What Contact Center Features NOT to Purchase
Contact center features 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 two systems.
There’s simply no need to, with today’s comprehensive contact center features 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 contact center features guide.
Here’s what contact center features not to buy when you’re setting up your new contact center or upgrading your current one.
1. Premise-based software
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 contact center features for more money, and far less scalability and flexibility.
2. Minimum Regulatory/Security Compliance
Regulatory/security compliance is 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.
3. Data Collection Without Analytics
Every contact center features 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 is a contact center feature must.
4. Performance Measurement Features Built Solely on Call Handling Times
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 due to its contact center features, 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.
5. Exclusively On-Site Employment Features
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 features 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 its growing contact center feature in importance daily.
6. Bare Bones Systems with Lots of “Compatibility”
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 features 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?
Contact center features full-service suites are more affordable than ever thanks to SaaS/cloud technology—an all-in-one contact center features solution is a much better (and almost always less expensive) option. You can find plenty of unbiased comparisons of various vendors’ offerings in our Contact Center Software Buyer's Guide.
Contact Center Features not to buy
When it comes to contact centers' features, there are a lot of features to choose from. But not all of them are created equal. In fact, some contact center features can actually do more harm than good. Here are five contact center features you should avoid:
Although voicemail can be a convenient way to leave a message for someone, it can also be a major source of frustration for customers. If your contact center features offer voicemail, chances are good that customers will occasionally get stuck in a never-ending loop of automated messages. And if they do manage to reach a human being, there's no guarantee that the message will be passed along. It's much better to offer live chat or call-back options so that customers can get the assistance they need in real-time.
IVR is another contact center feature that can often do more harm than good. Customers hate feeling like they're talking to a machine, and IVR systems can often make them feel this way. If your contact center offers IVR, make sure that it's easy for customers to bypass the system and speak to a live agent.
- Long Hold Times
Long hold times are one of the most common complaints about contact centers. If your contact center features long hold times, chances are good that customers will simply hang up and call back later. To avoid this, make sure to offer call-back options so that customers can continue their conversation at a time that's more convenient for them.
- Transferring Calls
Transferring calls is another common contact center feature that can often frustrate customers. If a customer is transferred to another department, there's always the risk that the transfer will get lost in the system. And even if the transfer is successful, the customer will often have to repeat their story to the new agent. To avoid this, make sure that your contact center features a system in place for handling transfers.
- Lack of Customer Service Training
If your contact center doesn't offer customer service training, chances are good that your agents won't be able to provide the level of service that customers expect. As a result, they'll likely experience a high rate of turnover, which can be costly and disruptive to your business. To avoid this, make sure to invest in customer service training for your contact center agents.