Successful contact center implementation requires careful planning, strategic spending, and continual improvement based on customer and agent feedback. Especially if you’re starting a contact center for the first time, the process can feel overwhelming.

This guide to contact center implementation outlines a step-by-step process to help you optimize business processes, effectively allocate resources, and create a unified customer experience.


Key Steps for Contact Center Implementation

Whether you're setting up a new contact center or upgrading an existing one, following a structured approach is key. Below are the essential steps you should follow in this process.



Step 1: Define Contact Center Goals

To determine how to manage contact center implementation effectively, you first need to decide what exactly you want your contact center to do. Do you need a contact center to get more customers, shorten sales cycles, and increase overall revenue? Do you want to leverage contact center software to optimize the customer support process and provide self-service? Want to communicate with customers across voice calling, chat, email, and more–without increasing operating costs?

Answering these questions is a great starting point for determining, specifying, and creating a roadmap for your contact center goals.

For best results:

  • Brainstorm with and solicit feedback from your entire team
  • Keep goals realistic to your business size, current business phase, and budget
  • Break larger goals down into smaller, more achievable milestones
  • Set long and short-term timelines for deliverables
  • Avoid generalities and define quantitative ways to measure success (for example, instead of a goal like “reduce customer churn,” try “reduce customer churn by 15% by next quarter”)


Step 2: Choose Contact Center Type

Defining your contact center’s purpose makes choosing a contact center type much easier. The most popular contact center types and ideal use cases are:


Cloud Contact Center

Cloud contact centers (also called hosted contact centers) are cloud-based solutions managed and maintained entirely offsite by the third-party software provider, not end users. While many cloud contact centers integrate with existing hardware like desk phones, they don’t require businesses to purchase and install bulky, expensive equipment. Because cloud contact centers aren’t tied to a single physical location, agents can use their existing desktop/laptop computers and personal smartphones to access contact center tools anywhere with a working internet connection.

  • Key Features: Multichannel and omnichannel communication across voice and digital channels, unified communication tools like team chat messaging, file sharing/co-editing, and video/audio conferencing. Cloud contact centers also leverage Conversational AI, GenAI, machine learning, and Natural Language Processing to automate or augment customer service interactions
  • Best For: Medium-to-enterprise remote/hybrid teams that want to facilitate AI-enhanced customer communication while lowering operating costs and streamlining all channels and features into one unified interface


On-Premise Contact Center

An on-premise contact center is hosted on-site (servers are physically located in the office.)   End users are responsible for premise-based contact center setup, management, and maintenance–and agents must be physically on-site to access their contact center software.

  • Key Features: Device as a Service (DaaS) packages, equipment rental/purchase, custom security protocols, compliance certifications
  • Best For: In-office sales and support teams with extensive security concerns and compliance regulations, businesses that want to continue using existing phone system equipment


Inbound Contact Center

An inbound contact center receives inbound communication from customers and prospects.

  • Key Features: Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and chatbots, canned responses, CRM/helpdesk integration, interaction routing (skills-based, list-based, round robin), agent groups, Agent Assist, customer callback
  • Best For: Agent-led and self-service customer support, customer onboarding and product registration, customer success management


Outbound Contact Center

Outbound contact centers make outgoing calls to existing customers, prospects, and leads.

  • Key Features: Outbound auto dialers with call scripting and voicemail drop, lead list and campaign management tools, proactive customer engagement, ACW and contact dispositioning, customer surveys
  • Best For: Marketing and sales, collecting customer feedback, appointment scheduling and reminders, market research, fundraising


Blended Contact Center

A blended contact center facilitates both inbound and outbound communication across channels.

  • Key Features: Agent scheduling and forecasting, workforce management tools, agent coaching, performance monitoring, gamification, real-time and historical reporting
  • Best For: Small-to-medium contact centers that need to optimize available agents without hiring additional ones, teams leveraging contact center software for customer support and sales


Step 3: Select Communication Channels

Next, determine which communication channels your contact center will offer, like:

  • Voice calling
  • SMS text messaging
  • Website and social media messaging
  • Email
  • Video conferencing
  • Virtual faxing

60% of consumers have a less favorable view of businesses that don’t offer multiple communication channels–and 16% wouldn’t work with companies offering only single-channel support options again. (*) Make sure to include at least three communication channels to meet customer expectations. To determine which channels are most popular, review customer engagement rates and conversation volume statistics across channels.


Step 4: Evaluate CCaaS Requirements

Once you’ve defined your contact center goals, ideal type, and communication channels, it’s much easier to understand which features you need–and which contact center software has them.

Decide which features are essential, which ones you don’t need now but will in the future, and which ones could unnecessarily complicate business processes.

64% of business leaders plan to increase their CX spending in the next few years–so when comparing providers, focus more on overall value than price.(*) Paying a slighter higher price each month for a more complete plan gives you access to AI-powered automation and advanced features that lower operating costs. Additionally, scalable platforms with tiered pricing and individual add-ons help you avoid paying for features you don’t need.

Remember, available features and price are far from the only criteria that matter when evaluating CCaaS providers. Also consider:

  • Ease of use and interface intuitiveness
  • Agent training and onboarding support
  • Customer service channels, hours, and premium options
  • SLA uptime (99.9% minimum) and network reliability
  • Security and compliance certifications (HIPAA, GDPR, PCI, etc.)
  • Mobile app completeness


Step 5: Create An Internal Knowledge Base

Building a detailed searchable internal knowledge base lets agents find the exact answers they need to provide superior and consistent customer support during live interactions. In addition to step-by-step guides to common business processes, knowledge bases contain call scripts, canned responses, and FAQ answers.

Today’s CCaaS solutions include features that automate and optimize much of the knowledge base creation process. Admins can create training materials from interaction recordings and leverage GenAI to write and organize knowledge base content.


Step 6: Onboard and Train Agents

Although knowledge bases provide excellent in-conversation agent support, nothing impacts the customer experience and CSAT levels more than your contact center’s approach to agent training and onboarding.

Best practices for effective agent training and onboarding include:

  • GenAI Training Scenarios: Agents can use GenAI-powered chatbots to simulate real-life customer scenarios.
  • In-Call Coaching: Admins can receive real-time KPI alerts when performance standards dip below thresholds, allowing them to provide in-call coaching via chat messaging or call whisper to struggling agents. Call monitoring, recording, and transcription give managers detailed insight into current support quality, while speech analytics pinpoint exact areas for improvement.
  • Automated Performance Scoring: Admins can customize agent performance scorecards that automatically score agent performance post-interaction and automatically assign agents relevant training modules.
  • Gamification: Performance gamification and wallboards increase agent engagement and make the employee training process fun. It also provides opportunities for employee rewards and recognition. Given that only 32% of US employees say they’re engaged at their workplace, gamification can make a huge difference in employee retention and performance.(*)


Step 7: Identify Automation Opportunities

How you leverage AI to automate sales and support interactions can make or break the success of your contact center implementation strategy.

Although fully automated customer service will increase five-fold by 2026 (with 1 in 10 interactions being completely automated), knowing what not to automate is just as important as identifying automation opportunities.(*) The best way to take advantage of AI-powered automation is to use it to augment live customer-agent interactions, not replace 100% of them.

Effective AI automation use cases and features include:

  • Conversational AI: Uses NLP and machine learning to proactively and reactively engage in two-way conversations with customers across channels, displaying relevant knowledge base information to customers while personalizing interactions with integrated CRM data. Ideal for managing complex customer self-service interactions via chatbots and voicebots.
  • Agent Assist: Integrates with internal knowledge bases and CRM tools to give agents on-screen in-conversation next-best-action suggestions, call scripts, and canned responses. Increases FCR, shortens AHT, and improves CSAT by creating an efficient, accurate, and consistent support experience.
  • Interaction Summaries: Provides an automated post-interaction summary that highlights key moments with time stamps, evaluates customer sentiment, scores agent performance, suggests and assigns relevant follow-up tasks, and includes a complete interaction transcription.
  • Conversational Analytics: Monitors 100% of omnichannel customer interactions and agent activity to identify trending topics/keywords, consistent customer complaints/problems, and trends in agent performance. Admins can unlock next-level insights and view recommended actions by asking open-ended questions in a chatbox interface
  • Interaction Routing: Smart interaction routing automatically directs customers to the best agent (regardless of communication channel) by evaluating each agent’s skill set, department, schedule, and availability.


Step 8: Leverage Forecasting+WFM Tools

Well-trained agents, optimal routing strategies, engaging chatbots, and detailed internal knowledge bases don’t matter at all if customers can’t reach a live agent when they need to.

Workforce Management, especially schedule forecasting and adherence monitoring tools, is an essential part of your overall contact center implementation strategy.

Admins can choose from a variety of forecasting algorithms, use what-if scenarios, and enable agent shift bidding and swapping to optimize agent schedules. WFM features ensure agents with a variety of skills (languages, training, soft skills, performance scores) are included in each shift. Real-time adherence monitoring and automated schedule adjustments help keep queues short and prevent agent burnout.


Step 9: Integrate Third-Party Tools

Contact center software comes with pre-built third-party integrations that allow you to streamline all your business communication and collaboration tools into one interface.

Since available integrations vary by provider, ensure your software integrates with your preferred applications when selecting CCaS software. Especially if you have an in-house developer team (or experience with coding), you may be able to build your own APIs for specific functionalities.

Integrations enable Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) screen pops that pull relevant data from CRM and helpdesk tools, displaying it on agent screens during live customer interactions. Most importantly, integrations eliminate constant app switching, increase first contact resolution rates, and sync data and conversation histories across applications.


Step 10: Set and Monitor KPIs

Continually monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is the best way to evaluate the effectiveness of your current contact center management strategy–and to identify business processes and agents requiring attention. Today’s CCaaS solutions monitor 100% of omnichannel interactions, offering real-time and historical insights via customizable and pre-built reporting templates.


Top Contact Center KPIs

  • Average Handle Time (AHT): The average amount of time it takes to complete a service/support interaction (an interaction is “complete” only when both customer and agent agree the matter is resolved.) AHT includes talk time, hold time, pre/post-interaction work, follow-up calls, etc.
  • Average Talk Time: The average amount of time agents spend speaking directly to customers, excluding pre and post-interaction work
  • First Contact Resolution (FCR): The percentage of interactions that are entirely resolved during the first call (chat session, etc.) and require no follow-up
  • Customer Hold Time: The average amount of time customers spend on hold, including in call queues, waiting to be connected to a live agent
  • Cost Per Contact: The average cost per inbound/outbound contact (varies by channel)
  • Abandonment Rate: The percentage of calls or messages that a customer ends before they’re connected to a live agent, usually due to long hold times
  • Contact Volume: Identifies peak call/contact times, busy and slow seasons, the number of daily/weekly/monthly calls/contacts, and interaction volumes across voice and digital channels


Customer Surveys

Monitoring customer experience is just as important–if not more so–than evaluating real-time and historical KPIs. Create customer surveys in a variety of formats (open-ended questions, star/number rankings, NPS/CSAT scores, etc.) and implement automated post-interaction survey response collection.

Conversational analytics tools use NLP, industry-specific AI models, and intent/sentiment analysis to evaluate survey responses and identify trends in customer and agent behavior, contact volume, keywords, topics, and more. Real-time KPIs alerts automatically notify supervisors when essential CSAT metrics dip below thresholds and industry benchmarks, allowing for immediate intervention.


Choosing Contact Center Software? Start Here

Effective contact center implementation depends entirely upon the completeness, quality, and reliability of your chosen CCaaS solution.

At GetVoIP, we provide detailed contact center software comparisons and reviews based on our hands-on platform testing, industry expertise, and years of experience. We also help you make sense of–and learn how to leverage–current trends within the SaaS space.