The idea that deploying a call center requires a considerable investment in hardware is outdated. Like many other types of software, contact center platforms utilize cloud technology to provide comprehensive tools, greater flexibility, and more affordable prices. In other words, instead of being in an expensive office and using complicated phones, call agents can now answer customer queries from their computers with just a headset. They can even work from home and customers won’t notice a thing. Better yet, contact center software comes with a wide price range so no matter how big or small, there’s a subscription for any kind of business. As good customer support is becoming increasingly important, you want to make sure your business isn’t missing out. It may be the difference between customers purchasing from you again or losing them to the competition.
Recommended Call Center Software for Small Businesses
For $15 per month per user, CloudTalk comes with all the basic features you need to run a small call center. The platform is easy to use, and every subscription comes with unlimited inbound calls – perfect for customer support teams. Of course, you can also opt for the more expensive plans, which give you access to extra features like a smart dialer, live call monitoring, and unlimited concurrent calls. Although the platform doesn’t provide built-in omnichannel capabilities, CloudTalk makes up for that by supporting over 60 third-party integrations. You can take advantage of the 15-day free trial to set up and try out your contact center, and the company offers a 30% discount to users that commit to an annual billing cycle.
With four different subscriptions, Freshcaller does everything in its power to provide a platform for any budget. Additionally, it’s one of the few providers that offers a limited free plan that you can use to your heart’s content – you just need to pay for inbound and outbound calls. Overall, the software is comprehensive and includes advanced best-in-class features, such as a voicebot and omnichannel routing. Of course, these are locked behind the paid subscriptions, which can go up to $69 per month per user. You can also bundle other services from Freshcaller’s umbrella company Freshworks – offering dedicated tools for sales, helpdesk, and more. You can test all the features available through the 21-day free trial, which is more than enough time to set up and test your cloud contact center.
Aircall is one of the most straightforward contact center platforms to set up. Not only can you design call routing effortlessly but adding new users and assigning them to teams is child’s play. The software doesn’t include multichannel tools, but Aircall supports several third-party apps to help. Although prices are more expensive – starting at $30 per month per user – Aircall offers unlimited calls within the U.S. and Canada. On top of that, you get one year of data reporting and some advanced features, too. However, to make the most out of Aircall you’ll have to upgrade to the Professional plan, which costs $50 per month per user. The company also allows you to try everything out for free for seven days with a 40-minute call allowance.
Why Your Business Needs a Contact Center
No matter the size of your business, it’s essential to offer seamless customer support. Not only do one-third of customers consider switching companies immediately after not being properly supported, but more than a half make an additional purchase when they have a good experience. In short, the quality of your client service system directly impacts future profits.
However, it’s no longer enough to have a call center and call it a day. We are living in the digital era, and people expect to use their preferred communication channel when contacting your business, including live chat, social media, or email. In order to efficiently answer all of these queries, you’ll need a unified contact center platform.
How To Choose the Best Call Center Solution
Choosing the best call center solution depends on the type of customer support you want to provide. For example, if you want everything to be developed in-house, a cloud-based contact center won’t suffice. However, there are some things you should always consider like flexibility, ease of use, and a good price-quality ratio.
Types of Contact Center Software
There are four main types of contact center software: on-premise, hosted, cloud-based, and browser-based. It’s essential to understand how each one works to choose the best contact center solution for your business needs.
On-premise contact centers are deployed in-house. This means that all software and infrastructure is installed in your office and maintained by your IT team. This offers ultimate control but is expensive and needs a high upfront investment, making on-premise contact centers inadvisable for smaller companies.
On the other hand, hosted call center software is held off-site, and you can access it through a network connection. It’s cheaper than an on-premise contact center, as the service provider sustains the servers, but you lose some control over your platform.
Cloud-based contact centers are hosted online and can be accessed through either a desktop or mobile app. Since all data is stored in the cloud, you can use it anywhere with an internet connection and it comes at a lower price point.
Finally, browser-based call centers can be used without installing any software at all. You just need to open a secure browser and log into your account. It’s the most straightforward solution on this list, requiring just a few hours to deploy your contact center.
Main Call Center Software Features
Because of the nature of contact center software, it makes sense that the first thing you should look for is communication tools. We live in a digital world, meaning that your business will need to cater to customers who prefer to speak via live chat, social media, and more. So, when deciding which call center platform to get, make sure it offers a unified solution. Some providers already come with built-in omnichannel capabilities, whereas others provide add-ons for this effect.
Next, it’s time to consider customer experience. No one likes to spend hours waiting and the best way to improve response time is by having efficient call routing. This can be as easy as allowing customers to reach their target department through IVR or as complex as routing customers depending on your agents’ skills. There are even options that allow your clients to solve some minor issues through self-service.
For customer support teams with several agents, it’s necessary to have reliable internal communication tools. More advanced contact center software includes features like a built-in chat, coworker tags, and client profile notes. Finally, it’s also vital to have a platform that offers an insightful built-in analytics dashboard to measure how your contact center is performing.
There are various reasons why traditional call centers are ditching their on-premise solutions and turning to cloud-based contact center software instead. One of them is flexibility. Cloud-based call centers allow agents to answer customer queries from anywhere with an internet connection. By decentralizing your call center, you’ll not only save on office rent, but you’ll also have a broader talent pool to recruit from, provide a better work-life balance to your employees, and be able to answer customers in different time zones. Of course, running a remote call center has its challenges. It’s harder to follow agents’ performance and more difficult for them to feel a sense of belonging. But that’s a small trade-off when compared to all the advantages.
Ease of Use
The easier the software is to use, the less time you’ll need to spend training agents. This makes it important to get an intuitive contact center platform. Fortunately, most cloud-based contact center apps are extremely easy to use and come with extensive guides on how to make the most out of them. On top of that, contact center software providers usually offer extensive free trials with enough time for you to set up your call center and test it out. You can take advantage of this to get a feel of the software and train your agents before paying a subscription.
Price is one of the most important parameters when choosing a piece of software, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. Thankfully, there’s a call center solution for everyone. Typically, call center software providers offer their services for a periodic subscription, where the longer you commit, the less you pay each month. Bear in mind these subscriptions are user-based, though. For example, if the cost is $20 per month and you have five agents, you’ll pay $100 each month.
Even so, there are some features that allow you to save on other costs. If you get a contact center with omnichannel capabilities, you don’t have to spend on third-party platforms to manage queries from digital channels. Most companies also offer unlimited calling within the U.S. and Canada, which lets you handle customer queries without thinking about expensive phone bills.