Contact Center Software Overview
What is Contact Center Software?
Contact center software allows companies to manage a high volume of inbound and outbound customer communications across a range of channels. This includes call center solutions, which focus on managing and handling incoming calls based on the number called and an associated database of handling instructions. Contact Centers, and related call centers, are typically part of a company’s overall customer relationship management (CRM) processes and strategy.
Many products offer the ability to track and store individual caller data. As such, previous call histories can be accessed by the agent each time a customer calls. This can reduce call average handle time (AHT) and time spent manually entering customer data. Contact Center software is ideal for small, midsize, and large contact centers. It is used in a wide variety of industries.
Cloud-Based and On-Premise Solutions
There are two main deployment options: cloud-based and on-premise. Cloud platforms have become popular, and offer the benefits of outsourcing software and maintenance costs and being easily accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.
On the other hand, more traditional on-premise solutions are often hardware-based and incur upgrade and maintenance expenses every few years. Some benefits of on-premise contact centers are that they are typically located on the same site as the company and are highly customizable.
Omni-channel Contact Center Software
Many Contact Center products are now omni-channel, or multi-channel. These products are typically cloud-based and have expanded their capabilities beyond traditional call center activity. Omni-channel software has the capabilities to handle and integrate customer communications across all potential touchpoints and channels. These can include voice, VoIP, email, fax, video chat, SMS/text, and social media platforms.
Contact Center Software Features & Capabilities
Many products offer a set of basic features that focus on voice communication:
Click to call (allows one-click calling for agents)
Interactive voice response (IVR)
CRM software integration (allows agents to access aggregated customer information and call history data)
Many leading Contact Center software vendors also offer a range of workforce optimization features that enable managers and team leaders to analyze and track agent performance to increase contact center efficiency.
Inbound call routing
Quality monitoring (monitoring conversation content to track and improve agent performance)
Call analytics (KPIs such as average time in the queue, average call abandonment rate, and average handle time)
Customer interaction analytics (aggregating unstructured interaction data across channels (audio, video, email, text, etc.) and formatting it so that it can be searched and categorized based on interaction patterns)
Recently, vendors have also started to offer more advanced predictive analytics and omni-channel support features such as:
Multi-channel integration (ability to collect, store, and share customer data across communication channels such as voice (phone), email, fax, SMS/text, video, live chat, and social media)
Intelligent call routing (uses machine learning to connect calls to the correct agents based on previous interaction data)
Digital Agents (Chatbots enabled with machine learning that are used to handle more routine or simpler customer requests)
AI assistance for live agents (AI provided predictive suggestions for live agents based on customer history and real-time interaction)
Benefits of Using Contact Center Software
Some benefits of using Contact Center software include:
Reductions in average handle time (AHT)
Eliminating manual searching
Allow agents to access customer data histories
Some vendors offer free trials of their Contact Center software. The paid versions are typically subscription based. Basic cloud-based packages typically start at $10-$20 per agent per month, with more extensive plans ranging between $50-$200 per month.
On-premise Contact Center products usually include a one-time licensing fee and subsequent software upgrade and maintenance costs. Most on-premise Contact Center software vendors do not openly disclose their prices but offer a quote upon request.