More and more businesses are outsourcing their customer support to external call centers. How and Why are the two main questions which arise. It has been concluded that outsourcing contact management is cost-effective, enabling companies to lower expenses and boost profit margins. On the other hand, call centers offer specialized services and can enhance quality levels of customer support services.
If your business already has a contact management solution or is looking to find a new one, the task can be overwhelming, mainly due to the extensive numbers and types of call center solutions available in the market.
So, how can you find the perfect call center software that is cost-friendly, feature-rich and integrates with your business structure. We have compiled a list of factors to consider when buying a call center solution. Though there is no exact path to finding the right one, these tips can sure help you shortlist a few options before you take the final leap.
1. Jot down your business needs
Whether it’s a call center software you need or any other service, the first and foremost step is to analyze your business’s internal needs. It all starts from within. So, take a pen and paper, gather your team members, and let the discussions begin.
It is important that you gain a thorough insight on why your business needs a call center solution. You should also make a list of problem-areas in your business’s current contact management software (if you already are using one), or list problems which occur frequently in your business’s customer service processes. This analysis will help you understand key pain areas and what solutions to look for.
2. Ask around for opinions
Once the phase of internal analysis is complete, move on to contacting other business owners or even clients which are using call center solutions. Getting references can help a great deal as they tend to be more reliable and coming straight from a user’s perspective. Ask them why they are using a call center solution, what makes it stand out, what are the main drawbacks and so on.
3. Figure out what kind of call center solution you need
A call center solution can come in different types. The four main types include: on-premise software, hosted software, browser-based software and cloud-based software. You may have to go through all the benefits and drawbacks of each before coming to a final conclusion. If you are looking for a software which is cost-friendly and doesn’t require much hardware or capital, a cloud-based call center solution may be the perfect solution. On the other hand, if your business is large and requires mass-volume call handling, you may want to go for an on-premise call center solution.
4. Business application integration
A call center solution rarely runs on its own in a business. Typically, a business will have other software programs working simultaneously such as CRM systems, marketing programs, Database management systems, and so on. The perfect approach to this is to go for a call center solution which can be integrated with all other business process applications. Why? This will enable you to capture and transfer data from one software to another with ease. You won’t have to worry about extracting or retrieving information for reporting purposes.
5. Must-have features
A call center solution is basically a combination of features which make call management and contact management a breeze. But not all solutions have all the features you may want. Some call center management software programs focus on one aspect more than others. So, make a list of important features which are absolutely necessary to have. Then make another list of features which you may need but are not necessary. It would be wise to target features which aim to resolve the current problems you are facing in your customer management processes. Some of the key features to look for are:
- Automated call distributor
- IVR interactive voice response
- Real-time reporting
- Skills-based routing
- Call monitoring
- Volume call management
- Call coaching
- Predictive dialer
- Call recording and call clipping
6. Software flexibility
Call center technology is evolving a fast pace in today’s modern business environment. This technology is under pressure to consistently and continuously advance to meet changing requirements. Unfortunately, many call center solutions are rigid when it comes to their technological structure and framework. Such programs are costly to upgrade and can take a toll on your business performance.
However, you can opt for flexible and evolving call center solutions such as VCA. This solution is designed to identify changing requirements and reprogram to meet the new requirements. Another important point to mention here is that cloud-based call center solutions are usually flexible and can be inexpensive to upgrade.
The budget plays a crucial role in choosing the best call center software. Every business allocates a budget towards a certain project or need. Smaller sized businesses are usually on a limited budget whereas large multinationals have the monetary capacity to afford highly advanced solutions.
You can make a list of call center solutions which fit your budget. Nowadays it is possible to find plenty of solutions which charge a monthly fee for usage or offer subscription plans. If you do not wish to spend or do not have the budget to invest in an on-premise call center solution, opt for a browser-based or cloud-based solution such as VCA.
8. Usability and friendliness
The usability of any product can determine its failure or popularity. No matter how advanced a solution may be, if it is not easy-to-use, it will fail within your company. After all, who wants to handle a complex software?
When picking a call center solution, check out its demo if it is offering one. This will help you understand the interface and its usability.
Call center solutions can be a great and important investment which should produce great results in the long run. Therefore, your choice should reflect all of the above-mentioned factors with careful consideration. The right solution can give your business tremendous profits whereas the wrong one could damage your brand image. So, go out there and begin the process of finding the right software with these useful tips.