Hidden Costs of Open-source Call Center Software

The popularity of open-source software logically must increase because for business it is cheap or even zero cost. The attractiveness of the idea is fueled by options to use a wide range of features of real call center software. Now, what’s the trick? Why should you pay nothing or less in comparison with well-known vendors? If open-source software could do something for you for free?

 

Source: The Statista Research Department: Year-over-year (YoY) increase in open source software (OSS) supply chain attacks worldwide in 2020 and 2021

 

In these jittery times, all small and mid-sized businesses seek to reduce their expenses on all levels. From fee to employees, through technologies, till cheap or free solutions. There is nothing wrong with it because reducing your costs means increasing your profits. 

That’s also true that your company must save more money and earn more in any way imaginable. The necessity of a constant cash flow during the high competition or restrictions is tremendous.

SMBs are interested in open-source software as a cheap or even free tool for initiating outbound and inbound calls. And many owners of small and mid-sized businesses are interested in the real impact on their businesses if they use or start to use open-source software. 

Now without further ado, let’s examine all implications of open-source software.

What is exactly the open-source software or open-source call center suite?

Open-source call center software (OSS) and free-open-source software (FOSS) are two types of call center software for outbound, inbound calls, emails, and web chats. They imitate the call center software features from proven vendors. 

The reason why it may be attractive is that developers present a low price or are completely free. But is something cheap or free could be useful? Let’s find out.

The popularity of free call center software

Source: The Statista Research Department: Open source software vulnerabilities worldwide from 2009 to 2020

The popularity of open-source software logically must increase because for business it is cheap or even zero cost. The attractiveness of the idea is fueled by options to use a wide range of features of real call center software. 

Now, what’s the trick? Why should you pay nothing or less in comparison with well-known vendors? If open-source software could do something for you for free?

 Slow down a little bit and think about the following. For instance, experts suggest never to use anything regarding your business including software, technology, usage, sharing, etc. without a deep and proper examination at first. Especially when you hear that you achieve something valuable by spending not a single dollar. 

 Now, let’s be more specific, and emphasize our research to see what open-source is.

Pros and cons of Vicidial call center software 

One of the well-known open-source software is the Vicidial contact center solution. The Vicidial can have:

  •  Automatic call distribution (ACD) system, requires deep configuration by the support team for payment;
  • Outbound and inbound calls, billable configuration;
  • Predictive dialing;
  • Scheduling of calls in case of proper customization;
    Callbacks, yet not automatically;
  • Scaling the number of seats, the more people the more trouble with the software.
  • The capacity to call ID. There were reports about bad and lousy ID experiences.

Yet, all these features are working properly in case you pay for them. That’s right, you need to pay the price for developers, technical support, installation, and more. Please read further. 

The cons that users reported about Vicidial on forums and Capterra are:

  • The outdated interface may intimidate eyes and user experience;
  • Users need more guides about usage or complete help of the support team;
  • Vulnerability of calls and data, no proven data centers and security protocols are used;
  • Difficult to install. Proper installation requires an experienced open software developer assistant. The same with updates;
  • Maintenance. Require support team and constant work of developers;
  • Malfunction. Causes a long waiting time for restoring the work;
  • Poor reporting features. To find a certain report, you need to go through a clutter of reports;
  • Unstable in times of high calling volume or software error. You are blocked to 25+ seats in a call center. Or you need to pay an additional fee for restoring your work. That means hundreds or even thousands of dollars;
  • Incapacity for tracking. It’s impossible to identify or highlight each call within the call center to understand the performance of agents;
  • Scalability is possible, yet increasing agents seats requires additional development and updating of the software;
  • The software lacks basic manuals, technical information, and usage capabilities;
  • Tech support rarely helps you fast; 

One of the answers from Vicidial company on complaints on Capterra:

By Vicidial Group on June 12, 2021:

 “If a VICIdial system is set up and managed properly,

it can be extremely reliable. Unfortunately, many companies who set up VICIdial on their own, do not set it up or manage it properly, so their agents have the experience you have mentioned”.

Pros and cons of Asterisk software 

Asterisk is another type of open-source software. Take a look at the comparison of open-source software Asterisk and Voiptime Cloud. Then, think about cloud call center costs, depending on their features.

Functions

Asterisk

Notes

Voiptime Cloud

Notes

Fault-tolerant implementation scheme

Partially 

With the system interruption

Supported

Without interruption

Unified management interface

Not supported

Disparate management interfaces, command-line interface

Supported

Single web interface for managing all tools and settings

Limiting the number of system users

No limitation

 

Yes

Determined by licensing policies

Built-in CRM, customer card

Not supported

 

Yes

Customizable client card, field output parameters

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system

Supported

Difficult to build, no user interface, limited capabilities

Supported

Any complexity, with queries to external services, HTTPS, SQL, etc.), from the manager interface

Scripts

Not supported

 

Supported

Conversation scripts of any complexity, queries to external services (HTTPS, SQL, etc.), from the manager interface, and Iframe

Knowledge Base

Not supported

 

Supported

The knowledge base in HTML format, external data import, branched structure, as the call script element

detailed call statistics

Partially

Difficulty in constructing statistics. Additional modules, no unified management of statistic output

Supported

Statistics on directions, operators, groups, campaigns, results of conversations, etc.

Call recording

Supported

 

Supported

Single interface for searching conversations, according to various parameters

Listening, prompting, interception of the operator's call - by a supervisor

Partially

 

Supported

 

Routing of calls according to specified parameters

Supported

 

Supported

Automatic retrieval of outgoing phone numbers from an available list

Queue management

Partially

 

Supported

Flexible queue management, additional features. The single queue for all types of communications

Dialers

Partially

Preview, Progressive

Supported

(Preview, Progressive, Predictive, Advanced Predictive). Various settings for the dialing methods. Processing of call results, setting up rules for callback

Processing email messages - incoming and outgoing

Not supported

Not direct implementation is possible, with the help of additional modules

Supported

Unlimited number of accounts

Web chats and internal chats

Partially

Additional modules, SIMPLE protocols, jabber

Supported

Built-in API interface

SMS

Partially

Limited implementation with additional modules is possible

Supported

Parameterized SMS, SMS campaigns, SMS callback

CRM integration support

Partially

Needs improvement with programming

Supported

Two-way integration, API

Quality cards

Not supported

 

Supported

Customizable quality assessment templates

Scheduling of operators' working hours

Not supported

 

Supported

Workforce module

Automation of daily routine operations

Not supported

With the help of the operating system tools

Supported

Workflow module

Requirement for the operating system for the IP PBX server

Linux

 

Linux

The solution is deployed from a single distribution center along with the OS. Different installation options

Specific requirements for the OS at the operator's workplace

No

 

No

 

Software Updates

Supported

Not identified

Supported

Automatic updates or manual, if necessary

Table: Comparison of features between Asterisk and Voiptime Cloud

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The big picture proves expectations that open-source software is imitating features of call center vendors. And after long, costly updating and adjusting can implement the basic calling functions. You have the capacity to call, route, autodial, etc. Yet when experts dig into security issues they were a little bit discouraged. And here’s why.

Why do SMB owners need to know all about open-source software in advance?  

Source: The Statista Research Department: Malware volume increasing

The owners of SMBs are intelligent people, they have real courage to start their business from the scratch, and they are the knowers of things. They always dig for the information they can’t achieve, and even with the cost of time, they usually succeed in all their endeavors. 

 First of all, every business owner must know the rule that if anything is cheap or free, there’s a reason for it. And here is what it is. 

Open-source software has advantages, and they are commonplace. But why is it so cheap or completely free in comparison with software vendors? What is the open-source and total cost of ownership?

Instead of direct payment, developers and technical support teams offer billable services regarding hosting, working, maintaining, updating, managing, etc. But that’s just an indirect payment that every kind of open-source software has. For instance:

  • Insufficient amount of information about key features and settings. The lack of guidance. for open source software doesn’t seem like a problem for owners of the business at first look. It’s true that if necessary, an employee can dig for information about certain features and how to use them. They’ll waste valuable time they can use for work.
  • Troubleshooting resolutions are frequent and take a long time. Is there the capacity to solve them deliberately without any expert help whatsoever? In this case, if you have no support, you might lose a few hours of the day for the resolution. And it actually happens every day.
  • A high time on a system administration; While you need to start to work right away, you dig into settings to make everything work. As the manager of a call center, you strive to do it as much as possible. Yet without proper knowledge of software development, it’s hard to do.
  • Increasing the price of quality assurance; To make everything work properly, you need to hire an open-software developer or pay an open-source vendor for additional support to ensure everything works properly.
  • Low productivity due to downtimes; While trouble occurs, you waste your money. Every minute costs you a certain amount of cash. And if it happens frequently, agents are also discouraged. Don’t forget about the salary you need to pay to agents, no matter how good or bad your software works.
  • Increased expenses on education for staff; While you waste your time and money to teach your agents to use the software, costs of your additional expenses on education are increasing. This rather indirect payment.
  • Creeping operational costs; Maintenance of open-source software is not free. It’s charged according to the time, and you never know the full price you need to pay for stable work.
  • Unexpected expenses in the working conditions when the problem occurs; When a problem occurs unexpectedly, this is not just unpleasant, yet money-consuming. It includes processes such as: contacting the support team, waiting for contact, describing the problem, waiting for an answer, etc.
  • Lack of technical roadmap; It’s one of the basics that every type of software must have. Without a roadmap, you can’t predict the impact of the software on your business. Yet, almost all authoritative software vendors have a roadmap. 
  • No timely updates, security patches, and additional updates could create a fragile software environment. It’s both an odd or weird feature of software when you can either completely disrupt work by timely updates to fix it. 
  • The quality of open source software support varies. Depending on the stars, technical support could help you or not within a certain period. It’s also very dangerous for any small and mid-sized business. 
  • Snowball effect of problems that prevent constant work of the software.The snowball effect. But what if these troubles come one after another? Since this is the real world, the weak features of hardware or software always show up at the most uncomfortable moment.

And we all know that time is money and it’s a luxury to waste a time when you need to earn money. A large number of agents are just waiting for a call or contact with customers, yet they can't because of software outages.

Why should SMBs never use open-source software for call centers?

Statistic: Annual number of malware attacks in selected countries in 2018 (in millions) | Statista

Source: Statista Research Department: Attacks by malware distributed by countries

There are also additional reasons why a small and mid-sized business should never, ever use open-source software. The issue is so serious and valuable that it can either save or destroy business and financial independence.

Security issues

You might use cheap or free software and earn a bundle of money, and that's luck, you might think. But what about security issues, downloading, usage of DNC numbers in the open-source software. Actually, here's the most interesting part of the story you will want to know before using any kind of open-source software. Below you see the most dangerous links on Vicidial.com.

Now visit these links only before a real consideration and never put your sensitive, personal or financial on insecure sites.

Notification about the usage of unproven programs from Apple

The main problem with these links is that the site uses insecure protocols for operating with a visitor. It uses HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) protocol instead of HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). Well, you might think that it’s not a big deal. Yet experts know that HTTP protocol carries great dangers for businesses worldwide. Especially it concerns any kind of confidential data and downloads of any kind. Websites without HTTPS protocols could be dangerous. Visit these websites with caution and never place your sensitive or financial data there.

Now think about it, if the website vendor decided not to use safe links on the website, would they consider making your work safe when you use all of your data?

And as a matter of fact, it’s a potential danger for your business. Why should you take such a high risk? And to fix it, you just need to purchase or update the domain. It's really very cheap. Here, Vicidial.com puts users in danger, and that's not what a proven software vendor does.

On the other hand, are software vendors a greedy group of people that want to make a buck every time they give their services? 

How to achieve the real price of an open-source and call center software vendor in advance?

Like any other product, the software requires dedication and hard work. The call center software is one of the most challenging software niches for developers. Someone got to pay developers to ensure timely production and updating. 

The open-source software is incapable of delivering fully-fledged security protection. Because every technology or software improvement towards security – takes money. For instance, data centers that protect proven vendors of call center software charge a bundle of money for their services. 

Software vendors charge a small amount of money to cover expenses on security, encryption, and protection. That’s why the price of vendors is higher than in open-source call centers. Rarely business owners will put their cyber security on the line to bargain with the price, yet sometimes it happens though.

The other reason why the price of software vendors is higher – staff constantly work on maintaining, fixing, and guiding customers. The main goal is to ensure 24/7 stability of work no matter what kind of calling volume, technical, or software problem customers meet. 

Take a look, what Forbes thinks about open-source software. To conclude our research, let’s listen to Harvard Business School’s opinion

Voiptime Cloud cooperates only with the most secure data centers and VoIP providers.

Source: The Statista Research Department: Which of the following, if any, do you require your suppliers to have or adhere to

 

 

Conclusion

First of all, let us clarify that open-source software mustn’t look negative or bad, just because of low price or bargain. The Voiptime Cloud team believes that every kind of software is the art of developing, managing, and fixing. 

What everyone should do is to understand the outcomes of actions in business in using different types of software for call centers. And using software just like any other technology is one of the crucial decisions.

Owners of SMBs should understand that free is a very sensitive word in the world of business. It rarely gives you real value, and nobody demands something great for free. 

You have to pay your bills to achieve electricity, water, internet or whatever. You live in a clean city because someone did their job to clean the trash from the streets. You purchase goods and services for money. Notice that you never heard about free services, which improve your life and financial independence.

The same with the software – it’s the product that brings a decent value to businesses, and it must be: safe, efficient, and profitable. It’s all you need for your business. 

Bonus

Actually, we haven’t yet mentioned something that can instantly skyrocket your sales today. And here is what it is. Outbound call center software from Voiptime Cloud is not only for our successful partners such as Idea Bank, Dunapack Packaging, Before Hello, Thebigword Group, and others. These are the successful companies and our partners. You can see the partial list of reviews here.

If it could work on the businesses that operated in a highly competitive market with high calling volumes, don’t you think it could help you too? Would you like to try this remarkable software? Would you like to achieve the highest quality of sound, management tools, and performance to call as well as you want?

If so, here’s how you can use this software without any risk at all. Just proceed to the block below and fill the order form. Then, we will contact you in 24 hours and discuss the details. Afterward, you will start your call center within 48 hours. 

Remember! You can’t lose with Voiptime Cloud, and you’ll be armed with advanced outbound calling technologies and knowledge to use it.

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