For many years Sytel has supplied contact center software to business partners who then offer hosted call center services. But what makes a successful hosting operation? If you are considering becoming a hosted contact center supplier, consider the following carefully.
- Understand your chosen verticals. Is hosting actually right for you? (a pretty fundamental question!) Some business scenarios are good for hosting, some are not. Is it aligned with your current/ future business goals? Understand the extent of your target market.
- 100% uptime? What is your target uptime percentage? Be realistic with yourself and your customers. Can you manage and upgrade the system remotely and dynamically within normal office hours? If not, can you put systems in place to achieve your target? If you are aiming for 100% uptime, then a full software, hardware and network redundancy model is crucial. Can you offer this?
- Unified Communications. If your contact center hosting involves multiple media channels, understand that this is more than just ‘application hosting’ or ‘web hosting’. In order to provide simple solutions to the customer, server configurations in the cloud can get pretty sophisticated. Applications must interact seamlessly, and must be able to handle multiple media channels simultaneously.
- Full feature set. A hosted call center solution should offer all the features of an on-premise solution. Look for depth of functionality. A supplier that does not provide API integration is only offering a limited feature set!
- Robust security. For most industries, security of media (data, voice recordings, etc) is essential. Ensure that the SIP trunk service is secure and any media transmission (like chats, emails, SMS, etc.) are encrypted to avoid sniffing by a third party. While creating new tenants on the system, check whether all tenant specific information is protected (you may be violating the end user agreement terms!). This means secure access to tenant specific application configurations and data.
- Thorough auditing. Before deployment begins, analyze your target market requirements (e.g. scripting, reporting, campaign management, multi-tenancy). Identify exactly which services you can offer and communicate it clearly to the end-user, both verbally and on paper. For example: You should be able to create new tenants, publish scripts, create dial plans, etc. on the system in real time.And lastly the area of service delivery where many hosted contact center operations fail. Be warned. We call it…
- “Room next door” access. With an on-premise solution, you get ‘room-next-door’ access – you can bang on the wall and get Joe next door to add an agent config, add a campaign, change a script, schedule out-of-hours maintenance, etc. Can the hosted call center system offer the same ease of access, on demand, through web interfaces?
Good luck with your hosted contact center endeavours and watch out for more tips on this subject in a future blog.