When you’re equipping your call centre with the right software there are many factors to consider, and as with any technical decision you should always start from the desired outcome, then work backwards through the feature set required to achieve that, long before trying to identify the tool (or stack of tools) which best fits. This avoids having your workflow dictated or influenced by the tool or the shiny new feature, and the tail wagging the dog.
While many open source call centre software suites are highly versatile and flexible, others are highly specific to individual situations, and as such might be all you need. The important thing is to understand your own requirements and priorities and go from there, while also allowing for potential growth and changes in the future — choosing tools which will permit you to follow your roadmap successfully and pivot where necessary.
Here are at least 15 examples of call centre software worth considering, depending on your requirements.
Call centre software for everyone
So for every call centre, there are call centre software applications which will meet your needs and beyond. Keeping your feature requirements under review along with the evolving shifts in a changing market, will ensure you are always using the best stack of tools to support your business objectives, however they may change over time. Keep this list handy so you know where to look for a suitable call centre software:
- Predictive Dialler
- Vanilla Soft
- Zendesk Talk
- Call Tracking Metrics
- Genesys Engage
- Bright Pattern
- Info Bip
Open-source call centre software
Do you enjoy building your software solutions in a completely bespoke way, and have the in-house resources to do that? In which case, you don’t need to settle for any ready-made set of features.
Tools like Bitrix24 enable your developers to create the perfect application, which can also integrate with other business management databases, to create a unified solution which is all your own. The beauty of a solution like this is that you can create the most meaningful data visualisations easily, such as relating your ad spend to your call centre staffing and its impact on your net profit. You can update these views at any time, and test new features in a completely flexible way.
Other open-source solutions like CallHippo are built for call centre use specifically, and enable you to build and focus on this specific area of business activity.Obviously the downside to ‘do it yourself’ is this also means ‘support it yourself’ — which means staying up to date on regulatory frameworks, security threats, infrastructure provisioning, and a million other things which could impact on your business telephony. The competitive costs of modern business VoIP telephony as a service means it’s well worth comparing carefully exactly what responsibilities a subscription could embrace, to ensure you’re creating real value with an in-house solution.
Call centre software for outbound call centres
Outbound call centres need to prioritise time spent on the call with prospects — and if you run this kind of operation, then your sales people are your greatest asset. You can’t afford to have them completing admin, dialling numbers, researching a caller’s background, or otherwise wasting time on unproductive non-money-making activities.
As such you will want predictive dialling software, like Adversus— which helps you make the most of each lead, and each second of the shift you’re paying for. Predictive Dialler by Call Tools is another effective and good value solution, for preloading your numbers and maximising impact of your outbound call centre.
Using software like this preloaded with your database means that your salesperson is instantly offered live connected calls only, from your highest quality leads, ensuring the highest conversion rates and minimal downtime. Sure, it might just be a few seconds wasted on each call, but adding those up over the shift, the month, the year… can help you see the value of using software which connects you first time, every time.
Call centre software for inbound call centres
If on the other hand your call centre does not make sales calls and is there specifically for inbound interactions, then a high proportion of your conversations are going to be with existing customers. To manage this it is essential that your call centre software knows who they are, so choosing a tool which integrates effectively with your customer relationship management (CRM) tool is a good start. For example, if you manage your customer records using Zendesk, you could overlay this with Zendesk Talk — which lets you quickly spin up a cloud-based voice channel for your customers to reach you on, and ensures you know who is calling you, if they’ve been in touch before.
New leads will come this way too, but you’ll be able to handle them appropriately, and everything will integrate with your IVR in order to make sure each inbound call is answered by the right person — whether that means connecting directly with the person they most recently spoke to, or whoever in the right team is free to pick up most quickly, wherever they are located.
VanillaSoft is another useful tool for streamlining high volume inbound leads, letting you automate workflows for greater lead efficiency,and helping your sales agents prioritise their efforts for maximum effectiveness.
Call centre text messaging software
We still talk about ‘call centres’ to this day, but in many cases the operation is increasingly multi-channel, and indeed there are particular consumer verticals which are far happier interacting with your brand via written communications than by making or receiving a call. This is by no means limited to the stereotypical idea of a shy millennial by the way — your text-first customer could easily be someone multitasking at work, needing to convey complex written information (like error codes) accurately by copy and paste, someone working in a second language, or perhaps sharing an embarrassing or awkward difficulty.
There are lots of tools which originated in the consumer space that might serve your needs here, such as WhatsApp and its related product WhatsApp for business (all of which is now essentially the same brand as Facebook Messenger — so you might want to review your business’ privacy policies before committing).
The one you choose will ultimately be driven by your customer’s preference, because the immediacy of the instant message means meeting them where they are at — in Europe that might be WhatsApp, but it could be WeChat in China, or Line in other Asian countries.
Twilio is a useful application designed to integrate messaging with your call centre, though you will need in-house developers to build out the API and develop bespoke messaging for your lead and support management.You may also be able to integrate with other ‘application to person’ customer service products for automated messaging, particularly in logistics — for example, to deliver notifications that a delivery is scheduled, or a sensor is malfunctioning in a remote location. As we increasingly move to distributed working and ecommerce, as well as touch-free working environments, such A2P services will become increasingly important to integrate with your contact centre software, even if most of the conversation with actual humans is still primarily voice-driven.
Software for the omnichannel contact centre
In today’s world of remote working and smartphone ownership, consumers' expectations are informed by what they’re used to on their personal devices — and in this world, communications are becoming ever more fluid. We might respond via private message to a friend’s social media post, then they call us back for a chat, and we send them a photo or a GIF in reply… and between ourselves and our friend, it all forms part of one continuous conversation.
When we interact with a brand therefore it’s frustrating, if we have a public moan about a brand on Twitter, and their Twitter team replies and has a helpful and responsive conversation… and then asks you to kindly email all the relevant info to their colleagues for further follow up. Why can’t we simply continue our ongoing dialogue — it’s the same brand, and we’re dealing with the same issue? Why is their social media separate from their product support in this way?
An increasing trend is now for call centres to transition into multi-channel contact centres, using software tools which integrate multiple modes and vectors of communication — meeting the customers where they are most comfortable, and enabling responses to be coordinated across these channels in a continuous flow of conversation. Exactly like when your friend flips over to a video call to show you the shoes she was telling you about on WhatsApp… Take a look at Bright Pattern, for an AI-driven solution which you can apply in your own contact centre.
Choosing your software will depend on the primary channels you want to support, because realistically omnichannel always means multichannel — no one provider can cover the entire market, and new apps emerge all the time. Something like InfoBip covers a lot, and frequently adds new channels to their offering, but you’ll need to examine the most popular forms of communication in the markets where your business is most active.You could also conduct market research with your customers, and ask them directly — how would they most prefer to communicate with you, if it was up to them?
Software for the data-driven Contact Centre
As we have discussed before, monitoring your call centre metrics is essential, to maximise impact and efficient use of all your resources, from human agents to number allocation. However, your contact centre is one unit within your entire business operation, and to take things to the next level you need to integrate your data and analytics into a single set of reports, which allow you to maintain a complete overview of your vital numbers - using a tool like Call Tracking Metrics, to provide customised visualisations which offer meaningful insight to different stakeholders within your enterprise.
For example, marketers need to know about the effectiveness of different campaigns, whereas accountants need to know about cost per lead or conversion… All the data is there, and your call centre is at the heart of it, but for predictive analytics it’s all about how you bring it together and present it.
Call centre software for international operations
If your call centre operates internationally, then even with VoIP, you will need to give consideration to tariffs and local numbering — because the picture globally is far from consistent. While conventions and technologies are gradually converging, they came out of very different histories in different continents, and the regulatory frameworks behind them vary greatly as well.As such you will want to consider your calling needs most carefully, for both inbound and outbound calling — as an example, calls to mobile numbers might be very expensive in some locations, and excluded from typical tariffs. In other places, it might be difficult to obtain local inbound numbers for your customers and prospects for your customers to use, without local business presence.
International voice specialists like Pure-IP can help you manage this complexity and consolidate your billing and fees across all these different providers and markets, especially if your growth has been faster than expected, or if for any reason you have collected different contracts and deals in a reactive way while you expanded or moved sideways into different territories. Particularly if you are wrapping up a mix of PSTN and VoIP lines, it would make sense to review this holistically and ensure you’re getting the best value for your global calling.A further issue to consider for international operations is translation and interpretation. It surely won’t be too long before we have AI driven real-time conversational localization tools supporting your customer service agents in the call centre, and already we have excellent transcription tools with natural language processing which can help a great deal. But presently, automatic language tools cannot address the nuances of personalised customer care — which is a good thing for the future of the call centre generally.
The best way to address local language issues is to provide front-line services using multilingual teams, who might not be your biggest sales converters or most deeply-experienced support experts, but who can provide that initial greeting in the customer’s language of choice, then arrange follow-up in an appropriate way. For this kind of service a specialist staffing agency like Your Agent might be better than any software.
Call centre software for fast-growing businesses
Before you go global, or even international, you might well start off in a more boot-strapped and entrepreneurial way, and where value for money will be essential. However, you don’t want that orientation toward value to come across to clients, when your intention is to provide 100% professional service from day one, and perhaps to expand to global proportions in the future.You need to consider a completely ‘as a service’ solution in this case, and one that is entirely cloud-based. Flexibility will be essential while you are starting out, enabling you to take calls on any device in any location, and be able to filter inbound callers through an IVR, even if there is only one of you answering (you need to know whether you are wearing your “new business” hat or your “accounts enquiries” hat before you respond, right?)
As you grow, you’ll need to be able to add not only new numbers - perhaps in different geographies - quickly and easily, you’ll also find new services become important. Things like CRM integration, or the ability to make and receive video calls with your customers. But what you don’t want, at your exciting point of expansion, is to have to reconsider your whole business cloud telephone system because the service you originally bought no longer suits your needs - its far more important to have something that will grow as you do, ensuring minimum friction and overhead, most importantly ensuring that you never have to change your contact phone number.
A business phone system like Ringover is designed for exactly this purpose, and will make sure you have the scope to scale in numbers, markets, or any other dimension - while remaining true to the values of agility and flexibility which attracted you to entrepreneurial life in the first place.
Take a look also at Dixa, especially if you want to dive in with an omnichannel approach from the start.
Call centre software for large multi-site enterprises
Nowadays every call centre is distributed anyway, but some are more distributed than others - and if you’re running a multi-location enterprise you need software to match, that will never be limited by capacity or bandwidth, and can offer cloud-based syncing with no latency no matter where your workers are located.
If this applies to you then your global procurement operation will need to address solutions which have localised presence for number management, as well as being able to support a wider than usual variety of endpoints to reflect local market conditions. Take a look at both Genesys and Vonage, to find what you need.