Contact Center

Two vital ingredients go into making a successful contact center: quality agents and effective software. As agent selection and training is primarily a HR activity, in this short guide our primary aim is to give small and medium businesses the essentials of selecting their contact center software. With modern technology and the advent of cloud based solutions, setting up a new contact center is easy. Businesses can perform trial runs without committing to a purchase, and with many solutions a company’s contact center can become operational over a weekend. However, even though setting up a center is relatively easy, businesses still need to be completely clear about the range of functionality they want, and consider several important factors before they select a solution. Read more.


Compare Contact Center Solution Providers

SalesForce Service Cloud

The Customer Success Platform

Always-on customer service, 24/7 support

Multichannel support

Self-service troubleshooting

Average rating

4.0

8x8

What every contact center should be

SLA of 99.99% uptime, no scheduled downtime

Highest security compliances - FISMA, HIPAA, PCI

Deploy multi-channel solution fast, change at will

Average rating

4.1

inContact

Creating Tomorrow's Contact Center

Industry's best-published SLA of 99.99%

Over one billion calls handled per year

Integration with leading CRM platforms

Average rating

3.6

Mitel

Best Path to the Cloud

PCI Tier 1 compliant

Pay-per-use pricing model

ACD for voice and multimedia routing

Average rating

4.4

Five9

Leading Solutions for Any Call Center

Inbound, outbound, blended, multichannel

Easy to configure and use

Up and running in hours only

Average rating

4.1

Bright Pattern

Bridging the Gap with Your Customers

Omni-channel blended customer service

Seamless media concurrency

Cross channel quality management

Average rating

4.8

VoltDelta

The Art & Science of Customer Experience

35 years of experience

Blended self-service & agent support

Patent-pending speech technology

Average rating

4.0

Interactive Intelligence

Deliberately Innovative

Real-time speech analytics

Built-in geo-redundancy

Twenty years of experience

Average rating

4.0

ShoreTel

Brilliantly Simple

Purpose-built for IP, designed for ease

Built-in redundancy and support

Custom real-time and historical reports

Average rating

4.3

Altitude

Unified Customer Interaction Management

Support all communication channels

Add intelligence to the dialing process

Monitor activities in real time

Not Yet Rated

Corvisa

Work Smarter. Make Customers Happier

Easy to use – no IT required

Open API for endless customization

SSAE16 and HIPAA compliance

Not Yet Rated

Evolve IP Call Center

The Cloud Services Company

Supervisor & agent web-based clients

Integrated self-service BI system

Implementation package included

Average rating

4.5

Nextiva

Simplifying Business Communication

3-way Conference Call

Instant call escalation or promotion

100% U.S.-based support team

Average rating

4.6

Presence Technology

Solutions that make a difference!

Concurrent licensing model for lower TCO

Flexible outbound dialing platform

Easy call center scripting

Average rating

4.0

Talkdesk

Create a Call Center in 5 Minutes

No hardware, no coding

One-click integrations

Integrated workflows

Average rating

4.5

Unify

Harmonize Your Enterprise

Inbound & Outbound Contact Centers

Workforce Optimization Tools

Fully Integrated IVR System

Average rating

4.0

VanillaSoft

The Power of Simplicity

Get 3.5x more contact attempts per lead

Lower decay rate by 30% or more

Accelerate lead response to 37x faster

Not Yet Rated

Zendesk Voice

Innovative Customer Service

Pick a number, any number

Record customized greetings

Take calls any way, anywhere

Average rating

4.4

Fonality

Built for Businesses Like Yours

Automatic Call Distribution

Real-time Metrics

On-Demand Call Recording

Average rating

3.6

Avaya

Engage the Power of We

Omni-channel customer service

Automated coaching, e-Learning solutions

Real-time & historical performance data

Average rating

3.5

Vocalcom

Build a World Class Contact Center

Seamless, unified interface

Up and running in minutes

41% increase in agent productivity

Average rating

4.9

Genesys

World's #1 Customer Experience Platform

Leader in 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant

Customer Journey management platform

70% Increase in First Call Resolution

Average rating

3.6

LiveOps

Changing customer service forever

24/7, 360-degree ability to connect

Endless scalability and flexibility

Exceed industry security standards

Average rating

3.6

Vantage Unified

Gain a Technology Edge with Real Value

True 360 degree view of your customers

97% Customer Satisfaction

40+ patents in communications software

Average rating

5.0

3CLogic

Not Just Any Solution - Your Solution

#1 System Flexibility

#1 Outbound Features and Functionality

TCPA Compliant Platform

Average rating

4.5

envision

Create Exceptional Customer Experiences

No hardware, no hassle

Quick, easy implementation

Affordable SaaS pricing

Not Yet Rated

Ameyo

Supports multiple message channels

Packaged module approach.

Adaptive customer engagement

Extensive self service

Average rating

5.0

Avoxi

Open source cloud based contact center

Time of the day call routing

Easy workforce management

Good analytics and reporting

Not Yet Rated

C-Zentrix

Customer Engagement Solution

Call Center Anywhere Everywhere

Omni channel operations

Complete browser-based solution

Not Yet Rated

CallRail

Traces incoming calls improve ad spend

Source level call tracking

Work with Google Analytics

Displays first time callers separately

Average rating

4.7

CyTrack CyCC

Multi Channel contact technology

Call flow designer

Drag and drop functionality

Easy queue overflow handling

Average rating

5.0

Freshdesk

Customer happiness, refreshingly easy

Highly customizable

Gaming algorithms for better productivity

Easy to use, quick to setup

Average rating

4.5

HostedTel

The World's Easiest Dialer

Simple & Easy Predictive Dialer

Same day setup, no hardware required

IVR and voice recognition features

Average rating

5.0

ICTBroadcast

Voice Broadcasting Software & Application

Multi-tenant and Multi-campaign

Unified Broadcasting

Real-time Control of Campaigns

Average rating

5.0

Infusionsoft

All-in-one Sales & Marketing Software

Steep learning curve

A full service and mature solution

Concerns over quality of support personnel

Average rating

3.9

Inside Sales Box

Agile cloud based contact center

Very easy to learn and use

Supports manual, predictive and progressive dialers

Full featured compliance management

Not Yet Rated

LeadMaster

Easy to use, very affordable solution

Covers sales management

Slightly steep learning curve

Integration with Outlook and Google Calendar

Average rating

4.0

NeXorce

Unified Contact Center Reporting

Monitor many call center applications

Extract data from siloed systems

Custom built applications & spreadsheets

Average rating

4.5

Rightnow Technologies

Oracle Service Cloud

Provide rich online customer experience

Best-in-class service

Deliver relevant, consistent answers

Average rating

4.0

Sapaad

Built exclusively for restaurant chains

Offline mode works in absence of internet

Supports ERP integration and connects to accounting systems

Includes stock and inventory management

Average rating

5.0


Contact Center Buyer's Guide

Contact centers come in two distinct groups:

It is also common to have both inbound and outbound processes running together in a contact center.

Sometimes, when faced with a complex customer query, an agent could also want to conference with a subject matter expert. Therefore, the selected system could also have the capability to interface with the company phone system.

Manage Multiple Modes of Communication

Modern clients can choose the mode of communication she wishes to use. Email, fax, social media or instant messaging are all methods commonly used besides voice. These non-voice interactions will increase with time, and they have to be built into contact center plans. Clients expect that a conversation they have had in the past should be continued when they call next without them having to repeat the information all over again. The contact center has to have this functionality as well.

Contact Center Features & Functionality

Based on the role of the contact center, businesses can draw up a list of features that are critical. Shortlisted vender solutions can then be evaluated against this feature list.

Businesses must be clear about the following functionality as well:

Common Contact Center features include:

Contact Center Deployment: Cloud vs. On-Premise Solutions

There are two deployment options to consider:

Costs

Most small to medium businesses invariably start by using a cloud based solution, because their monthly charges are in the range of a few hundred dollars. One can even experiment with a trial solution at no initial cost.

The costs of buying a solution could easily run into the thousands of dollars. Only very large businesses consider doing this currently. However, as the scale of operations increases, businesses may find that rentals over several years could be more than outright purchase. Therefore, they should calculate the total cost of ownership over a five year period to compare rentals with purchases.

Redundancy and Disaster Recovery

Businesses also need to consider redundancy and system failure. Cloud based systems cater to a very large number of customers and the vendor offering the service can afford to provide duplication, multiple backup locations and redundancy. Most businesses cannot do this without incurring considerable additional expenditure.

Open Source vs. Proprietary Contact Center Solutions

There are a large number of open source contact center solutions. Many of the best known names in contact center solutions are based on open source software catering to thousands of agents working simultaneously. That is proof that open source works well.

Proprietary software exists on the other end of the spectrum. Here the source code is closely held by the company and the user gets a product that is simply installed and used.

Businesses using open source solutions will need skilled personnel who can install and manage the solution. This can sometimes be difficult, and the costs of consultancy can be substantial. Proprietary software may be simpler to handle and in all probability good support will be a part of the deal.

Our advice is simple - a contact center is a strategic resource and projects the image of the business. It is critical that it runs efficiently. Businesses must select a solution that has full support for it available. You can get this with both open source and proprietary software; the decision should be based on your particular business needs.

The Expanding Functionality of Contact Centers

Smart businesses have realized that contact centers can be revenue centers too, and are redesigning the workflow to add cross selling capabilities. Great customer service is always a powerful incentive to buy. If agents can be trained to act as brand ambassadors, businesses can open up a new profit stream. Many businesses have been able to generate up to 8% additional sales through their contact centers at very little additional cost.

A well run contact center adds another dimension to businesses. Selecting the best possible contact center solution is the first step in this exciting journey.