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Call Center Software Buyers Guide

Call center software helps your agents make outbound and receive inbound phone calls from customers and prospects. It also allows managers to track metrics, load phone scripts, and perform other workforce management tasks. Call center software also facilitates chat, fax, email, and social media channels to create a full contact center system.

Do You Need a Call Center for Your Business?

You should consider establishing a call center in any of these situations where callers or customers

  • Have urgent meets that require immediate solutions. An example would be confirming a travel departure time or hotel check-in time.
  • Require complex solutions or assistance with complex tasks. For instance, a customer booking a hotel room may need special accommodations for medical equipment during their stay.
  • Need to address private or personal matters. Customers may need to report a credit card lost or stolen and address unauthorized transactions on their account.
  • With non-technical skills need technical assistance. Some users of your products and services may not find knowledge databases or online forums enough. They will need an agent to spend time helping them navigate through technical tasks and details.

Select Call Center Software to Suit Your Needs

First, decide if you need call management software or if you need an all-inclusive contact center solution. Will your agents interact mainly by phone, or through other channels and platforms? Next, determine when, where, and how your agents will work.

Will they work from your office location? Or, will you have remote and work-from-home agents? You may need to consider virtual call center software that allows employees to work from their home computers and phone lines or from mobile phones. The software should allow managers to monitor and support remote agents in real time.

To support agents who work at your location, decide if you need an on-premise call center software system or cloud-based software.

On-premise vs Cloud-based Software

On-premise call center software requires hardware, software, and servers to be housed and managed at your facility. You’ll have greater control over your system but will require either in-house IT personnel or an IT vendor to support your system. Some of the prominent features of on-premise software include the following.

  • Hardware and software become outdated quickly requiring frequent maintenance and upgrades.
  • Scaling systems across multiple locations is challenging.
  • There’s an increased chance of local systems failures.
  • Ongoing maintenance and support represent a high operational cost.
  • Setup and installation are both time-consuming and costly.

Cloud-based call center software is hosted remotely and requires no hardware at your location. Cloud-based systems can support multiple locations and allow you to integrate on-location personnel with remote call center staff. Features of cloud-based call center software systems include these items.

  • Cloud-based software remains up-to-date because it is hosted and managed by the software vendor.
  • Scalability is simple with cloud-hosted software. Most items can be configured by a call center manager based on business goals and performance metrics.
  • Local failures have less of an impact as data is stored in the cloud and readily available to backup and restore.
  • There are no setup costs involved.
  • You can launch your call center operation within minutes with easy to configure and customizable cloud software options.

Customizing Your Inbound or Outbound Call Center

Decide if you will operate an inbound call center where customers call in to speak to agents, or if you will have an outbound call center where agents call out to prospects and customers.

  • B2B, e-commerce, and SaaS businesses use inbound call centers. You’ll want software with extensive call routing capabilities to provide a seamless customer experience. Calls should be routed to the most skilled group or employee based on intuitive analysis of customer prompts and inputs.
  • Financial institutions and sales organizations use outbound call centers. The software should make calling volumes of prospects in a short time easily with the ability to upload call scripts and smart dialers that assist agents by loading customer data and matching product and services to present.

Pricing for Call Center Software

Contact center software is far more robust than traditional call center software. In addition to managing voice and fax systems, today’s contact center software supports email, web chat, text messaging, and social media to help streamline all your inbound and outbound communications.

Some vendors charge a lump sum for an in-house software package while others charge per user for hosted software. In-house software requires an in-house IT department to maintain, but it is ideal for call centers with 50 or more employees.

  • Expect to pay $1,000 to $1,500 per agent for software and $500 per agent for telephone hardware.
  • Large call centers will pay $100,000 to $500,000 for hardware and software.
  • Plan for $25,000 for support and maintenance.

There are several cloud-based contact center platforms hosted remotely by your vendor. This is an effective way to control costs and eliminate excess personnel needs.

  • The monthly per agent fee for hosted call center software can range from $50 to $300 per month. These systems manage inbound and outbound calls, support predictive dialing and skills-based routing, mass email communication, and streamlined product tracking.
  • Medium-sized companies will pay $65 to $125 per agent per month. These systems offer expanded capability to support call scripting, territory management, and workflow automation.
  • Customizable enterprise-level cloud software.

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