It pays to do your research before investing in a call center program.
As important as customer service is in today's marketplace, you can't afford to make poor decisions when it comes to choosing a call center software platform. But if you don't know what you're looking for, the process can be daunting. There are dozens of vendors to choose from, and each one seems to offer a different pricing structure, unique features and varying customer reviews. The key to selecting the right one is to know exactly what you're looking for.
8 things to look for when choosing call center software
The good news is that the process of vetting software platforms and vendors is much easier than it was in the past. The internet is a powerful resource with tons of information and reviews. As you do your research, here are a few things you need to look for:
1. Type of software
Not all call center software is created equal. There is a number of different types. The major categories are on-premise, cloud-based, hosted and browser-based. By far, the most popular modern platforms are cloud-based, but there are situations where businesses can benefit from other formats. Carefully consider your needs and weigh the pros and cons of each.
Your call center isn't a stand-alone system. It needs to interact with other portions of your business. Make sure any call center software you consider is capable of integrating with your CRM, social networking tools, helpdesk software and even marketing tools. The last thing you can afford is a disconnect, which will lead to frustration and a lack of communication among both employees and customers.
Editor's Note: Looking for a call center software? Use the questionnaire below to have our vendor partners provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:
Your business is anything but static. From month to month, you experience ebbs and flows. If you invest in call center software specifically designed for your business's current needs, you risk obsolescence down the road. Be sure that any software you consider is fully scalable. This will allow you to quickly add agents, adjust to handle fluctuating call volume, and add or remove features as you see fit.
4. Feature list
Speaking of features, do you know which ones you need? Each vendor offers different ones with its software, and you need to prioritize the ones that mean the most to your call center. Common features include an automatic call distributor, interactive voice response, skills-based routing, call control, disposition codes, call recording, whisper coaching and call queues.
5. Ease of deployment and use
How easy is it to deploy the software in your organization? Is it as easy as logging in and getting started, or will you need to hire a consultant to come in and meet with your team for a week to conduct training? There's a lot to be said for a system that's easy to deploy and use. It'll make things a lot easier on you over the long haul.
6. Customer service
How a call center software vendor treats its customers can be a determining factor in whether or not you want to consider it any longer. Not only do you want to see that a vendor is polite and helpful, but you also need to know that it's highly responsive.
7. Technical support
On a related note, you have to choose a vendor that offers good technical support. When something goes wrong – and it will from time to time – you can't afford to sit around and wait for a solution. You need the vendor to quickly and efficiently address the underlying issue so that you can get back to serving your customers. Some vendors do a better job of offering technical support than others.
You'll notice that price is last on this list. If you look at price first, you're likely to rule out call center software that would otherwise be a good fit for your company. You'll also find that you become obsessed with quotes and how much different vendors want to charge you. While cost is certainly important, you have to avoid letting it be the sole deciding factor. It's better to spend a little more and get better functionality and service.
The top call center software of 2017
Now that you know what to look for in call center software, it's time to take a brief look at some of the top software currently on the market. One of the following could be a good fit for your company.
- Five9: By far one of the highest-rated call center software companies on the market, Five9 does a phenomenal job of providing a system that's intuitive and easy to use. You can reach customers via multiple channels – phone, web, email, chat, mobile and social – and it's compatible with all major CRM platforms.
- Aspect Zipwire: Highly scalable and full of functionality, Aspect Zipwire is cloud-based call center software that exceeds expectations every step of the way. It also happens to be one of the least expensive options, which makes it great for small businesses with tight budgets.
- InContact: As a SaaS-based call center program, InContact is a cost-effective solution that doesn't compromise on quality or functionality. It helps businesses connect with customers via multiple channels and offers some pretty powerful call routing features that give even the smallest company the ability to offer responsive call center services.
These are three of the leading call center software platforms on the market, but they certainly aren't the only ones. Do some digging around and see if there are other ones that fit your needs.
When you review lists of the top call center software from different websites, you can begin to see trends and identify which platforms are actually the best. However, don't let someone else's comparisons and ratings directly influence your decision. You still need to think about your company and perform your own due diligence. You might come to the same conclusion, but you'll be more comfortable in your choice when you know that you made it.