Your company’s call center is often the first point of contact for potential customers or clients. A well-functioning call center can reduce operating costs, deliver better customer service and create full-featured omnichannel capabilities, all while empowering your employees to perform at their highest level.
Choosing between an on-site call center and a cloud-based service is a matter of preference, and is largely determined by whether your company maintains an Information Technology (IT) department. Both choices have advantages and disadvantages. In either case, the right call center software solution provides seamless transmission of voice, SMS, email, chat and social media communications for both automated and live communications transmission.
For large businesses, on-site enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems represent a major upfront financial investment in both hardware and call center software, which can range well into six figures for a 100-seat call center. By contrast, cloud-based call centers require less upfront investment. However, over time, many companies find that the financial outlay for cloud-based services is higher than an in-house ERP system.
In-house call centers also require ongoing maintenance and updates for both software and hardware. Each component of your company’s hardware must be serviced regularly, at least annually and usually more often. Software for in-house call centers also requires regular updates. In most instances, regular updates can be scheduled during times that are less disruptive to your company’s business — but that does not apply to emergencies. With cloud-based call centers, servicing is the responsibility of the cloud service provider. However, critical delays in servicing problems or extended downtime of the cloud provider can result in substantial losses to your company and its bottom line.
For companies that maintain a dedicated IT department, on-site call center software provides greater latitude to customize to the specific needs of your business, or even create a proprietary system. However, setting up a customized or proprietary system can be a time-consuming process. It is also often more difficult to make needed updates as your company’s needs change over time.
On the other hand, cloud-based systems are generally more stable than customized onsite call center software. Cloud-based software also tends to work more seamlessly with third-party vendors. However, this stability also means that cloud-based call center systems are less flexible, and may be difficult to modify to meet your company’s needs.
Many companies that handle sensitive personal or financial data insist on maintaining an onsite IT system to conform with HIPAA and other data-related security regulations. However, onsite systems are subject to ransomware demands unless the company and/or its IT officers are diligent about maintaining offline backups. With cloud-based call center solutions, security is handled by the vendor. Reputable vendors are very diligent about safeguarding their clients’ data, even meeting HIPAA or other tough standards. However, cloud-based vendors may also be hit with malware or outages that can result in loss of data.
Choosing a Call Center Solution
Your company’s call center is more than a phone bank of operators. Whether taking inbound calls or initiating outbound communications, your company’s call center transmissions are often the first encounter that your company’s customers or clients have. A well-run call center can provide top-notch customer service and empower your company’s employees.
Both onsite and cloud-based call center solutions have advantages and disadvantages regarding cost, security and customization. In general, companies that demand maximum flexibility and customization gravitate toward onsite solutions, while cost-conscious companies often opt for cloud-based call center software. Ultimately, the right choice is the one that is right for your company, your clients and your bottom line.