Businesses have been using call centers and contact centers for years due to the fact that they are extremely effective for marketing, processing orders and providing support. However if you want your operations to run smoothly, it is important that you choose the right call or contact center.
With so many different call and contact centers out there, the prospect of trying to weed through them and find the one that is the best fit may seem daunting. Fortunately it will be a whole lot easier when you know what factors you need to consider.
“Call Center or Contact Center?”
The first thing you need to realize is that although the terms ‘call center’ and ‘contact center’ are often used interchangeably, they are actually two very different things. A call center uses phones as its only communication channel, while contact centers use multiple channels including phone, email, live chat, social media, and more.
Keep in mind that doesn’t mean that contact centers are ‘better’ than call centers. Instead, contact centers let you leverage a wider range of communication channels, while call centers specialize in only one but often provide a wider range of features related to it.
If you’re still confused over the difference you should look at a comparison of call centers and contact centers.
Size and Scalability
Needless to say, the size of your call or contact center needs to meet the demands of your business. Typically call and contact centers measure size based on the number of seats for agents.
If your business is still new and growing on a daily basis, it can be hard to estimate the size that you need. That is why looking for options that are scalable and will let you switch to larger or smaller packages as necessary is a good idea.
As you can imagine, call centers and contact centers have very different features – but the features can vary from one call center to the next, as well as between contact centers too. Simply put, you need to carefully consider the features that you need in either the call or contact center that you intend to set up.
Some of the features that you may want to consider for call centers is the type of call center (i.e. incoming, outgoing, and so on), telephony options, VoIP, limit of concurrent calls, call recording, call monitoring, call queues, voicemail, conference calling, and so on.
On top of that contact centers you should look at the channels that are supported as well as what specific features are provided. Both call and contact centers can benefit from features that offer integration with CRM platforms or other third-party services.
Ideally you should choose the location that your call or contact center is based in very carefully based on your infrastructure and customer needs. Of course other factors such as politics, safety and language barriers may also play a part in your decision too.
For example if most of your customers are based in the United States, then at a very minimum you’ll want your call or contact center to be in a location where hiring English-speaking agents isn’t a problem. Additionally having it based in the United States itself may be beneficial in terms of working hours and call quality.
Both call and contact centers need to have good security otherwise you run the risk of data breaches and other attacks that may compromise your customers’ personal information. Be sure to check what security measures the call or contact center will take, and check on their track record too.
If possible, try to obtain information about where customer data will be stored, whether or not it will be encrypted, and if it is in compliance with regulatory standards. Also query who will have access to that data, and what monitoring procedures are used to ensure others don’t have access.
Comparing the cost of call and contact centers can be tricky. In most cases your best bet is to shortlist the call or contact centers that meet your requirements, get quotes from each one, and then compare them to see how they stack up.
Keep in mind that the cheapest option is not necessarily the best one. Sometimes its quality may be not as good, or its performance may be worse than the others.
Looking at these factors individually should help you to narrow down your options and shortlist the call or contact centers that best fit your needs. From there you can check out each of them more closely, or make use of free trials if they’re available to see firsthand what they’re like.
Be sure to take your time as at the end of the day your decision will have a big impact on customer satisfaction.