Choosing a service provider is probably one of the most important business decisions a call center owner will make. Powering virtually all the vital operations, the service provider is, in some sense, the technical backbone of every contact center. This is why, in more than one way, the overall performance of a center depends on the service providers (SP). From pricing, voice quality, and compliance to agent experience, campaign scripting, reporting, and everything in between falls under the jurisdiction of your software and/or telecom provider.
If you happen to be in the market for a telecom and/or service provider, you are in the right place. This article will pinpoint some of the most important elements you need to consider to make an informed decision.
The Fading Line Between Telecom and Software
In present days, contact centers are powered by two generic types of service providers: telecom and software SPs. In general, a regular call center would have contracts with one (or more – depending on the size of operations) telecom voice service providers and several contracts for the various software solutions.
As one can imagine, depending on the needs of a particular call center and the industry it serves, there are countless combinations of services a call center can contract.
Types of Telecom Service Providers:
- Direct contract(s) with one or more carriers: The upside of this choice is that the final cost for the call center will be on the lower side because there are no intermediaries. The downside is that the call center will depend on a single carrier for coverage and quality. For example, if you want access to areas that your initial carrier does not cover, you need additional contracts with carriers from that particular place.
- One contract with a telecom reseller: Choosing this option will spare you the hassle of having to manage any business relationship with the carriers. Usually, the resellers are software vendors that are offering, besides their main product, the option to also manage your call center’s relationship with a carrier. If you value convenience, this might be a good option to consider. However, from a pricing point of view, this might not be the best solution. Also, this model often poses great limitations in terms of coverage, and sometimes quality.
- The NobelBiz carrier-of-carriers model: Combining the best from both worlds, the carrier-of-carrier model has the great advantage of having been designed strictly for the call center industry. The NobelBiz Voice Carrier Network is a unique presence in the call center world because it combines the convenience of not having to manage a direct relationship with multiple carriers while offering the price range of a direct carrier. Not to mention the host of other game-changing and unique benefits such as unlimited network redundancy, compliance pack, and one of the most proactive, responsive, and expert staff in the industry.
NobelBiz Inc. offers complete solutions, both telecom and software for call centers around the globe, from the US market to the Asia Pacific market with operations in Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Africa, and the Philippines, providing a mix of award-winning proprietary software and business process outsourcing solutions specializing in voice and cloud-based customer relationship management and call centers.
Types of Software Service Providers
Depending on the industry and the business model of the call center, this might require several different contracts for:
- Call center software platform: this is the actual software that your agents will use and it is the central piece of the entire software architecture of a call center. Depending on its capabilities, this can literally make or break your business. As minimum requirements for a future-proof call center software platform, we suggest looking for something that can leverage omnichannel capabilities and API integrations. One such solution is NobelBiz OMNI+, probably one of the best all-around call center software on the market.
- Customer Retention Management software (CRM): We can hardly imagine how a call center would stay relevant without a powerful CRM to store and manage all the client information that the agents are processing day in day out. CRM solutions help businesses to promote brand awareness, increase sales and improve customer relations.
- Payment processing apps: This piece of software is crucial for industries such as debt collections, fundraising, sales, banking, and many more. For example, if you’re working in a medium or large-sized company in the corporate world, having the capability of accepting payment and making payments for your clients is essential, as well as a key metric for how successful your business is. These technologies, like money transfers, card payments, payment processors, and point-of-sale systems, should always be upgraded as the technology improves and enables new opportunities.
- Cloud computing services: This has become an increasing concern in the last couple of years not just because of the constant increase of data points that a call center can collect, but also because of the need to have a system that allows and facilitates remote work. Cloud computing allows anyone to work from any location with just a laptop and an internet connection. Further, the shift to cloud computing makes it possible for more work flexibility and cuts down on agents’ idle time.
- Network security software: Most call centers have to deal with personal information on a daily basis. This is the main reason why security is an increasing issue, especially in the age of data breach scandals and identity theft. This calls for the use of network security software which are capable of spotting threats on all servers and devices. Such network security software are equally useful in aiding and in tracing cybercrimes.
Of course, this list can go on forever because the actual software needs are dictated by the call center’s business model. However, making the right decision can be daunting.
Fortunately, companies with a long history in the call center space such as NobelBiz are making the choice so much easier, combining top-notch solutions both as a carrier and software provider. Let’s now focus our attention on what general criteria a good provider (telecom + software) needs to meet.
Checklist for the almost perfect Call Center Service Provider
Does the perfect contact center service provider exist? Probably not. But some providers definitely come much closer to this ideal than others. Let’s look at 5 things that can definitely help you choose a call center provider. The following list of qualities you need to look for when choosing a provider is general and can be applied to virtually any type of call center provider: voice services, software, or blend.
1. Reliability & Predictability
The last thing you need when running a contact center is having to face technical difficulties and interruptions. Regardless of whether we talk about issues with the cloud servers hosting your center’s software or issues with the voice provider networks, these types of problems can spell disaster for a running campaign.
This is why you need to make sure your SP has all the redundancies in place: both for servers and the telecom networks so that if the main infrastructure goes down, there will always be a safety net in place.
2. No-friction & Confidence
From a business relations perspective, this is something often overlooked. However, there is great power behind having a business partner able to be there at the exact time when you need them and fade away reassuringly in the background whenever you need things to work smoothly and focus on what matters to you.
The confidence element is also crucial in this regard. Ideally, you want to forget that your service provider even exists and have complete confidence that if and when the time comes, their support team is so responsive and efficient that everything will work out in no time.
3. Performance & Quality
Well, maybe this should have been higher on the list because, at the end of the day, the service providers are nothing less than technology dealers. This being said, looking to see if your SP meets the latest protocols and technological standards might seem like a no-brainer. Both performance and quality depend on this.
However, although the technology stack might seem impressive, you need to know that not every vendor (both software and voice) is really focused on customizing that technology for the call center industry. More often than not, this is not the case.
Call centers live in a highly regulated world, where new laws are passed and need to be enforced every year. This is why the importance of a compliance-competent SP is just crucial. Well, unless you want to take care of all the legal technicalities yourself.
Again, we come back to the importance of having a service provider dedicated to the call center industry. This type of business will be much more likely to help you navigate the muddy waters of regulations.
Alright, this list would definitely not be complete if we would have ignored the elephant in the room, which is pricing. The hard truth is that way too many contact center business owners would turn a blind eye to all the elements on this list just to chip at the price and bottom-line expenses they need to face. And this is somehow understandable. Call centers are, after all, just another business model.
But since we are talking about the almost perfect service provider, we cannot overlook competitive pricing. After all, irrespective of the industry, the perfect provider would offer peak performance at a low price. And we all know this is just impossible.
As we have seen, choosing your call center software provider(s) is so much more than just reducing everything to the most technically sound offer. While technology is indeed the most important aspect, you also need to factor in convenience, price, service quality, and a host of other factors that might not be so obvious from the very beginning.
Also, you need to know that in the call center industry, the service providers are so much more than simple contractors. This is why you also need to consider the people behind the services. You will need to create a solid business and human relationship if you want your center to succeed.
These will be the people you will turn to when a new regulation hits, when something goes wrong, or when a new technology is making waves in the industry and you want to try it out.
NobelBiz: Powering Call Centers since 2005
This having been said, we would like to bring to your attention our two most advanced call center solutions (telecom & software). The first thing you need to know about NobelBiz is that we have been serving the contact center industry for almost two decades. In all these years, both our management and our expert teams were trying to craft the perfect Service Provider.
The NobelBiz Voice Carrier Network is built from the ground up with the sole purpose of serving the contact center industry, having no rivals in terms of services, coverage, and pricing. NobelBiz offers one of the most versatile selections of smart tools, designed to increase contact rates and productivity, help mitigate impacts of call labeling and blocking, and provide all-around compliance. This is why we provide top-of-the-line telecom services to some of the largest centers and CCaaS providers in the space.
The NobelBiz OMNI+ cloud call center platform is our software product designed to complement our carrier solution, improving an already great carrier product and taking it to new heights of performance. NobelBiz OMNI+ can also be deployed separately, with a unique blend of capabilities, from Omnichannel, Impressive API integrations, and fast implementation to simple cross-channel campaign setup, work-from-home capabilities, and so on. NobelBiz OMNI+ is a true customizable powerhouse of productivity that can be deployed in less than 74 hours.
Both our software platform called NobelBiz OMNI+ and our telecom solution called NobelBiz Voice Carrier Network score really high on any of the 5 entries in the checklist above. And we are constantly improving. For any extra questions you might have related to some of the topics we touched, give us a call on 800.975.2844 (toll free), or get in touch with one of our experts via this contact form.
With a background in Anthropology and a passion for digital marketing and copywriting, Georgian enjoys translating complex, often technical, concepts into everyday words. He loves optimizing everything, from texts, marketing funnels, and PPC campaigns to visual creations, social media feeds, or landing pages.