In a nutshell, a hosted contact center is an online version of a physical call center. A hosted contact center provides comprehensive call center customer service to an organization. Unlike a physical call center, you don’t have to spend money on buying software, hardware, physical tools, manpower, and etc to establish an on-premise hosting infrastructure.
— As a result, this can save your company a lot of money, maintenance costs, time, and space. The main physical server hardware maintaining both inbound and outbound for establishing a connection between you and your customer is located at the back-end system of the provider. But is a hosted contact center the best software architecture for a contact center? We are going to discuss it now.
A hosted contact center is a communication solution installed and hosted on an off-site remote server, located either at your service provider’s location or cloud rather than on-premise.
People often interchange hosted services with cloud services. The infrastructure of a hosted service remains outside of the physical location of the user. This infrastructure includes both the cloud and vendor’s location. And the cloud service is just a subset of hosted service.
Technically, hosted contact centers are termed “single-tenant” while cloud contact centers are known as “multi-tenant” (we will get to this later).
An important one: Hosted Softswitch
After knowing the definition of a hosted contact center, you should also know what a contact center is. This can be referred to as a communication solution for serving your customers, partners, or prospects through various channels with feature-rich solutions. Don’t confuse a contact center with a call center as it uses multiple communication rather than just voice calls.
Here is another important topics: What is Hosted Switched
Even if not primary, voice calls are becoming an escalation channel for many businesses. Therefore, web chat, mobile self-services, and similar channels are on the verge. With that being said, you need to know if your company needs a call center solution or a contact center.
So, you must know the difference between these two.
|Call Center||Hosted Contact Center|
|Uses the traditional PBX (Private Branch Exchange) system that runs on physical phones.||Uses a reliable broadband connection for more flexible communication channels like VoIP calling|
|It is suitable for handling only voice calls.||Including voice calls, it can handle live chat, emails, instant messaging, support tickets, and other channels.|
|Call centers are omnichannel as they handle both outbound and inbound calls of a company.||Hosted contact centers are also omnichannel because customers can communicate over a reliable channel.|
|Running marketing campaigns isn’t possible.||Allows you to run successful marketing and sales campaigns regardless of the channel.|
|Solving customer issues can be challenging sometimes when you are only having a conversation with the customer via voice calls.||Allows you to access past interactions so that solving customer problems becomes easier and quicker.|
|It is best for companies where the customers are heavily dependent on calls.||It is best for large businesses where there are lots of agents.|
The full abbreviation of CCaaS is “Contact Center as a Service”, which is applicable to cloud contact centers, not hosted contact centers. People mix up hosted contact centers with this as many cloud contact centers use a similar infrastructure.
Although a hosted contact center asides much of the call center hardware from the business premise, certain parts of data centers and call staff must be managed inside the house. — As a result, this can increase the expense and reduce the flexibility to fluctuating customer demand. Cloud call centers can reduce costs and offer robust customer service.
A cloud call center allows you to experience an entire call service remotely. From data centers to cloud-based servers hosting multiple tenants are all shifted in a cloud contact center. You can manage the call center fully by hiring remote call center staff. Therefore, you have the option to manage call center personnel feasibly. Along with this, you can manage the service hardware of all levels of the chain according to your way.
On top of that, the charges of a cloud call center are generally subscription-based. So, clients have the opportunity to choose a subscription plan according to the business size and requirements. They can also pay for cloud call center operations as long as they want and terminate the deal once they are done.
Compared to traditional contact centers, the hosted contact centers or virtual contact centers offer more benefits. The main reason for offering powerful benefits is not being on-premise. Now, let’s take a look at the benefits of hosted contact centers –
For the virtualization of the hosted contact centers, it has become very easy to set up a remote working environment. Because the employees can access their workstations as long as they have a reliable internet connection.
From the seller’s point of view, they offer unified communication by combining both CCaaS and UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service). Actually, it is reselling other companies products putting their own logos.
Cloud contact centers provide scalable solutions. There are fewer upfront costs as you don’t need to set up or maintain on-premise equipment. You don’t need to worry as the provider will take care of everything.
If the Total Cost of Ownership is TCO and the Return of Investment is ROI, then the costs of a virtual contact center depend on –
Along with setting up heavy-duty equipment, traditional contact centers require a certain level of technical expertise, a handsome upfront cost, and more. It will only get obsolete over time.
You just get IP telephony service with hosted contact centers, you will also get the benefits of important insights with easy analytics. Some providers will give you insightful data for call monitoring and analytics.
In general, the real-time data of some key metrics will be provided by the contact center software –
For instance, one can get an idea of the average speed of answering a call with the analytics of the service provider.
Analytical report on answer time provided by Dialpad
Advanced IVR or Interactive Voice Response is a phone system having automated call routing capabilities, providing your customers with on-demand self-service options. It also routes calls automatically to the best agent to solve the progressing issue.
While the basic IVR relies on keypad entries and a voice recognition system for routing calls in the right direction, the advanced IVR system uses NLP (Natural Language Processing). NLP is a type of AI for effective conversation. It can understand a full sentence and can answer any open-ended questions. As a result, your agents can be more relaxed and the clients will get their answers quickly.
Many service providers also provide IVR reports to improve the contact center’s performance.
IVR Report provided by DialPad
How about using the existing business apps or tools? Will it be good for your business? Maybe it will if you are able to access tools like CRM (Customer Relationship Manager). This type of tool gives you instant access to all the stored customer data. These can be related to past purchases or even their interactions.
Zendesk, Salesforce, Hubspot are some good examples of CRM.
Luckily, CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) can be implemented by the hosted contact centers. This gives you the option to connect your phone with CRM or other types of tools.
How do you measure the security of a hosted contact center? It’s easy. If the service provider offers cloud contact centers to legal, healthcare, or other big industries; it can be considered to have greater security features. Therefore, their hosted contact centers have well security infrastructure to keep you and your customer protected.
Also, make sure the service provider complies fully with regulatory standards like Privacy Shield, GDPR, SOC2, and others. It should have a membership with reputed organizations like CSA STAR.
Hosted contact centers from reputed service providers will offer 100% uptime SLA (Service Level Agreement). Enterprise-level customers using both CCaaS and UCaaS can get cloud contact centers for round-the-clock availability and zero downtime. It can be a key partner for reducing downtime for contact center operations.
Now that we have talked about the benefits of a hosted contact center, let’s take a look at the considerations before buying one.
Before you buy cloud contact center services from a provider, don’t hesitate to ask them about their terms and conditions. Along with that, also know their policies for customer data and their procedures to protect data.
In addition to that, make sure they comply with the international regulations including ISO/IEC 27001, SOC 2, GDPR, PCI, etc. Also, ensure they have adequate certificates (i.e. HIPAA or CSA STAR) in the relevant sector.
According to a Global Contact Center Survey from Cisco –
Before signing in to a contact center solution, check their agent’s experience and needs. Bad experiences from agents can greatly hamper the business. Service providers need to make sure their agents are focused on offering solutions to their customers.
Powerful and feasible AI-powered solutions can be used to keep them focused by minimizing distractions. It will also maximize their time by reducing repetitive work.
Your business must require the non-negotiable features of cloud contact centers. You don’t want to take service from a provider that can’t offer an omnichannel approach. And if it is not integrated into your business communication, handling all the channels and expanding the new ones will be a challenge.
The service providers should ensure intelligent routings like IVR or automation like ACD (Automatic Call Distribution) to enhance the efficiency of their agents and ease workforce management.
According to a recent report from Gartner –
The agents can be more focused if the service provider uses conversational AI (Artificial Intelligence) or any other automation-based services. With the growing number of digital channels, the automation system can learn the following from more interaction –
No matter what your business type is, a hosted contact center solution will always be scalable and flexible. This is the best part of cloud-based communication. It is also better than the traditional telephone system in many ways.
— For better customer service and monitoring more calls, a reliable service provider like WD Telecom is needed, especially in a country like Bangladesh. No matter how busy you get, you can always ensure customer satisfaction with automated and multi-channel support.