Hosted Call Center: a Complete Guide

Customer service is a fast-changing industry that needs to cover rising customer expectations. From year to year, industry updates, and people expect more and more from enterprises to assist them and solve their issues. These occurrences have led to a situation where all enterprises require a solution to fulfill all clients’ wishes, improve the quality of service, and boost client retention and happiness. 

And such a resolution exists, and its title is the hosted contact center. It is a really modern contact center and it bears every feature which clients want to use: an omnichannel approach, self-servicing tools, and options to speed up the service providing.

But what are the dissimilarities betwixt the classic telephony call center and hosted call center? What are the main advantages and disadvantages of hosted call center solutions? Why ought you to select call center hosting, not any other option? What to take into consideration before purchasing a cloud hosting call center software

Keep reading and we will answer your questions.

Hosted call center and on-premise call center: where lies the dissimilarity

To initiate our tale, let’s deal with definitions. The on-premise call center is a call center that is based on your infrastructure, including hardware, servers, etc., that has to be purchased, set up, and maintained for your money. On the contrary, the hosted contact center is a vendor-hosted service that covers numerous contact lines and stores data in special storage. Additionally, let’s keep in mind that hosted contact center and cloud contact center are synonyms. Thus, now you comprehend why it is dubbed a “hosted” one - all info is encountered on the service provider’s servers, or on the servers paid and utilized by the merchandiser. 

The major distinction betwixt hosted contact centers and their ancestors - traditional telephony call centers - lies in the fact that calls ceased to be the primary contact pipeline for numerous enterprises. Many companies operate calls as the last line of defense, and only to resolve matters that can’t be solved by clients on their own. Researchers state that people want more self-service opportunities, and fewer operators and calls while getting customer service, and it would have been foolish to not give them these opportunities.

Calls have nothing familiar with self-service, and they are uncomfortable and effortful for some buyers. Add here call queues, waiting times, potentially inexperienced agents, and other popular issues, and you will find out that calls aren’t manna from heaven. Especially if taking into account customer wishes.

In accordance with the statements above, companies started to provide more communication channels, such as email or messengers. By the way, this would have been impossible without a specified software solution - and this solution is the hosted call center. 

Another edge of this solution is its ability to perform calls avoiding the classic, but outdated and laborious telephone landlines. Hosted call center works via VoIP technology, so calls rely on the Internet connection, not on something else. This offers greater flexibility and numerous benefits. 

Hosted call center benefits 

We have mentioned a few hosted contact center advantages in passing, but now it is time to discuss them in detail.

Digitalization

You don’t ought to rent an office, buy dozens of headphones and other instruments to push the call center to work. A hosted solution offers a total digitalization and automation of many processes, as well as it doesn’t depend on locations and landlines. If you want to switch your staff to the remote mode or relocate to another area, it can be done without any effort and spending, as hosted call center works on any device with an Internet connection. 

Third-party software integration

It takes much time and effort to gather all necessary information from various sources and tools, and as the research states, agents spend almost a month per year swapping between distinct software tools. Think of it - without software integrations, your workers get another monthly vacation when they do nothing vital. Hosted call centers solve this problem by their ability to gather data from other tools.

It works ideally with CRM systems - you can import customer data from CRM directly into your contact center interface and work with it without time losses. This option is also available for other software instruments which are used by call center managers. 

Self-service options

IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is a strong solution, that has become irreplaceable for almost all call centers. This tool offers customers the ability to resolve their issues without agents - they can get needed information or resolve uncomplicated problems by using the IVR menu. Some IVRs also have voice recognition features to speed up and ease menu navigation by recognizing the nature of clients’ requests. 

Clients can get offers, payment information, status updates, and easy voice FAQ by using IVR, and your agents will no more deal with simple appeals that don’t really need hands-on assistance. 

To say more, the IVR system has an intelligent, skills-based routing algorithm that routes calls to more relevant agents or does so according to special routing rules - everything that you need to know is how to set these rules more efficiently for your requirements. 

Another vital self-servicing feature is chatbots that are operated to navigate customers through FAQs and knowledge bases or to link them with real operators if needed. 

Perfect operational costs savings

Take into consideration that you don’t ought to expend on expensive infrastructure, including servers(check the pricing of Windows servers license - you’ll be unpleasantly surprised) and bear no maintenance costs when you utilize hosted call center solution, so the overall cost of ownership reduces. It saves you thousands of dollars every year and opens new workforce management opportunities.

What is more, you get more guarantees that no emergency situations will cause your firm’s breakdown - it is also a type of cost savings. Such thing as broken hardware may close the call center for a few days, and it isn’t necessary to say what would the consequences be. With the hosted solution, you depend only on the web linkage, and this is the most acceptable guarantee for the company’s business continuity and assistance availability, and accessibility for clients - no weight the circumstances. 

Live statistics and reports

To make thoughtful decisions and provide permanent growth and improvement of service and team productivity, you must get data for further analysis. The hosted call center offers this option as it furnishes you with straightforward info about every agent’s performance, productivity, and client insights. You get explicit data about every inbound and outbound call, its duration, status, result, and lead rate. All vital KPIs, such as FCR, AHT, and CSAT are also measured and shown in real-time dashboards.

Easier cold-calling campaigns

The hosted call center offers unbelievable flexibility and advanced features for outbound campaigns - special dialing algorithms process customer contact lists a few times faster than it could be done by hand. No manual dialing is needed, you just import a lead base and wait for successful calls. Agents don’t spend hours for useless manual work and get over 80% of their working time filled by real conversations with real customers. 

What’s even more interesting is that auto-dialers, included in virtual contact centers, can redial unsuccessful calls according to their status and your wishes, so no client will be lost during a campaign. 

What to take into account before setting up the hosted call center solution?

Even though hosted contact center is an entirely new level of organizing and managing a contact center, you still need to consider some vital nuances before you purchase and set it up. If you do not do this, you will have some problems with organizing work processes and quality management, so allocate a few minutes and learn these tips. Let’s go!

Client information safety and overall security guidelines 

Before you will make a final decision and get your solution, learn the security policies and customer data safety to stay sure that the service provider guarantees perfect security. It is easier to discover all security nuances before closing the deal than to tackle the consequences if trouble happens. 

Some security procedures and solutions can include duplicative data storage, all-around-the-clock control and monitoring, emergency retrieval strategies, and regular web updates to control the situation in real-time mode. 

Select the options you really require and don’t buy what you don’t need

Firstly, think of what your business requires to provide the most adorable customer experience and satisfaction. Secondly, choose a list of software vendors who offer the mentioned key features and compare their services - it would be easier as irrelevant developers would be already denied. Finally, choose the one that suits you the most.

Always look for the features that are fundamental for the successfully hosted contact center. Use only an omnichannel contact center or at least a multichannel solution. A must-have option is to make sure that these solutions include the ability to add new preferred channels and cover all important contact platforms - social networks, live chats and chatbots, messengers, email, and, surely, calls. To discover which digital channels you really need, make a little audience research. 

Never avoid such vital functions as IVR and ACD, which would organize your call queues and provide intelligent call routing. On the other hand, IVR would become a strong self-service opportunity for callers, so the agents will be less unloaded by routine calls.

If you are going to perform outgoing calls campaigns, look for the Predictive or Power dialer algorithms for the hosted call center. These tools boost the speed of processing lead bases up to 4 or 5 times. Conversion rates also grow from less than 1% to more than 2,5%.

API integrations

The most significant option is third-party software integration which would allow you to eliminate time losses for switching between various software tools and improve the overall quality of service. Such an instrument as CRM integration is vital for outbound and incoming calls, so the agents would get all customer data about their service evaluations, previous customer interactions, purchases, and last contacts. This approach opens an opportunity for personalized assistance and helps to communicate with high-net-worth clients who expect special service. 

Not only the CRM system is an important tool to be integrated with hosted call center software. Such tools as billing services should also be linked to the contact center solution to save time and make service faster and more comfortable. 

Automation

As research states, more than a quarter of all customers would like to use chatbots and other automated self-service options if they are provided by the firm. Just one year before, only 2% of people would use automated tools, so the growth is unbelievably fast - and it would be unwise to ignore this market trend. 

Automation has two goals: provide customers with service tools they want to use and decrease the number of unnecessary escalated requests, as any call now can be called an escalated way of contact between client and advisor. 

Thanks to such tools, automated by Artificial Intelligence, you get numerous benefits: many requests will be tackled by bots without agents’ participation, decrease Average On-Hold Time, and faster solving of customer issues(thanks to the agent linkage option, if the customer can’t deal with an issue on his own), relevant routing rules thanks to a determination of customers’ requests essence, and, finally, more increased customer satisfaction. 

Improve agent satisfaction and productivity

The hosted call center solution is a double-edged sword, where one edge is better customer experience, and another is happy agents and their better rates and KPIs. Another market study says that more than 70% of clients mark agents’ experience as one of the most crucial factors of the client experience and overall business outcomes. On the contrary, the same research point to the fact that almost all asked agents said that technology solutions and software tools are extremely important in providing both outstanding customer service and employee experience. 

Agents also have their needs and wishes, and the more automated would the work is, the more time workers will spend on really important activities, like live conversations or complicated customer requests. Powerful automation options in pair with intelligent routing and predictive auto dialing make agents’ work time filled with valuable work and free them from unnecessary actions. 

Friendly interface, omnichannel approach, and third-party tools integration ease agents’ work and let them provide more enjoyable and client-oriented assistance. 

What can we offer?

VoIPTime Cloud-Based Contact Center, as an example of well-developed cloud-based solutions, includes all vital options that were mentioned in this article, and proposes even more functionality and flexibility for your business. We have a powerful Predictive Dialer to boost your cold calling campaigns and offer amazing productivity and performance - get five times more real conversation, increased conversion rates, and more than 75% of contact center agents’ time filled with real dialogues with interested customers. Customizable redialing rules allow you to keep every client in touch with you, even if some calls are unsuccessful. 

Our IVR works in pair with well-developed ACD to provide your clients with self-assistance opportunities, eliminate call queues, and organize skill-based or priority-based call routing to link customers with the most relevant and skilled operators who will solve their problems in the nearest terms.

Reporting and statistics functions of our solutions are also wide and strong: you get live dashboards with all agents’ KPIs and contact center metrics, as well as call reports with statuses, quality scores, and important rates. 

We provide also workforce management options, such as choosing workers’ roles and duties, creating agent groups, and live monitoring of calls. Agent performance monitoring functionality includes call recording, whispering, internal calls, and chats to communicate with employees inside one interface and provide quality assessment without any effort. 

Such features as the omnichannel approach with the integration of webchats, emails, faxes, and messages are also offered. Additionally, we offer a customizable call script editor with an easy-in-use interface. 

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