|User Reviews||Read Reviews||Read Reviews||Read Reviews||Read Reviews||Read Reviews|
|Call Center Offering Overview|
|Most Popular Call Center Plan||Cloud Call Center||Blended Contact Center||Hosted Contact Center||Advanced||Cloud Contact Center|
|Monthly Costs Range||3 tiers, ranging from $99.99 - $159.99||By Quote Only||By Quote Only||Basic $99.99/month/user, Advanced $119.99/month/user, and Ultimate $179.99/month/user||$199 a month per user|
|Requires Contract||No - Pay as you go monthly pricing available||No - Pay as you go monthly billing||No, pay as you go monthly billing||No||No|
|Types of Solutions||Inbound, Outbound, Blended||Inbound, Outbound, Blended||Inbound, Outbound, Blended, Enterprise||Inbound, Outbound and Blended||Cloud, Onsite, Hybrid, Inbound, Outbound, and Blended|
|Customizable Plans||Yes - Annual pre-pay; Annual M2M, and month to month pricing.||Yes, "flexible contracts"||Yes, "service fluctuating call volumes with on-demand scalability"||Yes||Yes, includes month-to-month option|
|Setup Fee||Varies by Plan||Fees Vary||Free, varies by plan||Free||Varies by plan|
|Number Port Fee||Free||Yes||Yes||None||Yes|
|International Calling Options|
|Money Back Guarantee||N/A||N/A||N/A||30 Days||None, pay per usage|
|Compare Call Center Providers by Features & Pricing|
|Advanced IVR||Including Outbound Calls||Lets you serve all call locations with one IVR application|
|Agent Desktop||Web based||Through My Agent eXperience||Web Based|
|Agent Scripting||Inbound and Outbound|
|Answering Machine and Fax Detection||Reroute incoming calls to outbound callers to increase the number of avaiable agents|
|Campaign & List Management||Through CRM dialer|
|CRM Integrations||Built-in support for Salesforce, Zendesk, and Microsoft Dynamics||Built-in CRM as well as support for Salesforce, Oracle, Zendesk & more||Over 100 third party CRM|
|CTI Screen Pop|
|DNC Compliance||w/ Realtime list management||Real-time DNC list management||Through partnership with Gryphon Networks||Intelligent call supression|
|Intelligent ACD (Automated Call Distribution)||Skills based rerouting|
|Local Number Dial|
|Power Dialer||Personal Connection Outband Dialer Technology with “pacing engine algorithm” to deliver calls at optimum pace as agents are available|
|Prompts for Effective Self-Service||Intelligent call suppression|
|Real-Time DNC List Management|
|Real-Time, Historical, and Custom Reports|
|Script Designer||Create decision trees for agents, limit the programs agents can toggle in a call, create custom style sheets|
|Silent Monitoring||Real-time visibility into activities of all agents along with instant messaging and chat capabilities|
|Text-to-Speech & Speech Recognition|
|Toll-Free Numbers||Provides global toll-free numbers|
|Voicemail Routing||inContact Auto Attendant system to forward calls to any extension or phone number.|
|Web & Queue|
|Number of Server Locations (Data Centers)||4 - US East (Virginia), Asia Pacific (Sydney), EU (Ireland), and Japan. China and Canada coming soon.||Under 10||4||3: East Coast US, West Coast US, Europe||N/A|
|Fully Redundant Network||2 in US, 2 in Europe|
|Service Level Agreement|
|Real-time Status Monitoring & Alerts|
|Hours of Operarion||24/7/365||24/7/365||24/7 emergency care, 12p-5p standard customer care. Care plus increases to 24/7 customer care, plus a dedicated rep||24/7/365||24/7/365|
|Email Support||Email firstname.lastname@example.org to automatically create a case with your problem description|
|Online Ticket Submission||Through Customer Support Portal|
|Dedicated Reps||With Premium Support||With upgraded support packages|
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What to Look for in Call Center Software Providers:
1. Service Reliability & Uptime –
No other metric is as important as reliability. If your call center is down for even a minute, you’re losing lots of money every minute. Your contact center software provider of choice should have at least 99.99% reliability. You can even get as much as 99.999% uptime from a company like Five9. Unlike on-premise solutions, hosted contact center software solutions are geographically redundant to improve dependability.
2. Ease of Use, Admin Portal Access, Dashboard Simplicity –
The best features in the world are useless if the agent ends up writing everything down on a piece of scrap paper. Make sure the complex features of your potential contact center software are still easy enough to learn and use.
3. Provides a 360 Degree View of Your Customer –
Your call center solutions need to pull information about a customer from several sources and put that information in front of the agent, so the agent can better serve the customer. Knowing the customer’s past actions and present concerns will help predict their future needs.
4. Customer Self Service Features and Automated Tasks –
Let your agent do the important stuff, but the boring tasks can be done for you. A good call center software will make the most of your agent’s time.
5. Security Measures –
In today’s age of identity theft and leaked emails, you need the proper amount of encryption to keep your data safe. In addition, all financial and medical communications/data are tightly regulated. Be sure that your customers will feel safe giving private information to your agents.
Auto Dialers to Consider for Outbound Call Centers:
Outbound call centers will benefit from an increase in productivity, and high level of efficiency. One of the easiest ways to ensure this high level of productivity and efficiency is through the use of call center software that integrates automatic dialers. Automatic dialers remove the burden of manually dialing out each call from your agents, putting in place automated systems to handle lead and call management. Included in most call center software solutions, it is important to look out for these dialers when comparing providers, as not all come packaged together.
1. Preview Dialers
Preview dialers make calls from a predetermined list of leads for your agents, and will quickly provide an overview of the current caller’s information prior to placing that call. This allows agents to see any previous calls, sales, or account information relevant in order to build context around the call. Preview dialers will sequentially dial out from this list to continue a steady stream of calls.
2. Predictive Dialers
Predictive dialer software are designed to place the maximum number of calls possible in a shortest period of time. Predictive dialers will collect data such as average call length, the number of agents available, and the average number of calls it takes to successfully connect with a contact. These dialers utilize statistical algorithms to determine the necessary information to reduce agent downtime. Time that agents would normally spend weeding unsuccessful calls before they eventually reach a live person is severely reduced.
3. Power Dialers
Power dialers are simple yet still offer a significant boost to productivity. These will only dial out to a new call when an agent has finished their previously call and is available to move on to the next. When placing their calls, power dialers will also consider the priority and skill of all agents, or any alternative departments, available to help determine the efficient match.
4. Progressive Dialers
Progressive dialers combine the functions of both power and preview dialers into one solution. These dialers will automatically call out from a list of leads one after the other to help maintain that constant flow of calls and reduce the downtime in between, while also providing the relevant call information and history to the agent. However, this information is displayed when the call is being dialed.
Want more info? Here’s a Definitive Guide to Understanding Automatic Dialers.
Important Features to Consider for Inbound Call Centers:
With inbound call centers, improving productivity and efficiency comes through properly routing your incoming calls to the agent best suited for the scenario. Back in the day, calls had to be manually routed to agents, or were simply dropped to the next available agent regardless of skill or priority. Now, with the adoption of contact center software solutions, you can ensure your contact center has an automated system in place to ensure callers will get the right agent, every time. No more blind call shuffles, with features like automated attendants to help guide your callers, or skills based routing to properly redirect the calls everyone will reach the department they need on the first try so your agents do not have to be bouncing callers around.
1. Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)
Commonly utilized by contact centers that handle high volume of inbound calls, Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) systems redirect and route incoming calls to the proper agent, with the specific skill sets or priority to handle the call. These systems will take into account information such as the caller’s menu selection, telephone number or even the time of day. Automatic Call Distributors are one of the most important aspects of maintaining efficiency in an inbound contact center. More on ACD systems here.
2. Interactive Voice Response system (IVR)
To even further boost the benefits gained by an ACD, combining this automatic system with an Interactive Voice Response system ensures your callers will always receive the proper agent, department or assistance that they need. IVR systems asks callers a series of questions to decide where they would like to have their calls routed. These can also allow contact centers to manage their own custom menus, greetings and prompts to direct and inform callers.
Additional Reading: 10 Questions to Ask When Comparing IVR Systems
3. Skills-based Routing
Again working in conjunction with the previously mentioned features, skills-based routing will help your ACD and IVR systems to properly direct callers to the department or priority level they need, or have specified. Skills-based routing will direct callers to the most appropriate agent for the situation based on the caller’s IVR selection, the agent’s skill set and priority level, as well as the caller’s interaction history. This feature can also take into account other factors like language spoken or geographical location.
4. Customized Call Queues
Even with all these systems in place, all contact centers – high or low volume – can and will experience call queues. But it is important to manage these queues to ensure minimal wait time, and high satisfaction of your callers. Between music on hold, personalized greetings, separate queues for each department, and even the ability to set maximum queue size, contact center software solutions allow centers to help minimize the time spent waiting for callers. Some solutions even allow the option for an agent to callback instead of waiting on hold.
5. Dedicated phone numbers/extensions
Dedicated phone numbers or extensions allow your contact center to break up its call queues, and departments. With dedicated numbers or extensions given out to specific departments, or even high skilled or management positions, your contact center can be better organized and truly take advantage of skills-based routing and ACD systems. With direct lines, your callers can also bypass the IVR if they know exactly who they need to speak to.
6. Agent Voicemails
In combination with dedicated phone numbers, providing voicemail systems for either specific agents, or department wide can help maintain a high level of efficiency, and professionalism. If an agent is unavailable, whether that be due to a current call or other priority, you can provide your callers with an option to leave a voicemail so they can be dialed back when the agent becomes available again. This will also allow customers to contact centers even out of their hours, leaving a message to have their call returned once the contact center opens for operating hours.
7. Real-Time Metrics/Analytics
With a real time, dashboard in place to monitor your agent’s activity and data, managers have the ability to make quick decisions and priority shifts to ensure the highest level of efficiency and productivity, as well as satisfaction level for the inbound callers. Managers can monitor information such as average wait time, average handle time for each call, the longest wait time, and the number of agents available, just to name a few.
8. Historical Reporting
Real time statistics can be helpful for short term changes, but empowering your contact center with historical reports will allow managers to collect long term data to understand how your contact center operates over a large period of time. Monitor campaigns, priorities, tactics and department performance to develop a deep understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your contact center.
Final Thoughts to Contact Center Software Shoppers:
You might be tempted by the latest features, or seduced by the lowest prices. The best deal is always the best deal for you. You can waste money on features you don’t pay for, or miss opportunities if you don’t have the features you actually do need. In order to find the best call center software for your needs, you have to find that sweet spot where you get the features you need at a low price. The best price plans let you scale up and down according to your needs.
Don’t be afraid of long term contracts. The advantage of long term contracts is that they help protect you from rising costs. You can also expect to get incentives to be locked in. That said, month-to-month contracts mean that a call center software provider has to earn your business every day, and they work hard to do just that. Either way, the cost is far cheaper than having to buy and maintain your own equipment. You can be up and running on day one with a hosted Contact Center Solution.
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