Picture it – you excitedly pull up a chair at a new, four-star restaurant to experience the benefits of exquisite taste and experience only to find that the food is bad and the service is even worse. You confront the manager about its deceiving appearance and explain that the ads you saw in the paper make it sound like the best in town. You then learn the hard way that fancy looks and sophisticated advertisements aren’t everything when it comes to running an efficient business.
Similarly, you don’t want a salt-less contact center, but rather one who’s fine taste and benefits you can savor. So when evaluating your next contact center software, how can you differentiate whether it only looks good in an advertisement from when it looks good on the plate?
There’s a number of ways you can tell the early warning signs of a contact center disaster. When you see a flame, there’s likely to be a smoke – and you know how the old saying goes. Here are a few things to watch out for when deciding what really matters in your contact center essentials.
Go Beyond the Features and Cost
We all know that these are the very first two things to look for when building the ideal contact center…but should they be? You may be scratching your head at this one, but hear me out. You should obviously be on the lookout for contact center software that boasts a full set of quality features, but you should also be pushing for one that has even more than the standard set.
“Do your diligence and make sure it checks all of your boxes,” Ela Gardner, senior marketing manager for Clarity (News - Alert) Consulting, explains.
Speaking of diligence, we all know that the economy is rough right now, but that really doesn’t mean you should skip out on quality software for one that is cheaper. You get what you pay for – and you’ll pay in the wrong way if you settle for something less than what your contact center needs. Too many businesses only see contact center software for its dollar signs; elevate your awareness by standing out as an industry leader that chooses software that is neither known for its label or its price, but sophistication and origination.
Additionally, Gardner advices that you distribute the evaluation of costs three ways; based on cost per user, server costs and support and long-term total cost of ownership. “Any solution that doesn’t empower and enable you to better self-manage your environment will end up costing you big bucks in the long-run. And keep in mind, pricing structures vary from provider to provider.”
Be (Respectfully) Wary of Start-ups
I know I know – how can one be fair when taking out some potentially valuable start-ups out of the equation? This isn’t playing favorites, but rather being practical and realistic. Be wary of big, sparkly convincing ads, as they can distract you from the truth behind the matter. Remember that the tables can also be turned; while some start-ups are dark horses getting ready to finish out the race, other larger, seemingly reputable companies can sometimes just be overly sensationalized. Bottom line: Don’t fully trust a software provider based on its advertisements or name, but rather after testing their product out in a trial. The only reason to be wary of start-ups is for their sometimes blatant lack of experience.
“Picking a native versus a non-native solution to complement your existing communications infrastructure can and should play an important role in how you select your next contact center, but often times this component gets overlooked,” Gardner explains. Although non-native solutions may suit your needs at the surface level, there can be a lot of hidden costs and further obstacles to endure. This will ultimately make “them less efficient and more susceptible to attrition,” which will end up frustrating call center administrators. Conversely, native solutions naturally work faster, more seamlessly and more harmoniously with your existing infrastructure, Gardner adds.
What about Installation?
Self-installation should be like fingernails down a chalkboard for you. It can take hours, weeks or even months to guarantee that your preferred contact center solution is working with your existing environment – and who has that time to waste?
“Some providers are working to make installation easier and more self-enabled for administrators, while others make it next to impossible. Make sure to ask how long it takes to onboard new agents, create contact centers, or make changes to your queues or IVR call flow,” the firm comments.
So while cost and features are important when selecting contact center software, ensuring that your solution works seamlessly with your existing environment is even more so. One contact center software provider, 8x8 (News - Alert), Inc., allows you to immediately launch your contact center for a low monthly fee with no hardware expense (except phones), as well as no software licensing fees and no implementation or maintenance team to hire.
See for yourself why the company was named the number one provider of hosted IP and telephony by exploring all of their offerings here.
Edited by Jamie Epstein