Updated May 2020.
Setting up a call center is not always straightforward.
There is a vast selection of call center reporting software, including hosted or cloud call center solutions and premises-based solutions, and you will need to do a little research to determine the best solution for your needs.
The different types of systems each have certain advantages and disadvantages. Each caters to different sizes of organization and call center needs.
Before we get to the crucial questions, we need to talk a bit about the differences between cloud call center solutions or other types of hosted solutions and premises-based solutions.
Types of call center reporting systems
A premises-based solution is, as the name suggests, is one that is based on-site in your call center’s location. In other words, your PBX or VoIP system’s physical server and all of the hardware associated with the telephone system will be situated on-site.
The customer can maintain equipment, but this requires internal IT staff.
Sometimes the equipment maintenance is covered through a contract with the provider.
Premises-based systems require an initial outlay of capital, as the company must purchase the equipment at the starting phase of implementation.
Your company will own all of the hardware and have immediate access to the hardware. As you can imagine, this involves a significant outlay of capital at the initial stage of implementation.
You may also be taking on monthly fees associated with network infrastructure and ongoing hardware maintenance.
Alternatively, you may be required to hire additional staff to tend to the maintenance of the in-house system.
According to Genesy’s definition, a hosted call center reporting system is a call center reporting “solution in which an organization’s central point of inbound and outbound communications is hosted on a service provider’s back-office systems.”
When it comes to call center reporting systems, there is often some confusion around the terms “hosted” and “cloud-based.”
People often use the words interchangeably without any clear distinction between them.
Often, when vendors claim to offer “cloud” services, they are, in fact, hosted versions of a legacy on-premises solution.
Hosted and true cloud services are two very different things.
Cloud-based call center reporting software is a type of hosted call center reporting system that stores your data in a secure network of servers that can find what you need and deliver it to you or your team wherever you are.
Cloud call center reporting software solutions are those that include a comprehensive suite of tools, applications, and cloud-hosted services for contact centers.
The cloud-based technology can accommodate the needs of large organizations that require multiple communications channels (including phone calls and messaging), sophisticated call routing, agent management, and analytics.
A Cloud Contact Center reporting system can help large organizations meet the challenges of communicating with their customers or clients.
In short, hosted PBX, or Hosted VoIP (Voice over IP) – also referred to as cloud systems – embody the latest phase in phone system technology.
With a hosted or cloud system, the customer does not own or house the physical server in their office – instead, the phone server resides in a service provider’s data center.
Since the system itself is offsite, hosted solutions use web-based access to configure, manage, and maintain the system.
What is the “cloud”? The technology industry uses many buzzwords.
Some examples of this include terms or phrases like the Internet of Things, Big Data, and 5G.
The problem is that these sometimes nebulous or arbitrary terms don’t make it clear what they mean to consumers from individual users to corporations; the meanings of these buzzwords are not always precise.
“The cloud” is one of those terms.
The cloud refers to software and services that run on the Internet, instead of locally on your computer.
Your team can access most cloud services by using a Web browser like Firefox or Google Chrome, and some companies offer dedicated mobile apps.
There are many business applications for cloud computing, but here we are only interested in call center reporting applications.
The advantage of the cloud is that you can access your information on any device with an Internet connection.
Before you choose a call center solution, you will need to consider several factors that will impact which choice will be best for your organization.
There are quantitative considerations, like the number of calls you expect to handle, the size of your team, and your budget.
There are other considerations, too. Continue reading to learn more about the ten essential questions to ask before you invest in call center reporting solutions.
10 Key Questions
1. Compatibility: How well will the system integrate with your existing tools?
If your business is well-established and already has a customer relationship management or sales system in place, then it is essential to choose a call center reporting system that is compatible with your existing infrastructure.
Why spend a significant amount of capital on a system that will not easily offer improvements in productivity and customer satisfaction?
You also want to ensure that the system and the staff have the experience and expertise to meet your company’s needs.
2. Security: How secure is the service?
Security is an important consideration.
Does the system have mechanisms in place to establish the security, confidentiality, and integrity of their customers’ data?
You need to look at things like data isolation, data backup, and the security of the servers.
Is data isolated and stored on dedicated tables?
How frequently are backups run, and where are the backup data stored?
What security measures on in place at the data centers?
3. Scalability: Can the service scale in tandem with fluctuations in demand?
Contact center demands fluctuate.
You need a system that will be flexible enough to provide the capacity you need and are using according to the ebbs and flows of your customers.
Why pay for maximum volume all of the time?
Especially for small to medium-sized call centers, a system that can switch from higher to lower call volumes as needed makes good business sense.
Cloud systems are suitable for this because they provide a large and robust infrastructure and typically offer on-demand provisioning.
4. Usability: Does the system provide useful reporting capabilities?
Is the reporting system robust and accessible?
Look for the capability to generate reports from multiple data sources (ex.: telephone, sales, WFM, quality, and so on), for multiple locations, for multiple business units in one place.
Will your team be able to access amalgamated and roll-up summaries at every level of the organization.
Many companies unwillingly end up spending more time collecting data, compiling and distributing reports than they spend in quality analysis.
Delays in decision-making weaken a company’s market position.
So can making bad decisions.
Look for a call center reporting system that generates reports that lead to useful and timely decision making.
There is rarely a shortage of raw data, yet leaders continue to run short on business insight.
The challenge is not a lack of data per se; it is the transformation of data into insight that is absent.
Lack of insight limits opportunities and success.
Without new information, your capacity to find new solutions is severely handicapped.
Will your team be able to access reports in real-time? When reports are obsolete, decision-making is compromised.
The cost of revamping, refitting and reformatting reports to accommodate changes is rapidly mounting.
5. Capability: Is the system capable of tracking all of the channels through which you communicate with your customers?
With the growing popularity of social media, companies are offering their customers and clients options for customer care communication.
In addition to telephony, most contact centers also offer live chat, email, and message boards, to name a few.
Look for a system that offers “Multi-Channel Support.”
Multi-Channel support simply means that the system is capable of handling the various channels that your company may be using to communicate with your customers, either now or in the future.
6. Affordability and transparency: Check the pricing structure so that you know up-front what the system will cost.
As already mentioned, premises-based solutions often require an initial outlay of capital and ongoing maintenance costs.
In addition, there are the costs associated with an on-site IT team. By contrast, a self-serve user interface eliminates the need for in-house IT staff, or frees up their time for other tasks.
And a hosted or cloud-based solution eliminates the substantial up-front cost and investment risk.
7. Functionality: Are your team leaders and agents able to use the call center reporting software?
The system you select must be one that your agents and team leaders are able to use comfortably.
To best serve your end customers, you need a system that your employees can use.
The goal is to empower your team and enhance your customers’ satisfaction with their contact center communications.
For this to happen, contact center managers and supervisors need to be able to access reports as they need them.
So you want to be sure that this will be the case.
It is a good idea to ask your personnel for input.
8. Efficiency: Does the call center reporting software support blended agents?
In the context of a contact center, a blended agent, manages both incoming and outgoing calls and applications as needed.
Need is determined by contact center traffic levels.
The strategy of using blended agents is increasingly common as it contributes to the overall efficiency of your business.
You need to ask whether the system you are considering will allow your agents to move between answering incoming communications and dialling outgoing calls with minimal effort.
9. Accessibility: Can agents access the system from home?
More and more companies are relying on remote workers, and this trend is likely to continue.
You need to ask whether or not it is easy to add additional staff to the system as needed.
Will you be easily able to direct calls to an external number or numbers?
Will the reporting software be capable of monitoring this usage?
10. Testability: Can you run a demonstration before you go live?
Another critical consideration is whether or not you are able to run a demonstration of the call center reporting software before you invest any money or sign any contracts.
In most cases, you should be able to try the software on a separate network.
It is a good idea to have the agents and team leaders who will be working with the system on the ground involved in the trial run as they are well-situated and knowledgeable about the day-to-day flows and demands of their workplace.
In brief, there are ten vital factors to consider when you are selecting a new call center reporting software system or upgrading your existing system.
The crucial considerations relate to how much you are willing to spend, what you estimate your current and future needs to be, the reliability of service, the ease of use for your agents and management teams, and the overall improvement to your customers’ experience.
And, of course, you need to think about your budgetary needs and return on investment.
For many call centers, cloud-based solutions fit the bill.
Cloud-based models have a multitenant architecture with an intentional design that will maximize the secure and efficient delivery of web-based applications.
They feature interconnectivity capacities as part of the design.
Cloud-based consumer experience systems are quick to install and set up.
Additionally, your company will benefit from lower operating costs because you are using a secure and shared service.
You also benefit from the ability to increase or decrease capacity according to fluctuations in demand.
To recap, some of the main benefits of a hosted or cloud solution are:
- Cost-effective and up to date VoIP functionality
- Little to no need for in-house IT involvement in installing and maintaining the system
- Hosted and cloud-based systems feature scalability making them suitable for both small and large businesses
At the end of the day, you want to find a telecommunication partner that offers secure, reliable and affordable services.
You want a company that has the experience, capability, and expertise that you need. And you want a solution that your team can use with ease.
Finally, you want a solution that can adapt as your company’s needs change over both the short and long-term.
For more information about The Reporting Engine, Contact Us Now.