Contact centers can offer numerous benefits for a growing company. They provide several different ways to communicate with customers (such as phone calls, email, and faxes), as well as the ability to perform sales and marketing campaigns. Every small business is different, though, so it is important that you obtain a contact center that properly addresses your needs.
In-House – This is a contact center that is operated and maintained by your employees. It offers a very high level of security since your people will be able to personally handle any confidential information. It also provides your company with direct control of the call center agents and procedures.
Outsourced – This is where you hire an outside provider to perform the contact center duties. They are typically located in a foreign country, and tend to cost much less than an in-house operation. There may be administrative and training issues with personnel due to the cultural barrier, however.
The most important factor is generally the cost of the system. In-house contact centers can be quite expensive, since you have to purchase all the equipment yourself. You will need a high level phone system and the infrastructure to handle a large number of calls. Outsourced contact centers have their own questions. Do they charge by the call or by the hour? Do they have a monthly plan available? The cheapest option will not always be the best one.
The scalability of the contact center is another issue to consider. You might only require a small contact center at first, but as your company grows you will want to be able to keep up with your customer’s needs. Try to establish how quickly the contact center can be scaled up or down, as well as how much this will cost. In many cases, these changes can be made at no charge.
You should also determine how much the system can be customized. A contact center that takes a one-size-fits-all approach may not provide you with all of the features that you need. You will generally want to see if they let you modify the interface and whether you can integrate any specialized business practices with the system.
You can find out most of this information by visiting the websites of the contact centers. They normally list the different pricing options, level of customization, and any special features that might be available. There are also numerous websites that offer detailed reviews of contact centers and equipment. These tend to be written by the customers and can provide a good look at the system. The process will take some time, but you should be able to find a contact center solution that meets your concerns.
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