Hosted call center software is a delivery model that differs from on-premise software and shares some characteristics with cloud-based software. Here’s a look at hosted call center software, its advantages, and best practices for choosing the right delivery model for your call center.
A Definition of Hosted Call Center Software
When software is hosted, it is installed and hosted on a remote server, off-site, in a different location than your business. Hosted software also is managed by the manufacturer or a third-party vendor, and users access it from anywhere within the company at any time, as long as they have an internet connection. Hosted software also is referred to as software as a service (SaaS) or cloud software, if the servers are virtualized.
Call center software is essential to businesses looking for a solution for communicating with customers. Top call center solutions give users the ability to communicate across a variety of channels including phone, email, live chat, instant message, SMS text, and social media. Call center software also may include auto dialer, call center monitors, call accounting solutions, call analytics, predictive dialer, computer telephony integration, interactive voice response, automatic call distributor, and speech analytics.
Users access hosted call center software through a network connection. Typically, call centers opting for hosted software put their entire call center infrastructure in the cloud. However, some opt for a hybrid approach that leaves some infrastructure on the premises and some off-site.
Advantages of Hosted Call Center Software
Hosted call center software is more affordable than on-premise solutions. Hosted solutions are maintained by a service provider, so the call center is not responsible for implementing the software or maintaining it. Data centers hosting call center software usually are very secure and often offer multi-site redundancy for extra assurance against downtime or other issues.
Call centers prefer hosted software because you own it with an indefinite license. You pay once for it, and then you pay monthly maintenance fees for it. If you should stop paying for maintenance, the software continues to work at whatever version you used when you stopped paying. While hosted call center software does require a large upfront investment, many companies opt for it because they believe the initial investment is worthwhile since the provider is responsible for ensuring that the hosted software is managed, upgraded, and patched so that users always have access to updated and bug-free versions of their call center software.
Because the vendor is responsible for installing the system, implementing, and maintaining it, hosted call center software gets up and running with a full-featured implementation more quickly than on-premise solutions do. And, hosted call center software offers the benefit of seamless scalability, meaning your service level can be easily adjusted up or down based on current business demand.
Because hosted call center software is housed off-site, your company spends less for ongoing IT maintenance and support costs. Similarly, you require less in-house contact center technical expertise when you opt for a hosted call center software solution. You also make your monthly maintenance payments out of your operating budget instead of your capital budget, which is where you pull the money from when you purchase or upgrade on-premise call center software solutions.
Is Hosted Call Center Software Right for You?
Choosing the right hosted call center software is vital for efficient operations. Usability is key, of course, but you’ll also want to consider ease of setup and integration. Ideally, hosted call center software will integrate seamlessly with the other business software systems and solutions you’re already utilizing. For instance, many call centers integrate call center software solutions with their existing customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. Ensuring compatibility with existing solutions is one of the first steps to take when evaluating and comparing vendors.
In some cases, on-premise call center software is a better choice for an organization. If a company prefers to make an upfront investment rather than ongoing payments, for instance, on-premise solutions may be better-suited. Likewise, call centers requiring a high level of customization may prefer on-premise solutions. Those that do, however, should be sure that they have the appropriate IT resources to manage and maintain an on-premise solution.
On the other hand, organizations that need to manage operational costs may opt for a hosted call center solution to eliminate the need to maintain physical data centers and reduce demands on in-house IT resources. Likewise, rapidly growing companies or call centers that deal with fluctuating demand often opt for hosted call center solutions that can scale seamlessly to accommodate these needs.
Hosted call center software works similarly to cloud-based call center software, with the primary difference being that hosted call center software does not utilize the multi-tenant model common in cloud-based solutions. There are some specific advantages to hosted call-center software, but call centers should carefully evaluate regulatory guidelines, budget, and other requirements to determine the model that best meets their needs.
Do you think hosted call center software is right for you?