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A contact center is operated by a company to administer incoming product support or information inquiries from consumers. Outgoing calls for telemarketing, clientèle, and debt collection are also made. In addition to a call center, collective handling of letters, faxes, and e-mails at one location is known as a contact center.
A contact center is often operated through an extensive open workspace for call center agents, with work stations that include a computer for each agent, a telephone set/headset connected to a telecom switch, and one or more supervisor stations. It can be independently operated or networked with additional centers, often linked to a corporate computer network, including mainframes, microcomputers and LANs. Increasingly, the voice and data pathways into the center are linked through a set of new technologies called computer telephony integration (CTI).
Most major businesses use call centers to interact with their customers. Examples include utility companies, mail order catalogue firms, and customer support for computer hardware and software. Some businesses even service internal functions through call centers. Examples of this include help desks and sales support. However, some companies employ staff to work in their call centers almost by "bulk", applicants requiring little or no educational qualifications or experience; an example is Lloyds TSB. In contrast, some firms demand lengthy customer service experience, various formal certificates and impose a complicated and staged recruitment interview procedure; an example of this is American Express. - Wikipedia
MathematicsA call center can be viewed, from an operational point of view, as a queuing network. The simplest call center, consisting of a single type of customers and statistically-identical servers, can be viewed as a single-queue. Queuing theory is a branch of mathematics in which models of such queuing systems have been developed. These models, in turn, are used to support work force planning and management, for example by helping answer the following common staffing-question: given a service-level, as determined by management, what is the least number of telephone agents that is required to achieve it. (Prevalent examples of service levels are: at least 80% of the callers are answered within 20 seconds; or, no more than 3% of the customers’ hang-up, due to their impatience, before being served.)
Queuing models also provide qualitative insight, for example identifying the circumstances under which economies of scale prevail, namely that a single large call centre is more effective at answering calls than several (distributed) smaller ones; or that cross-selling is beneficial; or that a call center should be quality-driven or efficiency-driven or, most likely, both Quality and Efficiency Driven (abbreviated to QED). Recently, queuing models have also been used for planning and operating skills-based-routing of calls within a call center, which entails the analysis of systems with multi-type customers and multi-skilled agents.
Contact Center operations have been supported by mathematical models beyond queuing, with operations research, which considers a wide range of optimization problems, being very relevant. For example, for forecasting of calls, for determining shift-structures, and even for analyzing customers' impatience while waiting to be served by an agent.
Contact Center Technology
Contact Center CriticismsCommon contact center criticisms
- Operators working from a script.
- Non-expert operators (call screening).
- Incompetent or untrained operators incapable of processing customers' requests effectively.
- Overseas location, with language and accent problems.
- Automated queuing systems. This sometimes results in excessively long hold times
- Complaints that departments of companies do not engage in communication with one another.
- Close scrutiny by management (e.g. frequent random call monitoring).
- Low compensation (pay and bonuses).
- Restrictive working practices (some operators are required to follow a pre-written script).
- High stress: a common problem associated with front-end jobs where employees deal directly with customers.
- Repetitive job task.
- Poor working conditions (e.g. poor facilities, poor maintenance and cleaning, cramped working conditions, management interference, lack of privacy and noisy).
Contact Centers & VoIPVoice over Internet Protocol has drastically altered the way contact centers work, particularly considering the influence VoIP had with the creation of Virtual Call Centers. A virtual call center is created by taking many small call centers (often at-home workers) from different locations and connecting them to one another. This is usually done through the use of VoIP, IVR, ACD, and CTI. The advantage of virtual call centers is that they improve service levels, provide emergency backup and enable extended operating hours over isolated call centers. There are two methods used to route traffic around call centers: pre-delivery and post-delivery. Pre-delivery involves using an external switch to route the calls to the appropriate centre and post-delivery enables call centers to route a call they've received to another call center.
- 3CLogic offers a full suite of cloud based inbound and outbound customer interaction channels such as voice, chat and social media which integrate with our clients' existing CRM software such as Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics. This integration provides businesses with a 360 degree view of all customer interactions regardless of the channel chosen by their customers.
- 3CLogic's unique Virtual Telephony Application Grid (V-TAG) leverages VoIP and Web 2.0 technology to eliminate the complexity of integrating Contact Centers with CRM software. All capabilities can be made fully operational in a matter of hours while moves, adds and changes take only minutes using 3CLogic's wed-based management console.
- With 3CLogic's cloud based Contact Center, companies have more accurate and timely information about their prospect or customer and they can more efficiently respond to communications, ensure customer satisfaction with better service, and drive toward a larger lifetime value of each account, customer or client. Call 1-800-350-8656 for a free consultation.
800PBX(Now PBX Plus)
- PBX Plus offers virtual pbx and hosted pbx services in 40 different countries. Features include voice driven auto attendant, call forwarding, voicemail (with transcription), audio conferencing, extensions, subextensions. Coverage includes 40 countries.
- Free PBX - Fully loaded FREE PBX for growing businesses.
- Skype PBX - PBX Plus can now forward calls to not only landlines and mobiles in 40 different countries but also to Skype accounts.
- Skype Call Center - PBX+ extends Skype as PBX offering to call centers.
- Invox - Drag and drop designer, Invox, provides an enhanced IVR Solutions with Virtual PBX features. The designer won Best of Show during IT Expo. Out of box applications include payment over phone, surveys (type your questions and choose answer type), store locator, geographical routing, IM integration, CRM capture lead (Salesforce, Sugar, Zoho), CRM by Phone (with speech recognition), phone appointment scheduling and reminders, outbound automation, Skype/VoIP forwarding, disaster messaging, database integration and others.
ASTERNIC CALL CENTER STATS PRO 2Just released the Call Center Stats PRO 2 with lots of improvements and new tools.
The reports display accurate information for your call center activity in nice formated tables and informative charts. Even more: you have the option to export the reports to pdf and csv (Excel). There are a myriad of metrics available: Service Level Agreement, Abandon Rates, Call Distributions, Agent Activity and a lot more.
The software is used in small SOHO call centers and also on big corporations. We are developing best of breed Asterisk solutions and applications since 2004.
Features included in the PRO version:
- Predefined reports: answered,unanswered,distribution,agents,transfers,detailed events; Charts on HTML5, PDF & Excel Export, Detailed drill-down grids,realtime parsing logs,recordings,user access and levels, queues and agent dictionary,scheduled reports and notifications, realtime view information, rest web service, spy an agent, whisper an agent, steal a call, report designer and more.
Also we are giving 30 days trial codes to test the FULL featured PRO 2 just requesting in Asternic Call Center Stats Web
UCNA leader in the contact center provider industry is UCN. The company has set itself apart from traditional vendors by offering hosted services, meaning consumers can experience all the benefits of advanced contact centers, but since all services are hosted within UCN, there are no heavy start-up costs. All UCN services revolve around their inContact product, which has consistently won awards year after for innovation to the call center technology and customer management fields.
Noteworthy UCN Products
- Call Center Surveys by Echo -Groundbreaking product giving businesses real time access into their customers thought process
- Virtual Call Center -Award winning InContact product to give contact centers a competitive edge.
- Hosted ACD Software -Automatic Call Distribution software to connect callers to agents automatically.
- Computer Telephony Integration -Computer Telephony Integration Software to integrate caller information with agents, regardless of location.
- IVR Systems -Interactive Voice Response Systems to manage call flow and determine the correct agent for each callers problem.
- Workforce Management Software Comprehensive Workforce Management Software to manage your contact center agents.
- Hosted Call Center solutions -Comprehensive solutions for all aspects of Call Centers across the United States.
- Customer Service Surveys -Real-time customer service surveys, delivered immediately following agent to customer contact. Allows businesses to learn what their clients really think about their products and services.
Database Systems Corp.Database Systems Corp. has been a leading provider of call center technology since 1978. DSC provides both contact center phone systems and software as well as outsourcing phone services. DSC voice broadcasting and IVR systems are award winning computer telephony solutions. The following are some of these contact center solutions and services:
- Contact Center Software - Phone application software for small to large enterprises.
- Voice Broadcasting - Systems and outsourcing services that contact large groups of individuals using message broadcasting autodialers.
- IVR - Interactive voice response phone systems and outsourcing services.
- Telephone Reassurance - Community calling program for seniors and home alone children
- Emergency Notification Systems - Community alert systems and emergency voice broadcasting services
- IVR Applications - Listing of a variety of IVR phone applications and clients
- Phone Surveys - IVR phone survey applications and development tools
- Phone Reminders - Voice blast phone reminders
- Campus Alert Services - Contact students, faculty and parents in the event of a school emergency using emergency school notification phone systems.
Exelysis Contact CenterExelysis® is a new approach to communications. Deriving from the Greek words “exelixis” and “lysis”, which mean “evolution” and “solution” respectively, it is namely a fusion approach that sets new standards to your corporate communications.
Being flexible, readily available and cost-effective, with Predictive Dialing, a Modular IVR Platform, Advanced Call Queuing and Call Recording, Exelysis® Contact Center is certain to change your perception on call center solutions.
Specifically designed to cooperate with the Asterisk open source PBX, Exelysis Contact Center is a flexible and easily adjustable platform which allows the integration of Asterisk PBX with other software but can also be used independently as a strong tool of incoming call management for call centers and helpdesks and outbound calls with the use of the Predictive Dialing feature.
Especially the Predictive Dialing feature is a very strong component of the Exelysis platform, as its predictive algorithms, that produce such a number of outbound calls that an agent talk time rate of more than 90% is achieved, lead to a significant increase in a call center’s productivity.
Exelysis Contact Center is installed as a local network service and allows the connection of VoIP features to other applications. It also gives a selection of APIs in Microsoft .NET which can be used by CRM developers to integrate their platforms with the Exelysis platform and enjoy features like:
- Agent management
- Incoming queues management
- Outbound call management (campaigns)
- IVR creation, through a flexible modular system
- Real time monitoring and extensive statistical reports
LowayBased in Switzerland, Loway is a very established international provider within the call centre arena, having created its flagship product: QueueMetrics, which is an industry-standard comprehensive monitoring and reporting software suite for call centres, based on the Asterisk PBX, that is also available directly as an Elastix add-on.
Deployed in thousands of call centres worldwide, it is a robust and reliable tool that can monitor inbound queues and outbound campaigns. The suite can support over 500 live agents, allowing operations managers, call team leaders and call agents to complete their daily tasks through a real-time interface. Activity reports can then be viewed, recorded calls can be monitored, agent activity can be measured and business targets assessed through this platform. At the same time, team leaders can view current agent status and listen to live calls. The QueueMetrics platform allows agents to see calls they are handling, integrate with external Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications and much more. With a web-based interface and no client installation required, it offers various storage and deployment models.
With over 150 quantitative metrics available, any call centre will run smoothly and problems are easily identified and resolved. Minimal Asterisk interactions leads to maximum overall availability.
Newfies-DialerNewfies-Dialer is a free and open source multi-tenant autodialer from Star2Billing comprising Auto-dialer, survey tool, extension dialling (press 1), voice recording, and outbound conferencing, with white labelling, SMS broadcasting and AMD addons available, all backed by professional installation, training and support services.
Newfies-Dialer is mainly aimed at Telecoms companies wishing to offer SaaS (Software as a Service) auto-dialling and SMS broadcasting to their customers. It may also be used by any organisation that wants to broadcast marketing, emergency and informational messages to their contacts.
QueueInsightQueueInsight is a powerful and cost effective reporting system for call centres running on the Asterisk PBX. Users can create reports on different aspects (queues, agents, etc) for particular times using a powerful search engine, see the results in table and graph form, and measure performance against targets. You can also view real time call information and control access per user to particular queues.
xCallyxCally is a professional Call Center suite optimized for Asterisk. It provides Inbound, Outbound and Blended features for customer care management, along with advanced reporting, web configuration and multi-channel services.
- xCally - Official Web Site
- Social Customer Care features
- Multichannel Web calls
- xCally Web Reports - Offline and Realtime web Charts (also optimized for mobile view)
DialAppletDialApplet Call Center Suite is a complete solution to manage Call Center's and Contact Center's platform. It permits advanced control and supervision tools in real-time of all calls and offers the opportunity of managing outbound, inbound and blending campaigns. Also it provides 4 types of dialers that can be adapted to any situation like predictive, progressive, power dialer auto and manual. New concept of creation and modification of scriptsbased on the autonomy of the user.
- Voicent, a leading VoIP software vendor, offers communication tools for sales, marketing, customer service, event notification, appointment reminder, and much more.
- The company's latest offering is called Call Center Manager.
- You can't manage what you can't measure!
- Call Center Manager automatically measures workloads and adjusts outbound calling pace to comply with U.S. Federal Trade Commission's Telemarketing Sales Rule on intentionally Abandoned or Dropped Calls. Don't risk penalties of up to $16,000 per incident!
- Statistical reporting helps you meet FTC's "Safe Harbor" requirement for collecting and maintaining dropped-call reports, providing protection from prosecution for occasional, accidental rule violations.
- Call Center Manager speeds effective training for new agents with "whisper coaching" feature allowing live-call coaching that is inaudible to customers, and Easy call monitoring and recording.
- Call Center Manager Includes real-time and historical statistical reporting capabilities for tracking and managing agent performance, line usage, and campaign productivity.
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