If you’re here, you already know that choosing the right call center software for your company is an important decision. Before we get started, we need to establish the interchangeability of call center software and contact center software. The difference is that a “contact center” implies that your customer service is delivered via multiple integrated channels such as voice, chat, text, social, etc.
The contact center is your first line of impression with your customers. From a sales perspective, your sales team could be dialing for dollars using an integrated and/or automated dialer. So imagine the impression on customers if voice quality is less than perfect. On the customer service side, your contact center handles various issues and customer requests. We all know this is a delicate and vital transaction for your brand.
What makes a Contact Center Software platform?
Before we rank the best contact center software, we must define the components of these platforms.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
Your IVR is solution that allows incoming callers to access information and routing options via a voice response; often, pre-recorded messages without speaking with a customer service agent. IVR’s can be simple menu options (press 1 for Customer Service, press 2 for Sales). Alternatively, IVR’s can include Artificial Intelligence solutions that will solve the customers’ request without involving an agent. Well-designed IVRs can help increase customer satisfaction and massively improve contact center KPIs.
Automated Call Distribution (ACD)
The ACD is the brain of the contact center routing. ACD receives the inputs from the IVR and routes the communication to the appropriate agent based on their skills. For complex contact centers, an advanced ACD is imperative. Depending on your level of complexity, many vendors on the market have the table stakes features that will suffice.
If your team is doing large-volume outbound dialing, your solution will need a flexible or powerful dialer. A good dialer will have several dialing features such as Predictive Dialing, Power Dialing, Progressive Dialing, Preview Dialing, and Click-to-Call. Your dialer should be integrated with your CRM and/or System of Record. The appeal of a dialer is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of outbound campaigns. Your outbound campaigns must be compliant. TCPA is a four-letter word. Whenever your team is dialing cell phones, ensure that your vendor has a TCPA compliant dialer.
The command-center applications of your contact center. Real-Time Dashboards will provide you with a 360-degree view of your contact center metrics and KPIs. You need to track the performance and SLAs of your contact center, in real-time. This data will allow you to proactively make changes to ensure your contact center is running efficiently and effectively. Bottom line is, the leading vendors allow you to customize dashboards based on the specific KPIs that you care about. Lower tier vendors will have dashboards that are fixed and cannot be customized.
Reports show the raw data that larger contact centers need to decide their contact center performance. So, if you want to know what’s happening in your contact center near real-time – this is where you look. These reports take the many streams of raw data flowing in and out of your contact center. Reports should have data from system components like IVR, ACD, and WEM systems. The best reporting solution will transform that data into key performance indicators (KPIs). KPI’s are First Call Resolution (FCR), Adherence to Schedule, Service Levels (SLAs), Customer Effort or Satisfaction (CSAT), and Net Promoter Score (NPS). The bottom line is that great vendors will have analytics packages to help you take reports and identify trends that represent relevant actionable information.
Also known as Computer Telephony Integration (CTI). The power of CTI is crucial to delivering an excellent customer experience and improving the efficiency of your contact center. CTI, in our opinion, is one of the most critical decisions that go into choosing the right vendor for you. Standard CTI integrations include Salesforce, Zendesk, ServiceNow, Dynamics, Oracle, and Custom (homegrown). Why is CTI so important? Imagine calling customer service, and the agent knows your name, your account and potentially already knows why you’re calling. Your experience is infinitely better when you don’t have to spell out your last name letter by letter! To reiterate, the power of CTI integration cannot be ignored!
Unified Communication Integration
Integrating your contact center technology with your unified communications solutions can be important. An integration allows agents to identify subject matter experts throughout the company and communicate to help answer customer questions. So with a Unified Communications integration; agents can quickly determine the right expert, see if they’re available, and click to contact them. These features improve FCR and CSAT.
Workforce Engagement Management (WEM)
WEM is platform of products that include Quality Management, Workforce Management, and Performance Management. These solutions focus on the quality of your staff and how they are performing across several metrics, including schedule adherence. We could write a whole article on this subject, and we probably will in the future. The best vendors will allow you to have an agnostic approach to WEM.
Contact Center Platforms – Ranked
Now that you know what goes into a Contact Center Software solution – let’s rank them:
Before we rank the solutions, a caveat to these rankings is that many variables go into this decision. It’s essential to get an agnostic advisor intimately familiar with all the vendors in the market. An agnostic advisor can help you match the right vendors with your specific needs.
Best Overall Call Center Software: Five9
We consider Five9 the best all around platform for buyers that want a best of breed platform. Five9 has figured out a way to build a holistic platform that meets and exceeds the needs of many orgs. Five9 is a world-class CCaaS platform, but they have added the ability to purchase Verint or integrate your existing WEM platform. Further, Five9 has made some acquisitions on the A.I. IVR space to supercharge your self-service, customer experience, and agent staffing models. Five9 is truly the best all around Call Center Software on the market today.
Best Call Center Software for Small Business: TalkDesk
If you’re a smaller business and want the easiest solution to meet your goals, look no further than TalkDesk. TalkDesk offers a full feature CCaaS platform with IVR, ACD, Dialer, Reporting, Dashboards, and more. TalkDesk’s user interface is intuitive and easy to use so you don’t need much IT support to manage the solution.
Best Call Center Software for Small Enterprise: Genesys PureCloud
Genesys PureCloud is a great option for smaller enterprises that require an omni-channel solution and full featured CCaaS platform. It’s extremely easy to implement and has the features to support enterprise-level routing and CX requirements. Like other leading vendors, Genesys PureCloud includes self-service tools like voice bots, chatbots, and speech enabled IVR. All of which are generally simple to implement. There is a reason our friends at Gartner ranked Genesys so high, PureCloud is one of the reasons.
Best Call Center Software for Large Enterprise: NICE CXOne
NICE CXOne has a full platform suite to suit the most complex of large global enterprise customers. Their incumbent standing with NICE legacy products has lended NICE CXOne to win some large enterprise accounts. This experience has enabled NICE CXOne to bolster their product to meet the needs of large enterprises. The NICE CXOne platform has CX features that large contact centers need. These features span across inbound, outbound, WEM, IVR, AI, and Robotic Process Automation. All of these features, Large Enterprises have the capacity and resources to implement. A word of caution, NICE CXOne consistently receives poor customer feedback rankings for customer support. So if vendor support matters to you, please beware.
Best Call Center Software for Salesforce and CRM Integration: Five9
Five9 has been executing CTI integrations with Salesforce for almost a decade. Countless R&D dollars have been invested to ensure that customers, using Five9 and Salesforce, have the ability to sell-to and service customers via omni-channel. That being said, Five9 is the best choice for customers who want to have one CTI solution for Sales and Customer Service use-cases.
Best Call Center Software for Custom IT Developers: Amazon Connect
There has been a lot of chatter around Amazon Connect entering the CCaaS market. The Amazon Connect billing model is a usage based model and is mostly a build-it-yourself developer environment. Therefore, Amazon Connect is an option for customers who believe their contact center needs are extremely unique and require custom builds. And have in-house developers. Beware of hidden, up-front capital, and development costs. Tech Stack Advising has worked with a large bank who estimated their cost to implement Amazon Connect was over $20M. This bank still has not moved to the cloud due to the capital investment requirements of Amazon Connect.
As previously mentioned, this decision is incredibly complex and vital. So many factors go into choosing the best solution for your call or contact center. We recommend reaching out to us at Tech Stack Advising for help making this important decision.