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Grow Your Business Technology

Call Center Update? How to Tackle 4 Key Challenges

Call Center Update? How to Tackle 4 Key Challenges
Credit: BrAt82/Shutterstock

In many cases, a business is only as good as the technology it uses, especially when processing customer calls. Traditional business phone systems are quickly being replaced with VoIP (voice over internet protocol) systems. These often include features such as online fax services, conferencing, call recording, call routing and automated phone answering.

Updating your call center solution can help you better support customers and manage call volume. But all change comes with some challenges. Based on our own interviews and product research, as well as research notes from our sister site Top Ten Reviews, here's how to overcome a few key obstacles you may face as you shift to a new contact center software solution.

If you are updating to VoIP business phones and call center software, you may need to update your phones and support hardware. If this is the case, you can purchase or lease phones, or you can use telephone headsets connected to your PCs. Most phone services are compatible with a variety of Cisco and Polycom phones, but you'll want to verify model numbers to see if your exact phones are supported.

If you already own satisfactory traditional phones, you may be able to save money by purchasing or leasing adaptors to make your phones compatible with internet-based services. Other expenses may include routers, Ethernet lines and other items. 

Editor's note: If you're looking for information to help you choose the call center that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site BuyerZone provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free.

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Learning curve and training

New technologies require training. Most call center software companies should provide training materials as well as paid, in-person training if needed. The best services will also help you set up your phones, automated answering and phone routing.  

As with any new technology, some employees may be resistant. It will help to take advantage of training opportunities offered by your provider. Don't overwhelm your team, though: Take training slow and get the basics mastered first.

If you are using VoIP phones along with your call center software, performance is dependent on your internet service. Most experts recommend 100 Kbps per VoIP phone for optimal and dependable performance. If you have been using traditional landlines, you may need to update your business internet to support your new phone system. While your internet bill may increase, the cost of your monthly phone bill should go down compared to landline phones.

If your business is in an area without fast internet, you may have to stick with your traditional phones. Alternatively, if you cannot support a large group of customer or technical support phone lines and employees, you may want to consider outsourcing your phone support to a call center service.

Charges for call center software usually accrue by usage per phone line. Some marketing material uses the phrase "unlimited calling," but the fine print often says you must stay within "fair usage" or something similar. Some services will even charge different prices for high-volume use. For example, a provider may have a rate for a block of minutes, but the pricing per minute may go down as the volume increases.

The United States and Canada are typically included as "free" minutes with a U.S.-based service. If you need international calling, look for a business phone services that provides the best terms for the countries you need to call. You'll also want to carefully review all the rates and fees in your contract before signing. In addition, your reports should be able to help you estimate your monthly bill.

Many customers of business phone services have reported a variety of issues that you may want to evaluate when setting up your new phone system.

  • Call porting. You can "port" your old business phone number to your new phone system. This is usually not instantaneous, however, and may come with some technical difficulties.
  • Bad sound quality. This could be related to your internet services provider, but it may also be due to your hardware or the service. You'll have to figure out the issue and fix it before it causes problems with your customer support.
  • Number of phone adaptors. While you can use your old, analog phones if paired with adaptors, you'll need one adaptor per phone line. So purchase and lease fees may add up quickly.
  • Power outages. If you use an on-site PBX (private branch exchange), power outages could leave you without service. However, a cloud-based system can be configured to route calls to mobile devices or another call center.
  • Wired versus wireless. You can run Ethernet lines to every phone, or you can use wireless Wi-Fi phones. This option means you must increase the number of routers and charge stations to support the phones.

Be sure to address any concerns you have with your provider before signing a new contract and during the implementation process. Read all of the fine print and disclosures, looking for any hidden fees or disagreeable contract terms.

Updating your phone system is no small task, but in the end, it will help you provide better support for your customers and your contact center team.

Editor's note: If you're looking for information to help you choose the call center that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site BuyerZone provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free.

buyerzone widget
Pamela S. Stevens
Pamela S. Stevens

Pamela has one personal business motto: "If I ever lose money, I quit." And that has not happened yet through the past 20 years and five small businesses. Pamela is a California transplant who now resides in Ogden, Utah, where Business News Daily's parent company, Purch, is headquartered. She started with Purch in 2005 as one of the first writers for Top Ten Reviews (TTR), where she reviewed all types of products including business, security and financial software and services. Now she writes and develops content for all Purch B2B properties, covering a broad range of small business and IT topics. Her formal education includes a degree in Creative Writing and Geography, with a special interest in smart planning and urban development.