A VoIP contact center or VoIP call center is a contact center that operates on VoIP technology instead of traditional phone lines. Whether your company has an inbound contact center, outbound contact center, virtual contact center, or any other type of contact center, cutting the cord on your phone line and replacing it with a VoIP solution can bring many benefits to your business.
VoIP for business is cheap to set up, it’s reliable, and it enables the inclusion of an infinite number of features. The best VoIP providers offer dozens of features to help make your contact center the best it can be. These include things like detailed real-time reporting on customers and agents, interactive voice response (IVR) and automated call distribution (ACD), and customer speech analytics.
We recommend looking at things like price, features, and system reliability when comparing VoIP contact center providers. The best VoIP call center provider for your business is the one that offers features specific to your company’s contact center needs and call volumes.
Basic contact center functions
Omnichannel cloud center
Advanced omnichannel cloud functions
Installation and setup included
24/7 US-based support
Vonage is one of the largest and most popular VoIP for business providers. It caters to all types of businesses, from small and medium-sized businesses to large corporations. Best of all, each of its subscription packages includes the option of integrating full contact center functionality—no matter the size of your business.
Vonage went one step ahead of its competition in 2018 with the launch of Vonage CX Cloud, a sophisticated omnichannel cloud contact center solution. Vonage business customers of all sizes can customize the Vonage CX Cloud through Vonage’s API platform.
Here are some of the advanced capabilities included in the platform:
Real-time insight into caller sentiment and emotions, enabling better decision making and customer support.
Chatbots, visual interactive voice response, and other self-service capabilities that help resolve customer queries quickly and seamlessly.
Automatic call distribution, including universal queuing and call routing based on agent expertise.
Advanced analytics, including recurring custom reports, real-time metrics, and historical data.
Workforce optimization tools, including automatic desktop call recording and simplified agent scheduling.
Support for contact centers
IVR and ACD capabilities
Advanced IVR outbound dialing
Complete omnichannel solution
End-to-end encryption on every call
24/7 US-based support
RingCentral is another popular VoIP provider that services businesses across all types and sizes. It offers 3 standalone call center packages ranging from a cheaper package with basic features to a more expensive package with advanced interactive voice response and automatic call distribution features. All contact center plans integrate completely with RingCentral’s VoIP for business, which includes unlimited calling in the US and Canada,and seamless CRM integrations like Salesforce.
Here are some of the features to be found in Ring Central’s contact center packages:
Interactive voice response (IVR) and automated call distribution (ACD).
Omnichannel capabilities include email, chat, SMS, and social media.
Outbound features include preview dialer, progressive dialer, predictive dialer, and campaign management.
Workforce optimization, including performance management, omnichannel analytics, workforce management, and quality management.
Price (per user per month)
Calling in US/Canada
3c/min + 2,000 mins free
2c/min + 5,000 mins free
Call recording storage
Voice, multichannel, and virtual contact centers
Multiple CRM integrations
Excellent support with setup and maintenance
8x8 offers plenty of choice when it comes to setting up a contact center. It appeals to all types of businesses, with solutions for inbound and outbound voice call centers; multichannel operations spanning voice, email, SMS, and chat; and, best of all, virtual contact centers, unifying your headquarters with outsourced or remote operations.
Here are some of the things you can get with an 8x8 contact center:
Powerful speech analytics, letting you analyze the most important customer interactions instead of just randomly selecting a small percentage of calls in the hope of identifying patterns.
Historical reporting, helping you give contact center managers the information they need to make smart business decisions.
Skills-based routing, matching callers with the agents that can best meet their needs.
Interactive voice response, which streamlines customer flow by quickly connecting callers with agents.
Web callback, which allows customers to get assistance from your agents at the touch of a button.
Price (per month, per user, plus taxes and fees)
Starting from $99.95
Caters to SMBs
Basic set of features focused on real-time information
Optional omnichannel integration
Jive specializes in supplying VoIP solutions and call-center facilities to small and medium-sized businesses. Jive’s cloud-based contact center is built on a principle of offering businesses an affordable contact center with basic features, real-time reporting, and good call management. It offers customized plans starting from $99.95 per user per month. Jive has also partnered with inContact to provide an enterprise-grade contact center solution that includes omnichannel integration, advanced reporting features, and outbound dialer.
Real-time queue reports, letting you know how many agents are on calls, and allowing you to measure their active talk time.
Agent summary reports, which helps with training and rewarding employees based on their performance.
Live status wallboards, displaying real-time information about your contact center’s overall performance.
Price (per month, per user, plus taxes and fees)
Maximum calls in queue
Automated call distribution
Plenty of customizations
24/7 customer service
MegaPath offers a 2-tiered pricing system for its contact centers. Both packages included a long list of features suited to inbound, outbound, or mixed contact centers. All customers get free live one-on-training for call center agents, supervisors, and administrators.
Here are some of the top features included in a MegaPath contact center:
Customized greetings and announcements, including queue announcements, audio and video announcements, and whisper announcements.
Call-routing capabilities, including intelligent ACD, priority queue routing, and real-time agent management.
Agent availability management, including join/un-join call center, setting ACD state to available or unavailable, and automatic timed wrap-up at completion of ACD call.
Call presentation features, including calls in queue notifications, longest waiting priority, held-call notification, and last agent sign-out warning.
Call handling, including one-click transfers, escalation or emergency escalation of call to supervisor, silent monitoring, and call barge-in.
10 Things to Consider When Choosing the Best VoIP Contact Center for Your Business
When looking for call center software there are some must-haves that should be at the top of your list, such as controlled calls, multiple phone connections, voicemail, and call routing extensions, to name a few.
Here are some tips on how to choose the best call center when shopping around:
1. Ease of Use
Life is short, don’t spend it trying to figure out your call center software. Setup should be all but instant, allowing you to get up and running within minutes, on a system that even a novice can navigate like a pro.
2. Call Queues (Hunt Group)
Call it line hunting or a hunt group, rest assured, you won’t need a firearm or comfortable shoes for a call hunt. Call hunting routes incoming phone calls into a group of people that are set up to take incoming calls, what is typically known as a “hunt group.” Usually these can include dozens of people, arranged into a queue where each subsequent incoming call is routed to the next recipient in line. This can be crucial in a call center where you have a high value of phone calls and you want to make sure calls are answered without customers needing to know multiple extension numbers, and without representatives waiting around while the calls pile up.
3. Call Quality
You know a VoIP system can save you money and get your telecommunications running better than ever, but at times you can have some patchy voice quality. Why’s that? There are a few explanations. A poor internet connection is a common problem, so make sure that your provider gives you business class high speed on your connection and that you have a reliable VoIP router. What’s known as “latency” refers to the amount of time between when a sound exits your mouth until the person on the other side hears it. When it’s bad, that’s when you have that echo or delay on the line. This can occur when there is too much information heading through the system (in the form of voice packets) and becomes backed up. Look for a software provider that can prioritize VoIP traffic and handle a large volume of calls.
Sophisticated analytics reporting allows managers to get a comprehensive view of their telecommunications, from call volume to duration, wait time, and more. When you’re training new operators, having data on hand can give you a wealth of teachable information that can help your employees grow. You can see how long their average successful sales call took, and how often they were hung up on in the first few moments of the call. You can see which calls, using which scripts, were the most successful, including factors such as time of day, and so on.
5. ACD (Automatic Call Divert)
You can’t please all the people all the time, and you for sure can’t answer every call right away when things get busy. That’s why automatic call divert (ACD) is one of the most important features for most businesses. If your phone line is busy when a call comes in, this feature will automatically forward the call down the line to another available representative. This is a cost-efficient, fast, and dynamic way of maintaining order, consistency, and call flow. You can also get call center software that allows you to customize your call priority management, in order to ensure that high priority calls get to where they’re going faster, and don’t get lost in the mix.
6. Interactive Voice Responses (IVR)
If you’ve ever sat snickering while you watched a spouse or loved one struggle with a computerized voice recognition operator, then you know that not everybody loves this feature. And while it’s true that voice recognition operators can be a mixed bag, when done right it’s a real time saver, and as this technology improves, it stands to get only more user-friendly.
7. Unlimited Calls
If your company makes a large amount of national and/or international calls (say, if you’re a call center) then this feature can save you a large amount of money on your phone bills. Companies like Vonage and Ooma offer unlimited national calls, which is ideal for small businesses with a local clientele. Conversely, MegaPath and Jive each offer unlimited international calling for enterprise customers.
8. Training Features
When training new employees, it is helpful to be able to subtly—or not so subtly—coach or in some cases intervene when calls get too difficult for them to handle. There are a number of features that can help you out with new hires, such as call barging, which allows you to drop in on live calls to speak to both parties, allowing you to step in and help out at any time during a business call.
9. Disposition Codes
This feature allows your agents to take notes on how the call went, record which follow-up actions are required, and detail the outcome of the call. Labels include simple one-word summaries such as “busy” and “disconnected” as well as labels such as “transferred to marketing” or “refund granted,” which can provide a much clearer picture of where to look and an overview of what’s going on at a glance.
10. Voicemail Options
Voice messages have come a long way since the humble answering machine. Today you can find various voicemail options that are tailor-made for people who don’t have the time to play back their voicemails one by one. Many call center software providers feature options that allow voice-to-text transcription of voicemails, which are then sent to you by email in text or audio. Others allow you to manage your voicemail inbox online, so you can view, manage, download, or delete your messages directly from your desktop. You can also forward voicemails to other extensions and, with the text-to-voice option, you can listen to your voicemails hands free—no small thing if you’re behind the wheel.