What You Need to Know Before Buying Contact Center Software

By Jelani Harper
Updated: August 24, 2011

There are several aspects of purchasing a call center product which should be determined in advance of the actual purchase. Many of these factors revolve around the specific choice of vendor and the particular services it offers; others, however, apply to call center software in general and should be understood to obtain the most value out of a specific purchase. Consequently, enterprises should pay particular attention to the level of support offered, the frequency and accessibility of upgrades, as well as general utilitarian aspects such as integration, performance management and virtual capabilities.

Integration

It is essential to determine how readily a particular call center software will integrate with an operation’s previous communication components. Ideally, call center software should be able to seamlessly merge with any routers, PBX equipment, and other telephony hardware and software in order to maximize the efficiency of a product.

Virtual Contact Centers

Several modern call center software products have virtual capabilities which allow agents to work from home or to access multiple locations. Even if an enterprise prefers the traditional method of housing its employees and supervisors in one physical location that serves as a call center, it’s still useful to be able to access remote locations when needed.

Vendor Selection

Vendor selection plays a huge role in the determining of efficient call center software. Therefore, it is beneficial to determine as much information about a specific vendor and its service as possible. The most effective way to do so is to gather references of previous or current customers and contact them to determine the reputation, beneficial aspects and areas of improvement for the software.

Modules

Call center software packages can usually be purchased in modules, which may be added or deleted as needed. Enterprises should ascertain which specific modules will be of most use to them, as well as how much they are willing to budget towards a particular solution.

Training

Training is another important vendor specific aspect of call center software. Vendors may either charge for or include training as part of their software packages; prudent enterprises will discern which their product provider does and ideally select the latter.

Updates

Several facets of call center software—such as patches, user groups, documentation, and technical support—will be upgraded during the lifetime of a particular product. Organization should determine how frequently such updates occur, as well as how readily they may be implemented for use.

Support

Support is one of the most important facets of a call center software, since it is merely a matter of time before such a service is needed. It’s best to determine the various levels of support offered, the media through which such support takes place (via phone, email, or chat), the particular hours of operation, as well as relevant information such as average answer speed, first-call resolution rate, escalation times, service level agreement, and all applicable costs.
 

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