Contact Center Buying Checklist

By Jelani Harper
Updated: September 01, 2011

There are several options that exist for contact centers including types of centers, choices of technology, selection of vendors, and more. Before purchasing a contact center solution, it is highly advisable to give the following factors due consideration.

Contact Center Types

A variety of contact center solutions exist. Some of the more popular include virtual centers, which require software to distribute calls to employees in various locations and don’t require actual physical locations. On-site solutions are the conventional contact center variety where employees are gathered in a central location with management staff, while hosted solutions employ such locations from a third party. Enterprises should evaluate these options and determine which type is best for them.

Solution Testing

No matter which type of contact center option is selected, it is highly recommended that businesses ask to test the solution prior to purchase. That way it is possible to discern the performance of the solution as it relates to the specific needs of an enterprise.

Contact Center Needs

Organizations should dedicate a significant amount of time to their particular needs for a call center solution. Factors to consider include the size of the center (both presently and in the future), the type of communication handled within it (inbound, outbound or a combination), as well as shift types of employees (full-and part-time, rotating, and/or expanded hours).

System Features

It is also highly recommended for enterprises to research the specific features and capabilities that will present the most use for their contact center needs. Features which may be of importance include systems that enable skill-based routing of calls, forecasting of call volume, operations analysis, call arrival rate, budget preparation and staffing options for full- and part-timers. Variety of reporting capabilities should also be considered as well.

Vendor Selection

It is fairly essential to verify the recent and long-term reputation of a sales vendor before purchasing a call solution center. It is standard to ask vendors for recommendations of current and even previous customers to obtain as much information about their background as possible. In ideal situations, vendors should be able to produce solutions with multiple forecasts, offer both fixed and flexible scheduling options, as well as have a solid reputation in the industry of the particular enterprise evaluating it.

Technology Options

The evaluation of the technology options which the contact centers will be using is another important step prior to purchase of a solution. Options include the use of automatic call distributors, private branch exchanges (PBXs), workforce management systems as well as potential networking or standalone options.

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