Contact center functionality is expanding rapidly. Whereas an inbound call center and an outbound one were typically two separate operations several years ago, you’ll almost never see a company that requires the use of both separate the two systems. There’s simply no need to, with today’s comprehensive contact center software and services. Speaking of services and software—SaaS (software as a service) has also taken the industry by storm, and that’s just the tip of the innovation iceberg.
With so many incredible features and changes in the contact center industry, it can be difficult to sort out what to purchase—even when everyone’s telling you. Do you need a predictive dialer? How extensive does your data integration need to be? These are questions you can answer yourself, because they’re dependent on your organization.
Figuring out what you don’t need is harder.
That’s why we’ve taken a different tack with this guide.
Here’s what not to buy when you’re setting up your new contact center or upgrading your current one.
Caveat: If you’re an enterprise company—a huge, profitable, established one—you may decide to go for premise-based software and systems and this may be a completely reasonable decision. If you’re not? It’s pretty unlikely that not going the SaaS/cloud-based route is going to be a good idea. Number crunching isn’t the only issue, although it’s enough of one. The cost in hardware alone will probably put premise-based contact center features out of most organizations’ budgets. You’ll also be looking at fewer features for more money, and far less scalability and flexibility.
Regulatory/security compliance are going to get much, much stricter, and soon. This isn’t a change that’s going to take place over the next five or ten years. Compliance requirements intensify yearly, and your industry can push for compliance beyond the legal standards even faster. If you’ve opted to save a few dollars by choosing software that just “meets the minimum,” you’re not going to be happy with it over the long term. Research companies to see who has kept up with—and keeps ahead of—the regulatory race.
Every contact center software solution these days has some fantastic data gathering capabilities, or at least that’s what they advertise. But dig deeper. All of that data isn’t going to do diddly if you don’t have the business intelligence (BI) to back it up. Yes, you can find other ways to conduct analysis on that data, but then you’ve opened up a can of worms when it comes to exporting the data in a usable form, storing it without redundancy, and staying up to date. Integrated analytics are a must.
Call handling times? Zzzzz. If you’re still zeroed in on the number of calls your employees are taking/making an hour, you are sleeping on the industry’s latest and greatest improvements. Amazon is a great example of a company that’s made the shift to measuring customer satisfaction instead of call quantity, and it’s tough to fault them for it when it’s worked out so well for them. Negative response rates (NRR) are the new benchmark for performance. If your software is stuck in the stone ages tallying calls-per-hour, you’re behind the times, too.
Even if your call center employees all work on site right now, this is a bad investment. If you can honestly say that within the next five years you’re not going to have remote contact center associates… you’re probably wrong, or you’re a very small organization that doesn’t anticipate growth. Decentralization, whether it’s around the world or your employees working from home, is here to stay, and it’s growing in importance daily.
This isn’t a “feature” per se, but it’s still something you should avoid. It’s a relatively common mistake when organizations are really trying to penny-pinch. Getting a bare-bones open source contact center software solution, for example, that offers “compatibility” with a wide range of different applications, often from different vendors, is fine—if you have an entire IT department dedicated to training your staff and ensuring everything works smoothly and efficiently. Which doesn’t sound like much of a money saver, does it?
Full-service suites are more affordable than ever thanks to SaaS/cloud technology—an all-in-one solution is a much better (and almost always less expensive) option. You can find plenty of unbiased comparisons of various vendors’ offerings at TopAdvisor.com, in our Contact Center Guide.