Five Tips for Picking a Virtual Call Center Solution
March 06, 2008
By Mae Kowalke
, TMCnet Contributor
There are so many claims floating around about virtual call center on-Demand contact center solutions (sometimes referred to as “On-Demand” solutions) that it can be quite confusing to know what actually matters and how to pick a vendor that will live up to its promises.
According to Contactual, there are five main considerations associated with choosing a virtual call center solution. These are: software, hardware, planned maintenance, call center configuration changes, and integrated multimedia management.
First off, it is important know for sure whether the solution under consideration is really, truly 100 percent Web-based. If so, all that agents will need to use the system is a phone, Internet connection and Web browser. The solution is not completely Web-based if it requires employees to download and install software on their computers.
Second, it is equally important to find out whether the solution requires specialized hardware to be installed. This might include telephony routers, terminal adapters and on-premise servers. Solutions with this requirement will end up being more expensive than those that are truly 100 percent software-based.
Third, the organization making a virtual call center solution purchase should consider how planned maintenance will be handled. Unplanned downtime should be included in the vendor’s Service Level Agreement (SLA
) contract, but not all vendors make the same concession for planned
downtime associated with maintenance. All downtime is detrimental, of course. For this reason, choosing a vendor with High Availability Communications Cluster (HACC) technology will save time, money and headaches down the road.
Fourth, ease-of-configuration should be a key factor when picking a virtual call center solution. The organization purchasing the solution should be given the tools needed to control the call center and make setup changes on the fly. If only the vendor can make these changes, the solution will be much more time-consuming and costly to maintain.
Finally, the virtual call center solution should include integrated multimedia management. This means it provides a variety of ways for customers to contact the organization—including phone, e-mail and Web chat. Routing
rules, skills-based support and reporting should work the same way across all types of media.
By taking into consideration these five factors, organizations making virtual call center solution purchasing decisions can ensure that they are asking the right questions of potential vendors.
To learn more about on-demand contact center technology, please visit the Virtual Call Center
channel on TMCnet.com, brought to you by Contactual.
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is Convergence in Telecommunication, brought to you by Comarch (News - Alert).
Mae Kowalke is an associate editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae’s articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.