Business owners, when they start looking for a call center platform for their business, sometimes don’t understand that call center software is different and there are a few types of it which differ by many criteria – from setup fees and operational costs to capabilities and features. Purchasing a contact center solution is a great investment for any business, as it is the main part of your company regarding the customer service and management of customer-brand relations.
Nonetheless, defining the differences between different types of call center software is a difficult task, which we decided to deal with in this article. We will tell you about two main types of contact center solutions – an on-premise contact center and a cloud contact center.
So, what is the difference between cloud and on-premise contact center? What is better to choose for your business – on-premise vs cloud-based call center software?
Let us find it out together.
What is contact center software?
First of all, let’s deal with the main question – what is contact center software? Contact center Software is a Software tool that is used to automate and optimize your communications with the customers. Thus, contact center software is a kind of all in one environment for building customer communications from a single interface. How does it differ from call center software? First of all, call center software is about servicing phone calls only which means it cannot process customer requests from other channels, such as emails, social media or web chats. Contact center software is the most advanced software tool in the entire world regarding call centers, as it has some unique features which call center software does not provide.
What is on-premise contact center software?
On premise contact center software isn’t really a type of contacts under software about a type of infrastructure setup, where all the infrastructure is purchased, maintained and set up by a business owner, or in our case, by a person who purchases the contact center software. Therefore, you’re not only paying for the software itself but also for servers, hardware and other equipment, you need to run all the environments for the contact center. As you could guess, such an infrastructure model will cost much more at the setup stage than in the case of cloud contact center software, but we will discuss this aspect a bit later.
Moreover, such an infrastructure model also requires regular maintenance, at least because this is the main aspect of your business continuation. In this case, you will have to pay a salary to IT specialists who will maintain it and keep the system running properly, which also means higher operational costs at a longer distance.
The main argument in favor of on premise contact center software is the statement that it is more secure cloud contact center software. Nevertheless, it isn’t true at all – even if all the infrastructure and hardware is set up and maintained on your own, it doesn’t guarantee that you will never face any security issues, and surely the security issues will be your personal problem is you’re the one who is responsible for security – you own the hardware.
Cloud contact center software
On the other hand cloud, contact center software is a more advanced type of infrastructure location regarding contact center setup. Cloud technology is the main technology used in cloud contact center software, which means data, and all operations performed inside the system are not processed on physical hardware, and all the functioning of the cloud contact center is based on cloud technologies where all of the data is located in the cloud. Cloud environment is owned and maintained by the service provider, so its proper functioning is the responsibility of the vendor. This is also why an argument about the security isn’t true – the service provider has its reputation put under the risk if there is any issue with the security, so service providers often invest more and more in security systems, and this is white cloud contact center software is often even more secure than on premise contact center software, where the quality of security depends on the quality of setup and maintenance.
Cloud contact center Software also provides faster functioning of the system and all operations, as well as its main advantage is its pricing policy. In this case, you don’t pay for any hardware as well as you don’t need any – the system is ready to run properly after simple set up on your PC or laptop, so you just install your cloud contact center and you’re all set. This is also why cloud contact center software is always sold based on the subscription payment model, which means if you pay monthly or annually for the needed amount of accounts and features you get. Moreover, the scale up process is also easier in the case of cloud contact center solution, at least, because all the required scale up operations will be done by your service provider, and you will just pay for more accounts and features you choose.
Finally, let’s assume that the annual price of ownership for on premise contact center solution and cloud contact center solution is almost the same – but the price you pay on the setup stage is very different, and the price of setup for on-premise contact center is much higher than it is for cloud contact center.
Main features of contact center software
Call routing – is a feature which allows you to automatically forward calls to the most appropriate call center agent. Call forwarding (synonym to call routing) works in accordance with pre-set rules, such as agent idle time, agent workload, IVR menu selections, customer status (VIP client, etc.) and many other criteria.
Call transferring – call transferring means that any agent who is in call can transfer this call to another agent or call center manager if needed. This feature helps to deal with difficult customers or to resolve mistakes where a customer was routed to the wrong agent.
Call holding – this feature allows agents to put customers on hold during the call to find needed information or proper answer to the customer request.
Call queuing – this function automatically puts all calls in the call queue. This is needed to manage inbound call volume and provide accurate call routing. Customers can also order a callback to avoid waiting in the queue.
Outbound calling – cloud contact center as well as on premise contact center can perform outbound calls automatically to enhance the performance of the telemarketing campaigns. The system can call prospective customers three times faster than agents do it manually.
Call monitoring – you can listen to live calls in three different modes, depending on your current requirements. You can either be invisible for both agent and customer, or give agent advice, or become a third party of a conversation.
Call recording – all calls processed by the contact center software – no matter whether it is on premise contact center or cloud contact center solution – are automatically recorded and stored, so you can listen to them later for any purpose.
Call scripts – dynamic call scripting is the feature that allows you to construct scripts exactly in the interface of the cloud contact center and provides those scripts to your agents to help them provide better quality of customer service or get more sales during telemarketing.
Workforce management – you can manage agent schedules, check agent statuses, set up tasks and priorities for your employees in the interface of the contact center software. Also, you can see agent statuses in real-time mode to deal with call avoidance and other issues with discipline.
Third-party Software integrations – you can integrate your cloud contact center with other software tools, such as customer relationship management systems (CRM), helpdesk software, payment systems, workforce optimization tools, and any other software if it has an open API. In the case of cloud contact center, all the integrations will be set up by your service provider for an additional fee, and in the case of an on-premise contact center, you’ll have to do it on your own, and this is a very difficult and effortful process.
Multichannel communication – cloud contact center software, as well as on premise contact center solutions, can handle customer communications through diverse channels, including social media, messengers, web chats, chatbots, emails, video calls, and so on.
Self-service tools – a cloud contact center can integrate numerous self-service tools such as chatbots, IVR (Interactive voice response), knowledge bases, FAQs, customer communities, and so on.
As you can see the main difference between on premise contact center and cloud contact center is the infrastructure location issue. In the case of on premise contact center software, you have to buy and set up all the hardware, including such costly components as servers, on your own and keep an eagle eye on this maintenance to make sure that it will function properly, or you will have to deal with a breakdown on your own otherwise, which isn’t a cheap pleasure.
Cloud contact center Software on the other hand, is much cheaper in the case of setup, and it doesn’t require any hardware at all. You just have to purchase the subscription based on your requirements and the number of your employees, and get it all set within 24 hours. Also, the scalability of such close contact center solution is much better – you just have to ask your service provider to add some features or accounts for your new employees. There are also no security issues – the service provider is responsible for the security, so in case of any breakdown or downtime, you don’t have to worry – all the issues will be resolved by your service provider.
So yes,as we can see from market research and latest trends, cloud contact center solutions are conquering the market and it is highly likely that there will be no place for on premise contact center solutions in the nearest decade. Thus, the best option is to look for cloud contact center software that’ll help you drive your business forward.