What to choose – a PBX system or cloud call center software? This question arises as early as you start setting up your customer service department. Both solutions have their pros and cons. As PBX can also be cloud-based they are equally attractive for those who want to get rid of hardware headaches. However, cloud call center software gives you more opportunities to grow. Why? Let’s try to find out.
Cloud call center software features and benefits:
PBX has quite a limited functionality that allows you to meet only business telephony needs, both internal and external. Cloud call center solutions go further and integrate much more communication channels. For example, cloud call center software from Voiptime allows managing incoming and outgoing calls, handling live chats, sending SMS and follow-up emails. Your agents can do all these things in a single interface without having to switch between different applications.
Cloud call center software provides you with the Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) system that allows you to set different routing rules. For example, you can deliver VIP service by assigning the preferred agent to each caller. Also, routing may be done based on agent skills, preferred language, customer’s selection, geographic location, etc.
Another benefit of cloud call center solutions is a more advanced IVR menu that provides you with a bunch of useful features:
- recognize your client or vendor and route them to the department they usually call to
- self-service your customers and give them necessary information without involving your agents
- if all your agents are busy or customer calls outside your business hours IVR can route the calls to another phone number, including that of outsourcing call center
If you want to get rid of manual dialing, choose cloud call center software with a Predictive dialer. PBX is good for inbound calls but outbound campaigns aren’t its cup of tea. The main function of dialers is to automate the dialing process: these tools just call phone numbers from the contact list one by one or even calculate the required dialing pace. There are three main dialing modes: Preview, Progressive (Power), and Predictive.
Preview dialer is the simplest one. It displays customer records to an agent one by one. Then it’s up to the agent to decide if they need to contact the customer. This mode is good for complex sales when you need to get acquainted with a client card and prepare yourself for the conversation.
Progressive (Power) dialer places one call from the list for each available agent and routes to them live calls only. If there is no answer, busy call, or voicemail, the dialer schedules the next retry and proceeds to the next number from the list. It places calls only when an agent is available so there is no risk of abandoned calls. It’s needless to say that such automation improves the performance of your sales team. For example, our Power dialer allows you to increase the number of calls (not call attempts!) per agent up to 150-300 per day (depends on the average call duration). That, in turn, means closing more sales.
Predictive dialer is the most advanced one. This system calculates the required dialing speed for the agent team. It connects agents only with live calls and filters out all the answer machines, busy calls, and no-answers. At the same time, the dialer collects statistics on previous calls and estimates the approximate time the agent should be finishing a call, and dials the next number for them. This dialer is good for big teams (5+ agents) because the bigger number of people makes its calculations more accurate. The more agents you have, the less the possibility of abandoned calls. It has the same benefits as a Power dialer: increased productivity and contact rate as well as minimized downtime, but it is far more useful for high volume calling than a Power dialer. Your agents won’t waste time on making call attempts and manual dialing, thus becoming more focused and motivated.
ACD system allows you to manage different queues for different inbound lines and campaigns and distribute the call flow between agent teams by priority. Also, cloud call center software provides such features as a callback from the queue and on-hold messages. Voiptime Cloud call center solution gives you two queue management options:
- if you have a single incoming line that serves a single project, calls can be distributed to teams of agents or individual agents depending on their skills/competence;
- if you have a single incoming line for several projects, you can:
- distribute calls according to groups of projects to the required agent teams only;
- distribute calls with the possibility to add agents from other teams with or without taking into account the team’s priority, with or without taking into account the agents’ competence.
- if you have multiple incoming lines for multiple projects, the call flow can be distributed to all available agents, based on all the variations described in the previous case.
As PBX has quite a limited functionality, its reporting tools are limited as well. You can track metrics like standard call detail records and do basic call analysis with a call logger. Cloud call center software gives you much more data. You can compare agents’ performance, track the number of incoming calls, time spent by a caller on the IVR and in a call queue before reaching the agent, track your service level, get detailed reports on outbound campaigns, etc. It’s also possible to provide some basic workforce management. For example, the Voiptime Cloud call center solution allows you to create a work schedule, check lateness reports and see if your agents stick to work schedules.
If you need monitoring tools for managing your remote agent team then choose cloud call center software. With it, your managers can monitor live conversations using three modes: call barging, hidden mode, and call whispering. They can listen to newbies’ live calls and choose what to do – give them some tips silently or jump in a conversation to help if there are some difficulties.
When it comes to quality assessment, cloud call center solutions are better as well. PBX can record calls but call center software allows you to assess the quality of calls while listening to the recordings. Our customizable quality cards give you opportunities to assess the particular call, using the criteria that are suitable for your business, for example, the correct greeting, problem-solving skills, adherence to call script, etc. You can grade your agents’ performance by using grades from 0 to 100 and leave comments on what they should pay attention to next time.
Call scripting tools are another benefit of cloud call center software. When agents have call scripts in the call center solution’s interface they don’t have to switch between different apps and can stay focused on the call. Voiptime Cloud allows you to construct various call scripts in 15 minutes, including different blocks like polls, knowledge bases, proposals, HTML Iframe.
So, what option to choose – a PBX system or cloud call center software? The answer depends on your business needs. PBX is good at some stage of business development – for example, when you have a small business and need only to answer inbound calls and provide internal communication within your organization. However, as your business starts growing it won’t be enough. Therefore, it’s better to choose a more versatile call center solution from the beginning. It will allow you to ensure business continuity and leverage more opportunities for interaction with your customers.
Samantha Acuna is a writer based in San Francisco, CA. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, and Yahoo Small Business.