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Buyers Guide to Cloud Call Center Software [2021]

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Every year, businesses need to re-evaluate their business processes and growth strategies. They need to see how they stack up against new trends and their competitors and what they can do to stand out. For many businesses, this means investing in new technology or software to upgrade their existing systems and process.

In this guide, we highlight how businesses can upgrade their phone systems with cloud call center software and what are the benefits of such an upgrade.

Here is everything you need to know about finding and buying the right cloud call center software for your business.

What is Cloud Call Center Software?

cloud contact center software

Cloud call center software — also referred to as cloud contact center software — is a cloud-based telephony solution. This software comes packed with communication tools and features to help your in-house and remote teams communicate efficiently.

A cloud contact center primarily focuses on internal and external voice (and sometimes video) communication. And so, it comes with advanced call management and multichannel support tools to ensure your teams stay connected and with your customers. Additionally, you will have access to analytics and reports that can be used for performance analysis.

With cloud call center software, your business does not need to rely on outsourcing for its sales and support efforts. You can bring call center solutions to your in-house teams.

Who Should Use Call Center Software & Why?

Until a few years ago, only large and multinational companies could afford to run their own call center. They had the budget and infrastructure to have an in-house call center dedicated to supporting their customer- and client-facing teams. On the other hand, small to medium-sized businesses would outsource their customer and technical support services to call centers that handled multiple businesses at a time.

However, in recent years and with great advances in telecom technology, even small to medium-sized businesses can afford to build and run their own call centers with call center software.

Cloud call center software comes with all the necessary call management features and then some. And since it is cloud-based, employees and users can access and use the service from any location. This supports businesses with offices in different regions and remote workers.

What Can Your Business Do with Cloud Call Center Software?

A cloud call center software opens many doors for businesses that want to elevate customer experience—from identifying new and valuable markets to improving how customers interact with your products and services. With cloud call center solutions, your business can offer:

  • Phone-Based Customer Service — Assist customers reaching out for support.
  • Technical Support — Offer technical and troubleshooting help.
  • Multichannel Support — Offer support via voice, email, live chat, text messaging, and video.
  • Outbound Sales and Cold Calling — Use location-specific local and toll free numbers when cold calling.
  • Lead Qualification — Simplify and speed up the lead qualification process with the right tools.
  • Market Research — Research new markets and scope out the competition before making a move.
  • Surveys and Feedback — Collect customer feedback to determine how your product or service performs and how it can be improved.
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What Do You Get with Cloud Contact Center Software?
8 Top Features

Different call center software providers offer different features and tools. Therefore, it is a good idea to shop around, review what each provider has to offer and what your business needs, and then decide.

While offerings may vary, these are the top features that most cloud call center providers offer:

1. Cloud Phone Numbers

You can get cloud-based local and international toll free numbers from various countries around the world. These numbers let users make and receive calls via the internet instead of traditional phone lines. By doing so, you can make and answer calls from an international customer residing in a different country without worrying about high international calling charges.

United World Telecom offers business phone numbers from more than 160 countries worldwide, and we offer:

  • Local phone numbers — come with local area codes assigned for specific regions.
  • Domestic and international toll free numbers — come with a recognizable 3-digit toll free prefix (800, 888, etc.) and are free to call.
  • DID numbers — route calls to existing phone lines within a PBX system.
  • Universal toll free number (UIFN) — is a single phone number that accepts calls from 45 countries participating in the UIFN program.

You can purchase a variety of cloud phone numbers to manage different markets and regions. Get local numbers to make it easy for locals in other countries to call your business. Or, use international toll free numbers so that these customers can call your business for free, even if you are located in a different country. The most significant advantage of cloud phone numbers is their ability to let businesses reach customers worldwide and go beyond geographical boundaries.

Related: UIFN or ITFS: Which is Best for Your Business?

2. International Call Forwarding

International call forwarding works alongside cloud phone numbers. With an international call forwarding service, you can forward incoming local and international calls to any location.

For example, suppose your business is based in the United States but has customers in Latin America, Asia, and Europe. Now, maybe you have a few remote workers in these regions, or you run your sales and support teams from the US. Either way, you need to find an inexpensive and easy way for your global customers to call your business.

You can get a local or toll free number for each of these regions. This way, when these customers call your business, they don’t incur long-distance or international calling fees. Then, with international call forwarding, you can set up forwarding rules so that incoming calls from these regions are routed to your support center in the US. Or, you can send calls from anywhere in Latin America to your remote team in Brazil. Similarly, you can route calls from Asia to your remote team in Taiwan.

This way, neither you nor your customers need to worry about high international calling fees. And with high voice quality that comes with cloud phone service providers, your teams and customers can communicate with ease.

3. Advanced Call Routing

Advanced call routing is a variation of international call forwarding. With advanced call routing, you can apply various rules for your call forwarding needs. Want to route calls based on the location of your caller? Try location-based routing. Want to route calls based on the time the call comes in? Try time-based routing. Want customers to interact with an agent with specific skills? Try skill-based routing.

Route calls to different locations, numbers, or lines, as desired. You can customize these rules to meet your business needs. Your business can efficiently manage and distribute calls by routing your calls this way. And customers can get the level of service they deserve.

4. Softphones and Web Dialers

Softphones — also known as web dialers and web phones — are cloud-based applications that let users make and receive business calls from any location and device. These applications come as desktop and smartphone apps and browser extensions.

You download or install the softphone and use the keypad or dialer to dial and place calls from any device. But that’s not all. You can also:

  • Store and update contact information
  • Access voicemails
  • Record calls
  • Use different caller IDs when making outbound calls
  • Make in-network calls and transfers, and more.

Essentially, you have a business phone on any device. And, since you can use this softphone from any location, it is ideal for businesses with remote and global teams. Users do not need to use the office phone system or their personal phones to make business-related calls. They simply use the softphone and display the business phone number as the caller ID.

Curious to see what more a softphone can do? Take a look at United World Telecom’s Softphone app.

Home Telecom Call Center

5. Outbound Calling with Custom Caller ID

Outbound calling is a premium service offered by cloud phone service providers. And it makes for a valuable addition to your call center. Why? With an outbound calling service, you can easily make outbound calls using any number within your plan. This means your in-house call center can make international calls appearing as a local business.

For example, you can purchase local and/or international toll free numbers for 5-6 target countries. Then, when your sales and service teams call customers in these countries, they can use the outbound calling service and display that country’s local or toll free number as the caller ID. This makes the call appear local but also makes it easy for customers to call your business back.

Outbound calling is a necessary service when it comes to connecting with global customers in a cost-effective way.

6. Hosted Call Recording

Your teams can record all incoming and outgoing calls with the call recording feature and store them for years to review later. From managing and reviewing calls to learning more about customer trends and preferences, there are many benefits to recording business calls. For this reason, more and more businesses are using call recording software to record customer calls. You can use recordings for:

  • Documenting transactions and payments,
  • Quality assurance,
  • Performance reviews,
  • Liability protection,
  • Compliance purposes such as GDPR and MiFID II,
  • Collecting customer information, interaction, and preferences,
  • Gathering customer feedback, and more.
Note: Check local and state compliance requirements before recording calls for your business.

7. Cloud IVR

An IVR system is an automated voice response system that answers incoming calls and assists callers. Most IVR systems can interact with the caller, identify the purpose of the call, and transfer the caller to the right department or provide assistance via pre-recorded messages. With pre-recorded messages, your IVR system can:

  • Greet callers
  • Provide company information
  • Provide information in different languages
  • Offer basic troubleshooting help
  • Take messages and make appointments, and so on.

Depending on the kind of IVR system you have, you may even offer callers self-service options through the IVR. For example, callers can use the IVR system to:

  • Verify callers
  • Activate accounts
  • Register complaints and collect feedback
  • Process payments and renewals, and more.

Related: 7 Best IVR Routing Strategies for Your Call Center

8. Call Detail Records and Reports

You will need numbers and metrics to evaluate performance and gauge how your business’ customer-facing teams are doing. This is where call analytics and reports come in. With almost every cloud call center software, you will be able to access call records and reports. Some might even offer advanced call analytics that match key metrics and KPIs you want to track. With these numbers, you can determine how your business is progressing and what improvements need to be made. No more need for guesswork and manual reporting.

6 Benefits of Cloud Call Center Software

cloud communications

So, why should you use cloud call center software? Here are 6 reasons why your business should get cloud contact center software:

1. Operate and Run From Any Location

The best part about any cloud-based service or application is that you can use it from anywhere. This adds additional flexibility to your business. You can expand to new regions, hire international and remote agents, and manage your business from anywhere. All you need is your service credentials and a good internet connection.

2. Cost-Effective

By being in the cloud, you can run and operate your business from any location and device. This means that you can cut down on on-premise installation and hardware costs since cloud-based services are generally hosted by the provider. You can also cut down on office and storage space costs by hiring remote and international workers.

3. Low Maintenance

Since the contact center software is hosted and managed by your provider, your business does not have to worry about maintaining or updating the system. Your provider takes care of all that. And cloud-based phone service providers have multiple backups and redundancy plans in case the primary server runs into a problem. This way, you do not have to worry about costly downtime or prolonged service outages. Reduce phone system downtime with a cloud communication solution.

4. Improve Customer Service Management

With advanced cloud call center software, your business can work towards improving its customer service quality. You can offer more channels for support, route calls to the right location and agent, offer self-service and off-hours service, and more. Some providers even offer customer service automation tools that can integrate with other business applications. Together, you can create a unified communications platform that helps you offer better customer support.

5. Access to Various Communication Tools and Features

As mentioned above, cloud call center software comes packed with a variety of features and services. And you can use these to create a business phone system that works well for your teams. But the best part of these cloud-based features is that they are highly scalable. You can add, adjust, or remove features as and when you need. You can customize and re-customize your phone system to match your evolving needs.

6. Enhanced Productivity

Another significant benefit of using call center software is the array of tools and features designed to improve office productivity and efficiency. By routing calls efficiently, you can cut down on the time agents and employees would spend transferring calls to the right department. Similarly, an advanced IVR system can take care of repetitive and minor tasks or queries, freeing up your employees for more complex tasks. Additionally, you can also keep tabs on employees’ performance by tracking key call center KPIs through call detail records.

All of these efforts will help your teams become and remain more productive, even with remote and distributed teams.

Contact Center Management: Definition and Best Practices

what is cloud phone number

For contact center managers, the best way to evaluate how your center is doing is through contact center management best practices.

First, what is contact center management? Contact center management or call center management refers to the deliberate and strategy-focused management of a call center. This includes tracking valuable call center KPIs, implementing customer success strategies, investing in effective software, and more.

Call centers are often busy, fast-paced environments where high call volumes can lead to stress and negatively impact customer service. To combat these issues, contact center management focuses on ways to:

Here we look at 7 contact center management best practices every call center should consider implementing.

1. Be Customer-Centric and Customer-Focused

First and foremost, your contact center management strategy should be customer-centric. At the end of the day, good customer service leads to more sales and a reputable reputation. Therefore, whatever decisions and goals you make as a call center manager should influence how your agents interact with customers. This means:

  • Paying attention to customer needs and preferences
  • Making your business more accessible
  • Keeping employees happy so they can offer good service
  • Investing in effective call center software and tools such as IVR, call transfer, call queue, etc.

By doing so, your contact center can build a solid and professional reputation and retain loyal and valuable customers.

2. Train and Motivate Agents

To help your agents do their job well and meet your contact center’s standards, you will need to train them well. Even agents that come with experience need to be briefed on how things run in your contact center. Provide educational materials, interactive workshops, practical examples, recordings of calls, and more to demonstrate what behavior is desirable. You should also consider offering refresher courses every year to ensure goals are clear and understood.

Related: Tips for Running a Successful Virtual Call Center

3. Offer Multichannel Customer Service

In these times, if your contact center only offers one or two means of communication, then you are far behind in the game. An essential feature of contact center management is making your business accessible to customers with varying preferences. This means offering unified, multichannel customer service. There are a few different ways to go about offering multichannel support:

  1. Offer phone, email, text messaging, and live chat support channels.
  2. Consider automation such as cloud IVR or chatbots to provide quick solutions for common issues.
  3. Use virtual call center software to provide 24/7 customer service around the world. Some features include:
    • International call forwarding
    • Routing calls based on the time of day or location of the caller
    • Simultaneous ringing
    • Fax and SMS forwarding
    • Be active on social media, if it is applicable to your business type.

Expanding your customer service channels makes it easier for customers and clients to connect with your business and receive assistance quickly. This helps build faith in your call center as well as customer loyalty.

4. Track Call Center KPIs

Call center KPIs are another important facet of contact center management. Tracking and studying KPIs can help you identify which areas of your call center are working efficiently and align with your goals and which areas need more work. Top call center KPIs to track include:

  • Response time
  • Average time in queue
  • Average speed of answer
  • First call resolution rate
  • Average handle time
  • Average abandonment rate
  • Customer satisfaction scores (CSAT scores)
  • Agent absenteeism
  • Agent turnover (or attrition) rate

5. Invest in Workplace Optimization

Workplace or workforce optimization (WFO) software can help your employees get and remain on track. A fully integrated WFO software will ensure workplace productivity, satisfaction, and results. When in the market for workforce optimization software, consider these components: Workforce management (WFM) for staffing and scheduling.

Quality assurance management features such as call recording, call monitoring, and call analytics to track performance and train employees.

6. Take Advantage of the Cloud

A cloud contact center or virtual call center solution is the new and improved way to handle and manage your call center. Cloud contact center solutions and software enable call centers to:

  • Quickly scale or adapt to changes
  • Access features and tools to track call center performance
  • Enable remote working with ease
  • Improve customer service by enhancing agent productivity
  • Keeping important information safe and secure

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, most call centers have switched to the cloud to maintain their services and retain customers. Contact center management is a key area to focus on to ensure customers are firmly satisfied with your business’s service.

7. Invest in Reliable Call Center Software

Call center software is the core of successfully running a call center. The practicality and usefulness of the features and tools your software provides may determine how your agents perform and how customers respond. And so, ensure you have the right call center software within your contact center management plan. One that does not burn a hole in your pocket but offers the support your company needs.

Related: 7 Call Center Tips to Stay Competitive in 2021

How to Choose the Right Call Center Software?

Deciding on a provider for your call center software can be tricky, especially if you do not know where to start or what factors to consider. When choosing a call center software, you first need to determine your business communication needs.

software cloud-based

1. Determine Your Communication Needs

The first step is to identify what your business needs. Consider why you are upgrading your phone system in the first place. What tools and features are you looking to equip your users with? Some questions to consider here:

  • Do you need multiple phone numbers and lines for different countries and regions?
  • What features and communication tools can you use to improve productivity and efficiency?
  • Do you need a solution that is scalable so that it can grow as your business grows?

When you start researching and talking to providers, it helps to know what you need from them so that you don’t get sucked into a costly package with features and benefits you don’t even need.

2. Research Different Providers

Next, start researching providers. Use keywords like “cloud call center,” “cloud contact center,” or “cloud-based call/contact center.” You may even want to add “software” and “solution” at the end of the phrase. This will give you targeted search results for providers that offer cloud-based call center solutions.

Then, you can browse through their features and plans, get in touch with a representative to get quotes, and so on.

3. Review Costs and Features

Next, compare the different features and tools they offer and how much they charge for their service. Every provider uses a different pricing model—some per month, per user, or per line.

And they all offer their own set of features and tools. Therefore, it’s important to identify what your business needs from the software and compare what each provider offers to find the right one. Some things to consider here:

  • Do they offer a free trial?
  • Do you have to pay any additional fees: set-up or installation fees?
  • What is their cancellation or refund policy?
  • Is it a month-to-month contract or a long-term commitment?
  • Do they offer all the features you need to run your business effectively?
  • What is their coverage like? Do they provide services for your target countries and regions?
  • Is it easy to add or remove lines and numbers?
  • Does their software support remote work?
  • Do they offer an API to integrate within your existing system?
  • What security measures do they follow?
  • Is their customer service responsive? Do they offer multichannel or 24/7 service?

4. Look at Customer Reviews and Testimonials

Another good practice when choosing a service or provider is to look for customer testimonials. Look at customer reviews on Google, social media channels, and software reviewing agencies such as G2, GetApp, Software Advice, etc. Here you get a general idea of:

  • How customers are using and enjoying this provider’s service.
  • What complaints might they have, and how is the provider responding to these complaints.

Finally, choose a provider that meets your needs, budget, and expectations. Sign up for their software, design your communication system with their features and services, and start calling!

How Can United World Telecom Help?

As a virtual phone service provider, our top clients are call centers looking for virtual call center solutions. We offer cloud phone systems, multiple local and international phone numbers, cloud communications tools, and more. Call us to learn more today!

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