How Do I Compare Contact Center Solutions?

By Catherine Hensley
Updated: March 11, 2011

As companies develop and expand in the marketplace, the need for efficient communication with customers and business partners becomes increasingly important. A contact center is one way for a business to organize its communications, both internally and externally. Technical or product support is one major function of contact centers, as are sales or marketing services directed toward clients and consumers.

If your company is considering expanding its outreach to include a contact center, there are many considerations to take into account. The first is a matter of purpose. What function or functions will the contact center be in charge of? Is your company looking strictly for a communications center to handle technical support calls from customers? If the contact center will also house the sales team, more resources and telecommunications tools will be needed. Once the scope of the contact center has been established, focus can be shifted to more quantifiable objectives.

Any contact center, whether single or multi-purpose, should increase productivity by streamlining the tasks to be handled. Customer satisfaction should also increase, particularly with centers devoted exclusively to customer service relations. And with the more efficient direction of these targeted services, costs can be reduced by using telecommunications tools more effectively.

The development and installation of a contact center, of course, will present a significant investment of a company’s time and financial resources. With some planning, budgeting, and equipment research, though, reasonable solutions for these hurdles can be found. In terms of telecommunications tools, options such as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) are making it easier than ever for businesses both large and small to increase their communications reach without going broke in the process. VoIP technology, for instance, enables multiple calls to be transmitted over a single network connection, in addition to fax and data communications. Many VoIP service providers are also offering monthly payment packages with fixed rates, a practical solution for companies looking to budget for a specific period of time.

An additional financial consideration to weigh is the cost of supporting software for use in the contact center. In addition to the basic telecommunications equipment and service plans, there are many different software packages available (http://www.business-software.com/crm/call-center/what-is-call-center-software.php). Some offer “interactive voice response” services, in which a prerecorded voice directs callers through a menu of keypad extension-dialing options. Others offer “call recording,” in which all or a select number of incoming calls can be recorded for quality controls and monitoring. These software features are optional and can be added on or removed as needed.

Whether your company is looking to set up a contact center to provide technical support, sales services, or a combination of the two, there are many considerations that will factor into its development and implementation. Budget projections and software needs are two of the most important components to consider. A contact center is an efficient and often economical solution for businesses looking to expand and connect with customers and partners around the world.

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