your business demands by allowing you to adapt it to your specifications. The best vendor would give enterprise-level functionality at a reasonable cost. It should provide a state-of-the-art call center solution for a seamless customer experience.
Office24by7 provides complete technological help for all your call center needs. Our mission is to help you build a flawless and efficient communication platform with our call center software. Our intelligent routing technology will make the process smooth and simple.
We provide a total call center solution, making it easy for you to manage your business.
We are here to take your call center experience to a new level with our highly advanced call center solution. Call us at 91 7097171717 or drop an email at email@example.com today.