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What to Look for When Choosing Call Center Software

Tips for Selecting Call Center Software
Call center software applications come in many shapes and sizes. From solutions for interactive voice response, speech recognition, and predictive dialing, to call recording and monitoring, workforce management, and analytics systems, call center software provides a variety of ways for contact centers to improve productivity and cost-efficiency, while ensuring the delivery of superior customer service.

In order to derive the most value from the contact center software you buy, be sure to seek out a vendor who offers solutions with the following capabilities:

How well will the call center software package link to the other components within your telephony environment? Seamless integration between PBX switches, call routers, and other phone-based systems and your call center software is vital to obtaining the most complete view of contact center activity. For example, most call center software packages provide only statistics related to agent activity and performance. In order for a manager to get the most accurate picture of the customer experience, they must also understand trends in hold times, transfers, disconnects and hang ups, and other data collected by telephony applications.

Support for Inbound and Outbound Interactions
While some contact centers support only inbound interactions such as requests for information and problem resolution, many are facing increasing pressure to take on additional activities that will help impact revenue-generation and profitability. As a result, agents are participating in a variety of outbound interactions, such as prospecting and telemarketing. Therefore, the call center software solution you choose must provide support for all types of activities, including outward facing campaigns, promotions, and up-sell and cross-sell initiatives.

Performance Management
While most call center software packages provide some simple reporting capabilities, only the world-class solutions deliver true performance management functionality. Ask each vendor about the features they provide for defining and communicating goals with all team members, setting key metrics and indicators, and continuously monitoring critical success factors. Without comprehensive performance management, managers will struggle to identify and correct the problems that negatively impact customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Multi-channel Communication
Today, many clients prefer to communicate with agents using other methods besides the phone. In order to maximize customer convenience, you’ll need to offer them several options for receiving support. Look for a call center software application that offers self-service capabilities to customers, either through the Web or interactive voice response technology, and enables interactions via multiple channels such as email, IM/chat, and fax.

“Virtual” Contact Center Capabilities
As contact centers look for new ways to minimize overhead expenses, many are turning to a “virtual” model, where agents reside in home offices and other remote locations. Even if your contact center currently operates in the traditional fashion, where all representatives are housed in the same location and managed by an on-site supervisor, you’ll need to be prepared if goals and structures change in the future. Therefore, you’ll want to purchase a call center software system that can support activities across numerous disparate locations.