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11 Things to Consider When Choosing a Contact Center

by Erina Suzuki | Published On May 13, 2022 | Last Updated December 22, 2023

Contact centers play a vital role in enabling communication between businesses and their customers. They also build client relationships, resolve issues, and provide opportunities for sales.

As customer experience becomes increasingly important, companies must carefully assess several factors before selecting a contact center solution. 

With numerous options available in the market, choosing the right technology for your organization can be a difficult task. In this article, we will review the 11 most important factors to consider when selecting a contact center for your business or organization.  

What is a Contact Center? 

A contact center is a customer service platform that facilitates interactions between customers and businesses. Traditionally, businesses relied on call centers for most of their interactions. However, modern contact centers often span multiple communication channels, including phone, email, live chat and more. 

Fully integrated contact center solutions allow agents to field multiple customer queries at once. For example, a contact center agent may be handling a customer phone call while simultaneously responding to another customer’s email.   

Benefits of having a contact center

  • Meet rising expectations from customers
  • Increase customer satisfaction and retention
  • Provide quick resolutions and responses to queries
  • Drive sales and growth
  • Differentiate your business with superior customer service

How to Choose a Contact Center

If you don’t have a contact center for your business yet, or are thinking of switching to a different provider, it’s important to consider the following factors. 

Type of contact center

When shopping for a contact center, the first decision you’ll have to make is whether you want a cloud or on-premises solution. If your contact center is on-premises, that means all the hardware is owned by you and maintained at your own facility. Cloud contact centers, on the other hand, are hosted by a third-party provider using remote servers. 

Cloud-based solutions are based on newer technology and are quickly replacing on-premises contact centers as the top choice for businesses. The main benefits of choosing cloud over on-premises include better flexibility, cost savings and more advanced software features.      

Omnichannel capabilities 

According to Microsoft, 49% of consumers use between three to five different communication channels to contact customer service. When you're looking for your next contact center solution, ensure it has omnichannel capabilities. This allows customers to reach you through their preferred communication channels.

Omnichannel contact centers bridge communication gaps by centralizing all interactions onto one platform, regardless of the channel your customers use. For example, a customer can reach out to your organization via social media and then proceed to live chat or voice call without having to repeat information all over again. This also enables your agents to view previous customer interactions and provides relevant information to them, ultimately resulting in improved customer experience.  

Third-party integrations

Ensure that your prospective contact center provider can integrate your current applications with their contact center solution. By doing so, your team can continue leveraging familiar applications while ensuring consistency in the way they deliver customer service. These applications include customer relationship management (CRM), ticketing solutions, workforce management (WFM), and more.

A highly configurable contact center also ensures that new cutting-edge applications can be integrated in the future, which will keep your business ahead of the competition.  

Features

With so many contact center solutions to choose from, it’s important to take a look at what features are included and whether they meet your business needs. Make sure to identify which features are essential for your contact center and which are not necessary but nice to have.  

Common features for contact centers

  • Call queuing
  • Call recording
  • Call monitoring and barging
  • Call transcription 
  • Intelligent and skills-based routing
  • Interactive voice recording (IVR) 
  • Chatbots
  • Predictive dialer
  • Real-time reporting

Scalability

While your business may be a certain size today, it’s often difficult to predict what things will look like a few years down the road. For this reason, it’s important to consider how scalable your contact center needs to be and choose appropriately based on that. 

Scalable contact centers should be able to adapt to new demands and capacities while delivering the same level of quality and customer satisfaction. Some helpful features to have for scaling a contact center include self-serve options like IVR, intelligent and skills-based call routing, and cloud-based hosting platforms.    

Product roadmap  

Be sure that your prospective vendor has a product roadmap that communicates its future service plans. Reviewing their roadmap can help determine if their contact center solutions align with your organization’s goals for the years ahead. A strong product roadmap enables your team to take advantage of the latest technologies, including ongoing innovation of new product features and updates, and to stay ahead of the competition.

Additionally, consider how likely it is that the vendor is willing to incorporate their customers’ suggestions into their roadmap. This way, you may influence them to include enhancements to their existing plan that align with your organization’s goals.  

Technical support  

Spend less time managing technologies and more time delivering excellent customer service. It's important that your contact center vendor has an experienced technical support team so they can provide the best course of action when issues arise.  Assess your requirements and analyze whether the vendor can accommodate your needs. 

Here are some questions you may want to consider: 

  • Does the vendor offer 24-hour customer support?  
  • Do you require customer support during or outside of regular business hours?
  • In which language do you require support?  

Vendor relationship 

The partnership you have with your vendor is just as important as their technical support. Choose a reliable and responsive vendor to ensure all expectations are clearly discussed and outlined beforehand. 

Consider asking yourself some of these questions when choosing a vendor:  

  • Are they prompt in their response? 
  • Are they upfront about pricing and what is included? 
  • Do they have a clear explanation for all your questions?  

If you have any doubts, the vendor is probably not the right fit for your business. 

Unified communication strategy 

Examine your organization’s current unified communication (UC) strategy and see if there are opportunities to streamline communication and collaboration between agents and customers. Perhaps you are looking for a separate UC platform for your contact center, or maybe you are looking to implement a new UC platform while retaining your existing contact center solution.

If your organization uses Microsoft Teams internally, consider implementing a Microsoft Teams contact center. A certified Teams contact center solution offers full contact center functionalities while allowing your agents to continue using the familiar Teams interface. By taking the time to analyze your existing strategy, you can uncover ways to enhance your overall customer service.  

Price

Price is an important consideration for anyone shopping for a contact center. Often, contact center providers will price their solutions based on a subscription model. These subscriptions can be billed monthly or annually and usually depend on the number of users. Other contact center providers may charge a perpetual licensing fee, which gives you permanent access to the software for a one-time fee.   

Besides the quoted price, you should also consider the hidden costs to your organization associated with deploying and operating the contact center. This may include hiring new staff, upgrading existing hardware and increased overall operating costs. 

Case studies and customer reviews  

Finally, one of the best ways to understand if a vendor is the right fit for you is to learn how it has helped other organizations. Many contact center vendors provide case studies and application stories that share information about their customers’ challenges and how they overcame them with the vendor’s solution. You can also ask the vendor for references to contact that are in your industry or a similar one.  

Additionally, it is worthwhile to check out third-party sites that review contact center platforms. These sites include Gartner Peer Insights, Info-Tech Research Group, G2, and more. Get a good sense of what customers say about the solution, how the solution solved their problems and the level of support they received throughout the process. This way, you can assess and determine if the vendor and their contact center solution align with your organization's requirements and goals. 

Summary

Selecting the right contact center is essential to creating a positive end-user experience. Not only are contact centers necessary for meeting rising customer demands, but they also help your business retain loyal customers and stand out from the competition. 

Considering the number of options out there, it is critical to look at a variety of factors when choosing the right contact center for your business. It’s also a good idea to review your organization’s roadmap to help you determine if the features and applications you wish to implement align with what your contact center provider can offer. 

For more information on choosing the right contact center solution, reach out to a ComputerTalk representative today.  

 





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