Communicating customers on the phone is more difficult than other means of communication because there’s no time for you to pause and frame your response as answers are needed right away and it’s easy to lose the context of your phone conversations as you can’t look at the customer history or call summary while you are on call. To help simplify this process, HAVING THE BEST CALL CENTER SOFTWARE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES is needed to help their employees especially the call center agents in handling calls to provide excellent customer service to their clients or customers. This software is a set of technology they can use to harness multiple channels of communication nowadays.
WHAT IS A CALL CENTER SOFTWARE?
Call center software comes in many functions and forms like auto-dialers, call accounting solutions, call center monitors, predictive dialers, call analytics, interactive voice response, computer telephony integration, and automatic call distributor. The main purpose of call center software is to help businesses in managing customer communication coming from multiple sources and channels like over the phone, live chat, email, SMS text, instant messaging, and social media platforms. It is important to know and understand the unique features of each software before investing and using it in your business.
HOW MUCH DOES A CALL CENTER SETUP COST?
Call centers can be of different types. Vacated type of call center is the least expensive choice. They need minimum upfront investment and can be set up easily. But these call centers can be associated with some hidden center setup cost of electrical and mechanical systems. Another option is converting a former retail space into a call center. These facilities already have sufficient amenities and large floor plates. However, you will need enough amount of capital to revamp these facilities into a fully functional call center. You can also opt for built-to-suit facilities. The current demand for call center space emerged in the availability of built-to-suit call centers. These facilities are specifically developed to meet your requirements and needs and require financial bank agreements. That’s why only stable and well-capitalized businesses choose built-to-suit facilities.
Depending on what type of call center facility you will choose, estimated costs can oscillate between $2,500 to more than $10,000. Some of the main factors that can influence the cost of a call center setup are annual base rental rates that are $4 to $15 per sq. ft.; annual operating expenses estimated at $5-6 per sq. ft.; tenant construction cost of $0-20 per sq. ft.; landlord construction allowance of $0-40 per sq. ft.; cabling that is $250 per workstation; furniture of $250-1,000 per workstation; back-up generator cost; and IT & telephony equipment that is $250-750 per workstation.
HOW DO I START MY OWN CALL CENTER?DEFINE WHAT TYPE OF CALL CENTER YOU NEED.
The first important step is to determine the focus of your business and its type of services. You can focus on making outbound calls, responding to inbound calls from customers, or call bend which is a mixture of the two. Outbound call centers focus on making outgoing calls. Outbound agents engage in telemarketing, cold calling, lead generation, setting up appointments, selling a product, and offering a service to the customers. The inbound call center provides services like responding to queries, taking orders, and customer or technical support like they need your expertise on how to operate a product. Customers are the ones who make calls and agents receive calls from them. Another type of call center is blended or call blend which offers a blend of outbound and inbound calls.
DECIDE YOUR GOALS
It is necessary to outline your goals like having a business plan before you will begin setting up your call center. These goals are important to know and decide the kind of operations you will handle, the number of employees you’ll hire, the process to be implemented, and the costs you will incur. Creating and deciding on your goals is the best way to scale up your business as it breaks down those goals into achievable parts.
SELECT THE RIGHT CALL CENTER SOFTWARE.
A call center agent might be swamped with dozen jobs other than calling like recording calls, data entry, updating CRM system, and the like. To lessen the burden, having a call center solution can automate all of these recurring tasks so that your agent can focus on their primary job. Some common types of these solutions that offer various functionalities are automatic call distributor (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR), predictive dialer, and computer telephony integration (CTI). Selecting and using the right call center software is an important part of the setup process, so be mindful of certain factors like security & compliance, integrations, call distribution, service, and usability.
FIND A SUITABLE LOCATION
The call center location plays a big part in the success of your business. While you can set up a local call center but other businesses offshore or outsource their call centers as it is more cost-effective. There are Asian countries that are great locations when setting up a call center as they of the best customer service, minimal setup costs, lower wages, and favorable corporate laws. Outsourcing agents from other foreign countries can be risky, so it’s better to team up with a local lawyer for you to understand all the costs involved and the permissions needed in each country.
DEAL WITH THE PAPERWORK
Starting a business involves preparation and going through tons of important paperwork. Talk to your local government to obtain any permits needed for you to start your call center. Ask help from a local lawyer to know the costs involved and requirements you need in each country if you prefer offshoring.
ESTABLISH A BUDGET
Operating a call center needs enough budget as you will have to spend on equipment, salaries, business registration fees, websites, marketing, maintenance, and other operating expenses. Your budget will also vary based on your focus and setup of your company. Decide on a budget that is realistic for your setup and align it with your goals to provide yourself enough breathing room to prosper at a consistent rate.
BEST CALL CENTER SOFTWARE FOR SMALL BUSINESS
When finding call center software, it is important to look at software with critical characteristics such as modern technology, easy setup, CRM integration, and customizations.
Aircall is a user-friendly and easy-to-install call center solution that integrates with a CRM and some other tools. Users particularly like this solution for its core call features for support and fast deployment especially for teams who need to have something up and running quickly as it is great for support and in promoting collaboration.
RingCentral Contact Center is an award-winning communications software that is built for small and big businesses. It gives a collaborative system that offers tools for outbound campaign management and intelligent omnichannel routing that integrates with different CRM platforms in managing customer interactions effectively. It also provides tools for gamification, workforce optimization, and quality management in helping administrators to make operations as effective and seamless as possible.
Freshcaller is the call center product coming from the Freshworks family and is known for its business solutions. One of its main advantages is its free basic plan. You don’t need to pay for its calls but it can support unlimited agents and has desktop notifications, inbound caller ID, custom greetings, call notes, and metrics. This multi-level IVR solution and cloud-hosted call center enable you to purchase international, local, tool-free, and vanity numbers in more than 40 countries all over the world. It requires your browser to create and receive calls, queue up callers, and set interactive voice callers. It also provides you with hassle-free cloud telephony that can be deployed immediately and offers an intelligent collaboration system that had smart notifications and in-place editing for those agents to present themselves with more contextual responses.
Five9 is a customizable and robust call center solution wherein the service and customer support are very efficient. It is made for calling numbers with minimal need to change the leads within the campaign. It is an all-in-one cloud contact center solution for outbound, inbound, blended, and omnichannel contact centers all over the world. It also delivers the most reliable and trusted cloud contact center proven to unlock customers’ insights and intelligence.
Talkdesk is an end-to-end customer experience solution that combines the business scale and consumer simplicity. Its special features are the ACD or Automatic Call Distributor wherein you can route inbound calls based on caller data; IVR or Interactive Voice Response system to make sure that each caller is directed to the best agent, team, and department; forward-to-phone features wherein you can forward calls to mobile phones, landlines, SIP phones for your team to remain connected; and no answer call forwarding for you to route calls to an overflow phone number when all of the agents are busy meeting customer needs.
PhoneBurner is an effective call center dialing and lead management software for the outbound call center sales team with essential tools to improve the performance of agents during and after taking calls. Its dialer system has no setup or contract fees and is free for you to try without using a credit card. It is a cloud-based software wherein agents can dial anywhere by using any phone. There is no technical expertise needed as users can use the software for their convenience. Agents can dial or reach up to 80 contacts per hour. It has a local ID feature that displays a local caller ID for making international calls.
Zendesk is a full-integrated support platform for customers that consist of a live chat tool, help desk system, community portal, and knowledgeable platform. It has a browser-based module that allows automated ticket creation, agents to handle outbound and inbound calls, route, and queue incoming calls. It gives users call monitoring, real-time dashboards, and advanced analytics so they can use a more data-driven approach in call center management. The system also allows users to select local or toll-free numbers from more than 40 countries making it a flexible option for companies.
This software is best for small to large businesses and best for web-based platforms. Its features are unlimited SMS & MMS, custom business rules, and help desk integrations. Its price starts at $15/month for every user while it is free for video conferencing.
Ytel is a cloud-based integrated marketing software that caters to SMB call centers and different businesses having dedicated support teams that help them in managing and handling calls of the business. It is an excellent program with a UI that is easy to use and full of important features. All reports are powerful and taking outbound calls has become nearly effortless. This is also a good dialer system to use especially for beginner call center agents.
BEST CALL CENTER PHONES
Call center phones are at the heart of any contact center or customer support team. These integral pieces of hardware need to be compatible with VoIP or voice-over-internet-protocol service providers and must provide crystal clear audio and video. These are some of the best call center phones that provide various features to enable agents in managing their inbound and outbound calls effectively.
POLYCOM VVX311 (ASIN# B07FB4H4J7)
YEALINK T46S (ASIN# B07CZNJDG9)
This is an advanced, state-of-the-art business phone that is ideal for working professionals and busy working executives. Its OPUS codec support guarantees a superior sound quality and an HD voice. Some of its features include USB port support for Wi-fi and Bluetooth, presence, Gigabit ethernet, high-resolution color display, and more. This is the best optimal solution for power users and phone attendants who are managing multiple, simultaneous calls or monitor presence daily.
YEALINK T41S (ASIN# B07N31FPJS)
Yealink T41S is a feature-rich business tool for clear and superior communications with extended functionalities. It offers a faster, more responsive interface, and various performance-enhancing functions. It is a six-line IP phone that has built-in programmable keys to enhance call productivity. Its key features are HD audio, easy customization & high expansibility, efficient installation & provisioning, and secure transport and interoperability.
GRANDSTREAM GS-GXP (ASIN# B019X06IFS)
This is the best overall call center phone for small businesses. What users like about this phone is its competitive set of features for an affordable price that only costs $95. It offers a full-color display, fantastic HD audio quality, and Bluetooth compatibility for you to synch your mobile device or Bluetooth headset for a wireless experience. You can experience top-notch call quality using this high-end phone that maintains its quality via Bluetooth connections or a built-in handset.
Choosing the best call center software for your business is one of the top priorities to help grow, achieve goals, increase sales, provide exceptional service to your customers. Have research and ask the opinions from other businesses who already had experience on what’s the best software that you can apply and use for your business. Then after using the best software, everything will run smoothly Helping your agents, other employees, and top-level managers to run work smoothly will lead to the success of your business.