In today’s digital age, a customer has many options to interact with a product or service.
He may use an email, a chat, social media or a traditional phone call. Still, the utility of traditional phone calls is huge, and therefore, call centers are still in the businesses, serving hundreds of customers on a daily basis.
In the past decade, the technology that backed call centers has evolved hugely – from on-premise setups to moving to the cloud and from just handling calls to handling chats, predicting customer needs, and so on.
In this article, we will talk about the best call center software which you can choose to establish your business. But before that, let’s look at key attributes that one should consider while selecting a software for their call center.
10 call center software features
With changing customer demands, call center needs have changed and are transitioning even further.
If you are setting up your call center, choosing the right software for your business becomes paramount.
You should consider the following features while selecting a software solution:
1. Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
Interactive voice response or IVR has become a standard feature to handle inbound calls.
IVR can help with query resolution without talking to an actual human or can help you route the customer to the right agent.
IVR brings automation to your call center, collects a lot of data and manages the call volume for your call center
Today’s call centers support their customers on multiple channels.
So if you are choosing a call center software, keep in mind the channels you want to incorporate in your strategy.
Most of the call center software can enable you with chat, emails, social media answering, etc.
This feature also helps you utilize your agents for multiple tasks as well as collect the complete information of your customers at a single place, thus providing an impeccable customer experience.
3. Call routing
To provide a great customer experience, your calls should be routed to the right person or agent.
Modern-day call center software can help you in connecting the calls to the right agent.
This can be done by auto-routing or by IVR options. When choosing software, you should look at call routing features
4. CRM integration
CRM should be the single source of truth for your organization.
Your call center software should provide seamless integration with your CRM so that the agent understands the information and context of the call and also enrich the existing profile with additional information.
5. Call recording
Call recordings are important for training purposes as well as for audits and regulatory compliance. Furthermore, it can help to get back to the difficult calls and resolve the issues at a later point in time.
Call recordings features are available today with most modern-day call center solutions
6. Cloud-based calling
With work from home becoming a new normal, a call center can’t solely depend on on-premise tools. Cloud-based calling solutions are easy to deploy, can be used from anywhere and are easily scalable.
Thus, this feature becomes a must-have while looking for a calling solution for your contact center.
In a call center, there could be teams making outgoing calls.
If you have such a need, you require a solution that can provide an autodialer, and ease to auto-call the people as and when required.
Most of the modern-day solutions can provide you with the outgoing call function but you have to check various features your software is providing to enable the same.
8. Call scripting
In a large call center, usually, there are teams handling similar kinds of issues.
And software these days can help you with providing a call script feature.
Some software can provide a fixed script whereas there can be software that can provide suggestions based on the keywords spoken by the customer.
This is a fairly useful feature when you are handling calls at scale.
9. Reporting and Analytics tools
It is said that what can’t be measured, can’t be improved.
Since your calling function has lot of input variables, you would need to measure them to drive success.
When choosing a software, look for the reporting and analytics module these software. Ideally, they should give you easy access to the following reports:
- Agent utilization ratio
- Agent idle time
- Average handle time
- First call resolution
- Average customer queue rate
- Cost per contact
- Hit rate (for outbound calls)
- Call transfer rate
10. Supervisory control
You would require a call supervisor, a quality control team, and a training team to run your contact center, apart from the agent team.
It becomes important to understand if your software provides access to various teams and what kind of information is available for these teams. Also, it should be important to understand how these software deal with escalations and handle customer complaints.
Apart from individual accounts, modern-day software provide the following supervisory control features as well:
- Call barging and whispering
- Team messaging
- Work optimization
Now, that we know what are the key features which you should be looking for in a call center software, we are listing the top 12 software to make a choice
12 best call center software
RingCentral is a cloud-based phone system that integrates seamlessly with various CRMs and has omnichannel support.
It supports both desktop and mobile users. It has very very defined agent management module along with a skill-based call routing system.
It comes with different pricing plans thus suiting both SMBs and enterprise clients. We have listed some salient features of the software:
- Seamless integration with CRMs, ticket management systems, etc
- Cloud-based and support remote agent working
- Call routing enabled
- Omnichannel supporting Social media, emails, and chats
- Very powerful outbound dialer
- RestFUL API available for integrations with third-party system
- IVR and speech recognition options are available
Avaya comes in two avatars – on-premise solution as well as a cloud-based solution. As per their website, 90% of fortune 100 companies are on Avaya. They have been the pioneer in this industry and have very stable enterprise-level products. But it comes at a cost. It comes with the following features:
- Omnichannel support
- Desktop and mobile compatibility
- Personalized desktop for agents
- Powerful reports and analytics
- Toll-free support
BT contact solution is available both on cloud and on-premise.
It can support legacy systems and provides options for flexible scaling.
It further gives an option of call blending which means the same agent can be on an inbound or outbound call. Following are the features of the BT contact solution:
- Intelligent call routing
- Real-time monitoring
- Call blending
- Flexible scaling
- Workflow management
CloudTalk is a great cloud solution that comes with a plethora of great features. It has highly customizable features like ability to create customer call queues, automatic call distribution, etc which makes it an ideal solution for your contact center.- CloudTalk also provides options like customized voicemails and greetings, and helps you create a great brand experience over the calls. Some of the features of cloudTalk are:
- Customer call queue creation
- Automatic call distribution
- Click to call and predictive dialer
- CRM and ecommerce integration
- Real time customer information
TalkDesk is one of the best call center software available for enterprises.
The software is designed to handle large teams and huge call volumes.
TalkDesk provides AI voice analytics that can give your call center enriched data on customer needs and sentiments. It also can be easily integrated with various CRMs and other solutions. Some of the salient features of TalkDesk are:
- Voice analytics
- Workflow management
- Desktop customization for agents
- Predictive outbound dialer
- Integrations with CRMs and other solutions
6. Genesys Cloud
Genesys is one of the oldest players in the call center software space.
It is useful more for enterprises than for small businesses. It has great stability, can handle large volumes of calls and agents. It can handle calls, emails, chats, social media, and instant messaging. It has great functionalities like chatbots and voicebots. The key features of Genesys cloud are:
- Omnichannel support
- Voice and chat bots
- Workforce management
- Reporting and analytics tools
Hubspot is famous with marketeers and sales teams as a CRM.
But it provides a very strong solution for call centers as well. It is particularly useful for sales teams with its click to call capabilities and its ability to prioritize calls and set up call queues. It is omnichannel and hence works for email scheduling as well as live chats.
It has a powerful help desk solution which can create very useful software for your contact center. Following are its salient features:
- Universal conversation hub
- Open APIs and ease to interact with any other software
- Automation and insightful reports
Aircall is one of the most popular cloud software solutions used by small and mid enterprises. It is easy to adopt, is scalable and can be used in remote work environments as well. Above all, it is light on pocket and can accommodate multiple teams. Its key features are as follows:
- IVR support in various languages
- Call routing, skill based routing
- Call whispering
- Live call monitoring
- Strong reporting and analytics
Nextiva is one of the most reliable cloud software available for call centers. In 2019 and 2020, there were zero outages of the software. It has features like IVR, ACD, call queuing. It can also help you with advanced features like virtual agents. Some of the salient features of nextiva are:
- Call recording and rating
- Mobile and desktop apps
- Call forwarding
- Real time call routing
- Zero down time
Bitrix24 differentiates itself from others by including CRM features in its call center solution. It comes with inbuilt CRM features like pipeline management, sales reports, and sales automation. It comes up with a desktop and a mobile app and works on facebook, messenger, instagram, Skype, Viber, Telegram and more. Following are its key features:
- On premise and on cloud options
- CRM support
- Omnichannel availability
Dialpad is ideal for SMBs and mid market businesses.
It is easy to install, expand and scale. One can add users in just a few clicks in very less time. It also comes with a chrome extension which enables basic functionality inside the browser making it a click and call play.
It comes with very good reporting and call routing functionality. A few of its key features are:
- Plug and play install
- Call routing and assignment
- Chrome extension
- Voice intelligence
- Sentiment analysis
Unlike other options, Dixa is a browser based cloud software. It is easy to set up and use and their pricing model allows you to pay as you go. One can upsize or downsize the teams as and when required without any additional costs. It makes it very friendly for small and medium sized businesses.
It comes with capabilities like call recording, call barging, and very solid customer support. Its key features are:
- Omnichannel functionalities
- APIs for easy integration with CRMs, and other software
- Call barging, routing
There are many options available in the market for your call center needs.
It is always advisable to understand and pen down your needs and create a cost benefit analysis of various shortlisted options to make a wise decision.
Don’t be enamored by the shiny features marketed by these software. You have to evaluate your specific use cases, and understand if a particular feature is required by you and if it is worth paying a price for that.
You need to understand that selecting a software is an important decision as it is not often easy to shift to other software as it entails integration costs, training costs and change management costs. Thus, make a very informed decision while selecting a call center software for your business.