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Best Contact Center Software in 2020

Finding the best Contact Center Software for your business is now faster and easier! Compare prices, reviews, features, and get free consultation to find the perfect software.

Table of Contents

What is Meant by Contact Center Software?

Contact center software is a technological platform that is built specifically to increase the efficiency of contact centers. The main focus of contact center systems is to improve the quality of interaction between customers and call center agents.

There are many contact center solution providers in the market nowadays that can customize the software to match organizational requirements. The core function of a contact center platform is to route calls of customers to available agents in a smooth and structured manner. They are also able to track and monitor various key metrics during these interactions so that managers can work on improving performance constantly.

In recent years, cloud contact center providers have come up with various solutions with advanced features and functionalities. Contact center software can allow businesses to maintain customer communication through numerous channels such as phone, email, SMS texts, live chat, and social media.

Contact center systems are also a useful tool to enhance customer service as they can help in solving tickets speedily and responding to client queries. It is important for companies to get in touch with credible contact center solution providers to invest in the best possible software. It will enable them to streamline two-way customer communication and extend superior support to clients, thereby engaging them healthily for higher retention in the long run.

What are the major features of the contact center software?

If there is one main aspect that you need to look out for while purchasing a contact center platform, it is definitely the features. Assess your key business requirements so that you can speak to cloud contact center providers to give you all the advanced features that you will need for better functionality. Here are some vital features to include in a contact center system

  • Automatic Call Distribution:

    There is no doubt that automatic call distribution is the most important feature that is offered by contact center solution providers. It enables client calls to be routed to available call agents automatically and in a structured manner. This ensures that customers receive speedy service, and do not keep waiting endlessly in telephone queues.

  • Interactive Voice Response:

    This is another prime feature of contact center platforms. It allows customers to self-direct themselves to an appropriate extension number or department. IVR could give clients customized voice greetings or give them an option of a service prompt menu. Call center software with an interactive voice response facility enables customers to serve themselves efficiently and reduces the dependency on manual staff members.

  • Call Queue:

    Most contact centers have to frequently deal with high traffic, hence they need to have a call queuing facility. This feature is commonly used by virtual call centers so that customers do not exit the line after being told to wait. Each customer is assigned a specific call agent/team/department so that they receive quick service. Customers are routed based on urgency, and all real-time statistics are constantly tracked to provide superior support service.

  • Controlled Telephony:

    Modern cloud contact center providers are designed for seamless call control as they enable users to transfer, mute or put callers on hold. It automates all basic functions of call centers so that they work without any delays or disruptions. Contact center systems do not focus only on telephonic calls, they control all aspects of corporate communication such as support chat, instant messages, email, conferencing, and social media pages.

  • Voicemail:

    An essential feature of contact center systems, voicemail enables customers to leave messages for call agents when they are not available. Advanced contact center software allows for message transcription so that agents can receive the message in their activity newsfeed. This is helpful as agents do not lose out on any vital calls, and can easily call back customers once they receive their voicemail messages.

  • Real-Time Analytics and Reporting:

    One of the most essential features provided by contact center solution providers is real-time data analysis and reporting capabilities. A number of key metrics can be monitored such as a number of calls per day, the average time of each call, waiting for time and call abandoning rate. Most contact center software enables managers to prepare sophisticated reports that give deeper insights into agent performance and aids better decision making.

  • Call Barging:

    ?This is another innovative feature that is part of most contact center systems. It enables new team members to automatically connect a customer call to a manager so as to provide better assistance and service. It is also known as whisper coaching and helps team members to seek guidance from superiors at every step of the calling process.

What are the main differences between a call center and a contact center?

Most people get heavily confused between the terms call centers and contact centers. It is imperative to understand these terms completely before getting in touch with your cloud contact center providers so that you can choose the best possible solution for your organization.

A call center is usually based in a traditional office setting. It is a model where agents receive inbound, outbound, or blended calls from clients so as to provide the support service or respond to their queries. Most call centers utilize on-premise hardware and have a strong telecommunication infrastructure to handle a high volume of call traffic.

On the other hand, contact centers handle inbound and outbound calls, but they also handle digital service mediums. They are far more likely to use modern communication technologies such as voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) or cloud services. Some digital channels that can be handled by contact center software include text messages, webchats, emails, and other digital mediums.

There has been a slow switch from call centers to contact centers in recent times. Here are some key differentiating factors that will help in understanding the two terms better:

  • Digital Service Channels Vs Voice Communication:

    The most prominent difference between call centers and contact center platforms is the channel of service. While call center agents mostly communicate by phone, contact center representatives may communicate with clients through instant messages, live chats, emails or other digital channels.

  • Self-Service Empowerment:

    Call centers are more traditional in their approach; hence they rely on manual staff members to handle calls and interact with customers. However, cloud contact center providers often integrate the software with advanced tools such as interactive voice response. IVR enables customers to serve themselves effectively through drop-down menus and automated chatbots.

  • Call Agent Engagement Levels:

    Call center agents often remain frustrated due to handling a high volume of phone calls. Hence, they try to reduce the time spent handling each call and are not highly motivated about their job. On the other hand, contact center representatives allow people to communicate through any digital medium of their choice. This cuts down the waiting time, decreases costs, and makes the experience far more enjoyable for both agents and customers.

  • Customer Data Availability:

    ?It is important for both call centers and contact centers to store information about customer preferences and behavior. While call centers monitor information gathered through phone conversations, contact centers compile diverse customer data from multiple channels into a unified view. This makes it possible to provide predicted service to clients that exceed their satisfaction levels.

What is cloud-based and on-premise contact center solutions?

If you are planning to invest in contact center software, then it is absolutely essential that you are clear about the various kinds of contact center solutions that are available in the market today. One of the major decisions that you will have to make is whether your organization will invest in a cloud-based or on-premise contact center platform.

  • Cloud-Based Contact Centers:

    A cloud-based contact center is hosted in the cloud by a business server. In this type of contact center system, it is very easy to access customer communication from any place in the world. Employees just need an internet connection, and can easily make or receive inbound/outbound calls, answer emails and conduct live chats with customers. The only condition is that users should be able to log on to a high-speed internet network with sufficient bandwidth.
    Nowadays most companies choosing to modernize their communication structure by opting for cloud-based contact centers. They are convenient, agile, and flexible as call agents can access the system from any place. Contact centers hosted in the cloud are also extremely secure as there is a complete backup of data, hence there is no threat of loss of important company information.

  • On-Premise Call Centers:

    This is the more traditional type of contact center, and the concept focuses primarily on hardware requirements. In an on-premise contact center, all the hardware, software, infrastructure remain onsite within the organization and are maintained by in-house staff members. It requires an upgrade every few years, and companies need to invest in a dedicated IT staff to maintain the communication servers.

    Maintaining an on-premise contact center solution is not easy – everything from the installation, upkeep, and up-gradation of servers is done by the organization’s internal staff members. The system is expensive and not as flexible as cloud-based contact centers. This is the main reason that most companies are now shifting from the traditional on-premise model to the new-age cloud-hosted solutions.

    There are many inherent differences between on-premise and cloud-hosted contact center solutions. Most people compare cloud-hosted and on-premise contact center platforms by using these major criteria:

    1. ?Installation:

      The entire installation process of an on-premise contact center platform can take a long time as the company needs to purchase licenses, compatible software, and communication hardware. However, most modern cloud contact center providers can set up the application instantly and it takes only a couple of hours before users can start making or receiving calls.

    2. Business Costs:

      This is another major differentiating factor between on-premise and cloud-hosted contact centers. On-premise contact center systems require a heavy upfront investment to purchase all the hardware, licenses, and equipment. They are also expensive as the entire setup needs to be replaced frequently due to technological changes or wear and tear of hardware equipment. On the other hand, cloud-based contact centers do not require a heavy investment as the service provider handles all the infrastructure requirements. The major ongoing cost would be a monthly or annual subscription, rest all the installation, upkeep and maintenance will be handled by your contact center solution provider.

    3. Features:

      On-premise contact centers are more old-fashioned and have traditional features such as call transfers, on-hold music, two-way conferencing, and call logging. Conversely, most cloud-based contact center software is highly advanced and has an array of sophisticated features. They automate the most routine functions of call agents and have the ability to monitor real-time data through call analytics. Interactive voice response, automated customized voice greetings, call barging, chatbots and voicemail are some novel features of cloud-based contact centers that can greatly enhance efficiency levels.

    4. System Integrations:

      It is not always easy to integrate on-premise contact center software with other systems in the organization due to license issues. Companies need to invest heavily in having top-notch and knowledgeable IT teams to manage integration issues smoothly, without any glitches. However, it is just the opposite of cloud-based contact center software. They can be easily integrated with other important systems such as CRM to enable the seamless flow of customer information. This is handled by the service provider to promote efficient handling of help-desk tickets and provide superior customer service.

    5. Reliability:

      On-premise contact center systems are highly reliable as they provide apex level call quality without any lag or disturbance in transmissions. However, the call quality will also depend on the technology – if it is outdated, then organizations can expect problems in customer communication. Cloud contact center providers ensure that there is no disturbance in call quality as long as there is a steady reliable internet connection of high bandwidth. However, if there is a loss of internet or a breakdown in the connectivity, then it may cause problems for cloud-based contact centers.

What are the benefits of using contact center software?

It is necessary for business organizations to invest in reliable contact center software to track, and monitor calls with customers. It ensures that customers have a reliable channel to get in touch with support representatives, and provides superior service to valued clients. Contact center platforms streamline the day-to-day processes and help organizations derive the best performance from their call agents. Here are some major advantages of using contact center systems for business organizations:

  • Enhanced Customer Satisfaction:

    Customers need speedy and efficient service from call center agents. Investing in a reliable contact center solution provider will make sure that customer calls are routed in order of priority so that their queries are handled in a professional manner. Since all conversations are recorded, agents give their best performance and try to drop call wait time. This ensures that your valued customers do not wait endlessly in telephone queues, and receive assistance satisfactorily.

  • Advanced Reporting Features:

    One of the biggest benefits of contact center platforms is that they have advanced reporting abilities. They are able to track key metrics such as a number of customer calls, average wait time, average call time, and resolution rate effectively. All this data can be compiled and analyzed to monitor agent performance. Reporting is important as this information gives management all required data to make strategic decisions and take essential decisions to achieve end goals.

  • Increased Productivity:

    Contact center platforms can largely enhance the efficiency levels of call agents as they automate many routine tasks related to customer communication. When agents use modern cloud-based contact center solutions, they have a much faster resolution rate, and reduced average call waiting time. Another key metric that enhances productivity is call routing – contact center software automatically routes calls to available agents in an ordered manner. All the calls are monitored, and real-time information can be used to make quicker decisions, and provide better customer service.

  • Full-Time Data Access:

    Contact center systems give ready access to customer information as stored in unified data repositories. They keep all-important client data such as customer name, demographics, income level, and preferences. When call agents have access to all customer information, they can provide better service to them based on history and specific preferences. Contact center software ensures that support representatives interact with customers in a more proactive manner as they can predict their demands and requirements.

  • Better Team Collaboration:

    Investing in a contact center platform will increase visibility across the organization as every agent will have access to key metrics. As it has a centralized database, the information can be easily shared across all departments for better efficiency. Since contact center systems are very transparent, they build up employee accountability and motivate call agents to take responsibility in the sales process. It increases team collaboration, improves the work environment, and helps in keeping call agents engaged in the workplace due to better procedures.

  • Reduced Costs:

    By choosing a credible cloud contact center provider, any organization will be able to increase efficiency and ultimately decrease costs. It improves agent performance and helps them resolve queries faster so that they delight customers with speedy service. Features such as predictive dialing enhance lead management and keep track of ideal times to call clients for better results. Automation of routine processes also results in lesser dependency on manual staff members and reduces expenses to a large extent.

  • Higher Sales:

    Contact center software is a useful tool that can boost sales exponentially. When customers believe in the brand, and remain satisfied with service levels, they are far likelier to make repeat purchases of higher value. They will also indulge in positive word-of-mouth publicity that will further increase and push the sales pipeline. Another benefit of contact center systems is that sales agents can cross-sell products, as the internal database will have detailed information about customer preferences and buying habits.

  • Stringent Security:

    Data security is always a matter of concern for any organization handling large volumes of sensitive client information. Contact center software is an asset that results in tight security of data as it has multiple levels of user access control. The customer details and organizational data remain completely safe as the cloud has a complete backup. Only authorized employees will be able to access company data, hence there is no scope of any data theft or fraudulent practices.

  • User-Friendly and Scalable:

    Contact center platforms are extremely user-friendly and do not require any kind of technical learning or training. Any contact center solution provider can easily install the software in a few hours, and it is a smart tool that can simplify all complex operations related to customer communication. Most contact center systems are also highly scalable; hence they can increase according to business requirements. Cloud contact center providers allow organizations to purchase extra modules at nominal costs at any later stage if they increase the scale of business operations.

  • Multi-Channel Support:

    ?Since modern-day customers are tech-savvy, they do not restrict themselves only to phone calls for customer support. One big advantage of contact centers is that they have the ability to respond to customer queries from multiple channels such as emails, chats, and instant messages. Regardless of what medium the client uses to contact call agents, they will be able to provide speedy assistance instantly through contact center software. This aids in reducing customer frustration, and increases their satisfaction levels by providing superior levels of service.

It is important to choose a reliable cloud contact center provider so that you invest in top-rated software that will give you a quick return on investment. Make sure to assess your business requirements, scan the market, and compare all available options before making a final choice. Getting an excellent call center platform will definitely go a long way in increasing all major bottom line profits and give any organization a strong competitive advantage in the dynamic market space.

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Rinkesh AnandaniBy Rinkesh Anandani | Last Updated: October 27, 2020

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