On the surface, contact center software looks quite similar. But the truth is that each provider offers unique features at distinct price points. While there are cheaper platforms that cover just the basics, more expensive ones include advanced tools for call routing and reporting. That’s why it’s essential to compare these solutions side by side to understand which one meets your needs the best.
Best Contact Center Software of 2023
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|Free Trial||21 days|
Contact Center Software Buying Guide
Regardless of whether your business is just starting out or is already well established, you need to have a reliable customer support system in place. This is where clients go when they face an issue with your product and not having someone to fix these problems often means losing customers to the competition. Contact center software allows you to professionally answer all queries at an affordable price. However, it’s vital that you do your homework first to make sure you get the best platform for your business. We recommend following our buying guide to quickly find the most competitive solution for you.
Why Your Business Needs Contact Center Software
Contact center software is an intuitive platform where your customer support agents can answer customer queries from all types of channels. Moreover, since it offers a unified platform, everyone can be on the same page. For example, when a sales agent contacts a client, they can easily check the customer’s past interactions, allowing them to have a thorough overview of the client profile and come up with a more effective sales pitch. Better yet, the software is quite affordable, which means that small and medium-sized companies can take advantage of this solution without spending a large amount of their budget.
Unlike on-premise call centers, cloud-based contact centers come at a much lower price point. While the former requires a high upfront investment and constant maintenance, you can get the latter by simply purchasing a subscription. Since everything is stored on the cloud, you don’t need to worry about server upkeep or hiring developers to create new features. On top of that, cloud-based solutions are easy to use and provide greater flexibility – needing just a computer with an internet connection. Finally, they also come with extensive free trial periods that allow you to set up and test your contact center before committing to a purchase.
Increased Agent Productivity
Even the best customer service team in the world can’t be productive without a decent piece of software to work with. So, always make sure that the contact center solution you’re getting offers ways for agents to work at full speed. For instance, IVR and advanced call routing (like skills-based routing) are must-haves to shorten response time. Instead of having several agents routing customers to the correct department, clients themselves can find the agent they need by pressing a few buttons. There are even providers that offer the ability to handle basic problems without speaking to an agent through self-service solutions.
Another tool to look for is omnichannel integration. It’s impossible for agents to be productive when they have to jump from one platform to another to answer queries from different communication channels. Omnichannel contact center software lets agents answer customers regardless of contact method without leaving the platform.
Imagine that you decide to create a multichannel customer support system by getting dedicated platforms for each communication channel available. In other words, a call center solution to handle phone calls, a social media platform to answer comments, an email marketing solution to reply to emails, etc. When you add up all your monthly subscriptions, you’ll notice that you’re spending hundreds of dollars on this inadequate solution. By integrating everything into one platform, contact center software becomes far more cost-effective and easier to use.
Improved Reporting Tools
KPIs are essential for keeping track of any business’s performance and contact centers are no different. Fortunately, contact center software takes advantage of all the information handled within the platform to provide advanced reporting. For example, contact center managers can monitor real-time metrics to make decisions on the spot by checking the number of people in queue or average response time. Most contact center solutions also come with pre-built reports that include insightful metrics to develop medium-term and long-term strategies, such as abandonment rate and first contact resolution.
How To Choose the Best Contact Center Solution
Like everything, there isn’t a contact center solution that fits everyone. Businesses have unique needs, meaning that the best contact center solution for some might not work for others. For example, if you don’t have a sales team contacting customers, you probably don’t need to invest in a more expensive solution that includes a predictive power dialer. Consequently, it’s vital to have a clear idea of your requirements and go through some comparisons to get the contact center platform most suited to your business.
Business Tools Integrations
On top of the many third-party integrations available for contact center software, each provider offers its unique set of business tool integrations. Therefore, it’s essential to go through the company’s third-party integration list before committing to a purchase, especially if you’re already using dedicated software to help your customer support team.
The most common software integration you’ll find is CRM. Although contact center software already lets you create basic customer profiles, CRM platforms allow you to set up a more advanced data management system that can be shared with everyone within your company. For instance, suppose someone contacts customer support, and you have a CRM solution integrated into your contact center. In that case, your marketing team will be able to check a customer’s full journey and come up with more effective email marketing campaigns.
There are also solutions designed specifically for ecommerce businesses. For example, by integrating with platforms like Shopify, contact center software allows agents to access Shopify data and take advantage of the click-to-call feature. Other useful integrations include helpdesk, internal communication, email, and more. Finally, you should always check whether the contact center provider supports Zapier, as this automation tool usually connects the software to hundreds of other apps.
Contact Center Software Use Cases
Since there’s a lot you can do with contact center software, it’s important that the solution you choose offers what your business needs. For example, a contact center app for a pizzeria needs to be able to get orders from all types of communication channels and sync the requests with the order management software in place. This way, the cooks will automatically know which pizzas need to be done, whereas the deliverymen will know which addresses they have to go to first.
On the other hand, it’s more worthwhile for an ecommerce store to get a contact center platform that sends automatic transactional emails when a purchase is made, an order is shipped, etc. In short, contact center software can help you in more ways than just answering customer queries. That’s why it’s essential to read providers’ use case scenarios before committing to one type of software, as this will help you decide on the most adequate solution for you.
Ease of Use
The less time you spend training your agents, the better. Fortunately, most contact center software is straightforward. Not only are the platforms usually intuitive, but most tools are displayed in a visual and user-friendly way. However, the overall user experience depends on the solution you get.
Besides looking for a platform that is easy to use, it’s also important to bear in mind how challenging it is to set up (and deploy) your contact center. While some providers take less than an hour to work at full speed, others may take a few days – everything depends on how customizable you want the platform to be and how many features you need to play with.
Regardless of what you prefer, you can always count on customer support to help. Even though the experience you’ll get depends on the provider you’re using, it’s common practice to provide comprehensive guides and tutorials about how to set up and use the software.
Of course, price is one of the most important factors when getting a piece of software. When it comes to contact center solutions, you can expect to pay a periodical payment for each user you have. For example, if the price is $20 per month and you have ten agents, your monthly bill will be $200.
Most contact center software providers offer discounts to users who commit to longer billing cycles. More specifically, a yearly commitment usually cuts the monthly price by 20%. Call rates are another essential thing to bear in mind, as the cheapest solutions often charge for every minute spent on the phone. In this case, it’s better to go for a more expensive contact center platform as they typically offer unlimited calling within the U.S. and Canada.
Finally, it’s quite common for contact center software providers to let you test the solution for free. Whether it’s through free trials or money-back guarantees, always look for a way to set up and try out your contact center at zero cost.
Throughout our website, you’ll find comprehensive comparisons that place contact center solutions side by side. It’s the perfect way for you to know where these platforms differ and understand which one offers the best solution for your business at the lowest price.