Six Technologies Modern Call Centers Shouldn’t Be Without

iStock_000043197226_SmallThe call center is a much more complicated place than it once was. We used to interact with customers solely over the phone, but now we have to be available on multiple channels – mobile, web, social and more.

Technology has changed, to say the least. The pace in which contact center technology is evolving is dizzying, and it be difficult to decide where to invest your technology dollars. Here are six technology trends that have officially moved from new to mainstream. The common denominator? They improve the customer experience and make call centers more efficient. If you’re not looking at these tools and technologies yet, you might be falling behind.

1. Mobile Customer Service

Customers are accustomed to interacting with companies on their smartphones and tablets. These days, they’re surprised when they can’t. Early mobile apps were more transactional in nature – booking reservations, checking account balances, etc. But newer versions incorporate customer service functions, too, allowing people to seek help or support without leaving the app. In-app customer service functions will become increasingly important as consumer behaviors continue to shift. Customers expect to be able to interact with you on the platform of their choice, rather than being redirected to email or your website.

2. Cloud Software 

Cloud call center software has been a game-changer for the industry. It is far more affordable than on-premise software, and it offers new features and advanced functionality such as customer chat. Cloud software has also enabled remote agents, making it easier for call centers to attract and retain talented employees without the constraints of geography. Other benefits include scalability, speed of deployment and reduced IT costs.

3. Automatic Callbacks

Your customers will most certainly thank you for this one. Rather than waiting on hold – which is every customer’s nightmare and a major source of complaints about call centers – customers can choose to put their number in queue and receive a return call when an agent is available to help them. No more listening to elevator music for 20 minutes. This also improves the lives of your agents – they’ll deal with happier customers on the other end of the line.

4. Social Media 

Even some giant brands have struggled to figure out how social media can be used for customer service. They use Facebook, Twitter and more for marketing, but they don’t understand that it has to be broader than that. Customers want social media to be a two-way street. They don’t want to be blasted with marketing messages while their complaints are ignored. This also goes back to the idea that customers want to interact on their platform of choice. If they complain on Twitter, they want to hear back from you on Twitter. They don’t want you to simply direct them to call or email customer service. Need some inspiration in this category? Check out how brands like Zappos and Dell have made social customer service work.

5. Virtual Agents

Human interaction isn’t needed with every communication. For simpler customer service requests, virtual agents can solve the problem without wasting manpower. Virtual agents use artificial intelligence – similar to Siri and others – to answer questions. They can be less frustrating for customers than IVR because the interaction can be more complex. However, virtual agents are not replacing IVR altogether, which is still effective for basic call routing.

6. Video 

Video has long been talked about for its potential customer service applications, but the idea is finally taking hold and being put to use. There’s video chat with customer service agents, of course, but there are also more creative uses. Agents can send troubleshooting videos to help address customer problems, for example, or an instructional video on how to activate a product or device.

Kunnect sells 100% cloud-based call center software that includes a predictive dialer to businesses and political campaigns. Our software, hosted seamlessly in the Amazon platform, manages all inbound and outbound calling for a flat rate of $125 per agent per month with a flat deposit of $125 per user. There are no hidden fees. In addition to the predictive dialer, features include: inbound and outbound calling, CRM integration, call scripting, call recording, ACD, skills-based routing, IVR, live monitoring, real-time statistics, historical reporting and more. 

Learn how Kunnect can help you, why not get in touch with us? >>>Contact us

Cloud Call Center Software Pricing: Unraveling the Mystery

cloud computingThere are many different ways to price the same thing. You find that in every industry. Some restaurants sell sides a la carte, while others include them in the price of the dish. Some smartphone phone plans offer unlimited minutes and data, while others have limits and impose fees for exceeding them.

The cloud software industry is no different. With cloud call center software, sometimes a flat monthly fee covers all the features you need, and in other cases you might be billed extra for calling or advanced features like predictive dialing. This can make it confusing to compare vendors in an apples-to-oranges kind of way, and to figure out which offers the best bang for your buck.

To demystify things a bit, we’ll break down the pros and cons of three common pricing structures to help you decide which makes the most sense for you.

Flat monthly fees 

If predictable pricing is your goal, this is the way to go. These vendors offer a flat monthly fee for each agent that includes all features. In most cases, there’s also some sort of flat per-agent deposit required upfront. There’s no clear downside to this route as long as the flat fee and deposit you’re quoted are fair and affordable. Flat fees make for easier budgeting, and you’ll never be surprised by the bill. Still, even if a vendor advertises a flat fee, make sure to find out which features are included in the price. Not all vendors offer the same set of features. And some vendors offer a few different flat-fee plans with varying features.

Per-minute fees

Other cloud call center vendors offer per-minute pricing. Typically, there’s a monthly fee that includes all call center features but caps your telecom minutes at a certain number. Vendors that price this way usually have several tiers of plans based on the number of minutes you expect to use each month. If you go over, additional per-minute fees are charged. This is a reasonable choice if your monthly minutes are consistent and predictable (and you like what the particular vendor has to offer in terms of features). In that case, the cost should be about the same every month. However, if your minutes fluctuate from month to month, this probably isn’t the way to go. Keep in mind, too, that many vendors tack on additional fees for international calls.

Flat fee plus minutes 

Here’s where it gets even more confusing. These vendors advertise a flat monthly fee that looks low, then tack on additional telecom fees for each minute. Keep in mind, a fee is not truly flat if there are additional charges of any kind. Generally, this fee structure is only a good idea if your call center volume is very low and will stay that way. In that case, the approach keeps monthly costs down. But if your call center volume is higher or fluctuates, don’t go this route. You’re apt to see some shocking bills at the end of the month.

Other considerations

In addition to the pricing structure, we can’t emphasize enough that it’s important to find out exactly which features are included in the monthly price you’re quoted before making a decision. A low rate is not a good deal if it doesn’t come with the functionality your call center needs. For example, some vendors don’t offer predictive dialing at all, while others charge extra for them.

Other questions to ask the vendor include:

  • Is a deposit required, and if so how much?
  • Is there any sort of monthly minimum?
  • Do I have to sign an annual contract to get this price, or is it a month-to-month plan?
  • Are software upgrades included in the price?

ABOUT US: Kunnect sells 100% cloud-based call center software that includes a predictive dialer to businesses and political campaigns. Our software, hosted seamlessly in the Amazon platform, manages all inbound and outbound calling for a flat rate of $125 per agent per month with a flat deposit of $125 per user. There are no hidden fees. In addition to the predictive dialer, features include: inbound and outbound calling, CRM integration, call scripting, call recording, ACD, skills-based routing, IVR, live monitoring, real-time statistics, historical reporting and more. 

Learn how Kunnect can help you, why not get in touch with us? >>>Contact us

How Much Does Cloud-Based Call Center Software Cost?

Comparing Pricing and Features Among Top Vendors

Dollar symbol in handsContact centers are increasingly moving to the cloud for the convenience, flexibility and affordability it provides. However, shopping for cloud-based call center software can be tough. Many vendors do not publish their prices online, and some are not transparent about which features are included in their plans and which cost extra.

This presents a problem for buyers because it can take days, weeks, or even months of legwork to get enough information to compare products. We wanted to simplify the process, so we contacted various vendors and conducted extensive web research to get a sense of what our competitors are charging and how fees are structured. We couldn’t get every piece of information from every vendor, but we were able to collect more detailed information than what you’ll find anywhere else on the web.


Pricing structure: Monthly per-agent fee, plus additional telecom fees for calls outside of the continental United States

Cost: The blended call center product, which includes inbound and outbound calling and all features below, costs $165 a month per agent if you have more than 10 agents and $175 per agent if you have fewer than 10. One-time setup fee of $250.

Features offered: CTI and screen pop; VoIP; power dialer; interactive voice response (IVR); progression dialer; automatic call distributor (ACD); preview dialer; skills-based routing; web callback; queue callback; campaign and list management; CRM integration; text-to-speech; cloud APIs; real-time reporting and dashboards; 10-plus standard reports; predictive dialer; social customer care; mobile customer care

Features not included in monthly price: Calling outside the continental U.S.

Transparency: Medium to high

Five9 does not disclose pricing on its website. When we contacted the call center, the agent was helpful and straightforward about pricing and features. She also provided her direct line for future inquiries.


Pricing structure: Flat monthly fee that varies based on features

Cost: $35 to $185 per agent per month, depending on features

Features offered: IVR; ACD; call monitoring, reporting and recording; dashboards; queue management; and more

Features not included in monthly price: Telax does not offer a predictive dialer, so that is not included in any plan. The lowest-priced plans include basic inbound and outbound calling, basic auto attendant, and a few additional features. More expensive plans include the full range of features.

Transparency: Medium to high

Telax is clear about the fact that it offers a flat monthly fee for each agent, and it guarantees there are no hidden costs. Pricing is not published online, and an agent via web chat would not disclose it. However, a call to the customer service line resulted in detailed info. The agent was friendly and helpful.

As a side note, Telax advertises that it is the “only contact center solution in the world with a fixed-firm price.” However, other a few other vendors offer fixed pricing, too.


Pricing structure: Billed on a per-minute basis; tiered pricing plans include a preset number of minutes


  • PRO – $599 a month for 20,000 minutes/text
  • STARTUP – $199 a month for 5,500 minutes/texts
  • LITE – $99 per month for 2,500 minutes/texts
  • PAY-AS-YOU-GO: $0.05 per minute/text. Local or toll-free numbers can be rented for $1.75 to $3 per month, depending on your plan

Features offered: Single-line autodialer; contact upload; unlimited call transfers; call dispositions and statistics; campaign and list management; customer history and notes; real-time reporting; APIs; CRM integration support; and more

Features not included in monthly price: None

Transparency: High

CallFire publishes its rates on the website, and an agent was happy to help explain pricing and features via web chat. He explained that the price is strictly based on the number of minutes used. It doesn’t matter how many agents are working as long as the minutes are not exceeded. There are no setup fees, and IVR and autodialer are included in the price, he said.

8×8 Virtual Contact Center

Pricing structure: Fixed monthly price, but varies depending on features

Cost: $115-$185 per agent per month, depending on features

Features offered: Skills-based routing; IVR; desktop sharing; web callback; call recording; real-time reporting; historical reporting; real-time monitoring; CRM integration; virtual queue; and more

Features not included in monthly price: Unclear

Transparency: Medium

Like many vendors, 8×8 also does not publish prices on its website. The customer service representative we spoke with was willing to provide a price range for monthly service, but she would not specify whether there are setup fees. We were also unable to get a clear idea of what features are offered at which price points.


Pricing structure: Fixed price per agent for the core platform with additional fees for additional features

Cost: Unknown monthly per-agent fees based on services; $2,000 a month minimum for all customers, regardless of the number of agents

Features offered: Multi-channel ACD; speech-enabled IVR; CRM and CTI integration; customer feedback; predictive dialer; reporting and analytics; workforce management; quality management; network connectivity; disaster recovery; free software updates twice annually

Features not included in monthly price: The core platform includes features such as ACD, IVR, reporting, a predictive dialer, self-service and more. However, we could not get a clear picture of exactly what it does not include.

Transparency: Medium

InContact does not list prices on the website. The customer service agent shared the $2,000 a month minimum, and mentioned that the product usually only makes sense of companies with 15 agents or more. He did not share the per-agent, per-month price, saying that is dependent on the features that are selected and the needs of the business. He referred us to a member of the sales team for specifics.

As a side note, this customer service agent was one of the friendliest and most helpful we encountered. He was forthcoming about the fact that inContact may not make financial sense for very small companies. He spent a significant amount of time on the phone walking us through features, options and scalability of the product.

Interactive Intelligence

Pricing structure: Fixed monthly price

Cost: Unknown. However, the company does offer three tiers of its cloud software: CaaS Small Center for businesses with 10-50 agents; CaaS for 25-5,000 agents; and PureCloud for companies with 10-unlimited agents.

Features offered: Multichannel routing (voice, email, chat); IVR; speech recognition; multi-channel recording; predictive dialer; quality management, real-time speech analytics; post-call and IVR surveys; Salesforce integration; supervisor and reporting applications; mobility; and more

Features not included in monthly price: Unknown

Transparency: Low (as far as we can tell)

Interactive Intelligence does not list prices online. We tried twice to initiate a web chat for details. The first time, the chat tried reaching four agents, each of whom did not answer, and then we were put in queue with an estimated a one-minute wait time. That was 3:26 p.m. The session timed out at 4:05, still without a response to our first question. The second time, an agent joined the chat four minutes after we initiated it, then quickly signed off. The marketing department sent a follow-up email with links to the plan information we found online, but no specific details. We later called customer service but sat on hold for 25-plus minutes without a response. (Note: After this blog was complete, a representative did leave a message trying to get back in touch.)


Pricing structure: Flat per-agent monthly rate, plus additional per-minute fees for calling

Cost: The monthly rates if you agree to annual contract are:

  • BASIC – $15 a month per agent; suited for small businesses
  • PROFESSIONAL – $25 per agent per month; SMB market
  • ENTERPRISE – $45 per agent per month; large businesses

Incoming calls cost $0.02 per minute and outbound calls cost $0.03 per minute. Those are U.S. and Canadian rates only; international calls have different and unpublished rates.

Features offered: IVR; built-in CRM; call queues; skills-based routing; team dashboards; a wide variety of software and email integrations; and more

Features not included in monthly price: Depends on the plan you choose. Click here for a side-by-side comparison of the features that come with various plans. None of the plans include calling fees or a predictive dialer.

Transparency: Medium to high

TalkDesk clearly states its prices on the website, and the side-by-side comparison of features is very useful for deciding what tier of service meets your needs. The only downside is that the per-minute pricing and the lack of a predictive dialer make your monthly costs difficult to predict in advance. However, the company does say it plans to add a predictive dialer down the road.

Kunnect sells 100% cloud-based call center software that includes a predictive dialer to businesses and political campaigns. Our software, hosted seamlessly in the Amazon platform, manages all inbound and outbound calling for a flat rate of $125 per agent per month with a flat deposit of $125 per user. There are no hidden fees. In addition to the predictive dialer, features include: inbound and outbound calling, CRM integration, call scripting, call recording, ACD, skills-based routing, IVR, live monitoring, real-time statistics, historical reporting and more. 






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How the Cloud Can Make Your Small Business Function Like A Big One

cloud computingBefore a customer calls your business, there’s a good chance he or she might not know much about the scale of the operation. Who’s to say whether they’re calling a home office or a call center with 200 agents?

What happens when someone picks up is what tells that story – and what strongly influences a customer’s perception of your business in terms of size, credibility and professionalism. If someone picks up and yells “Hello?!” with the dog barking in the background, the brand is instantly tarnished.

One of the ways to grow your small businesses into a much larger one is to give the appearance of a larger and more professional operation. Purchasing cloud-based call center software can affordably get you there.

The cloud: removing technology barriers

The cloud has narrowed the technology gap between small and large businesses. Software that was once available only to big businesses is now accessible – and affordable – for companies with 50 or fewer employees.

Because cloud-based software is delivered over the Internet, there is no expensive hardware or software to install. That brings costs down considerably. Small businesses can purchase cloud-based software with the same features as traditional on-premise software for a low monthly fee. In most cases, no long-term commitment is required and upfront expenses are small.

As Dan Levin, chief operating officer of Box, told the Huffington post: “Now, for the first time, there is a technology available that doesn’t require hardware or technical expertise and gives small companies the same technology as a big company. That gets rid of the technology advantage, and that’s a huge change.”

How will cloud call center software help my business?

Cloud-based call center software streamlines all of your inbound and outbound calling. Features include predictive dialers, automated answering, call routing, call prioritizing, CRM software integration, real-time statistics and reporting, live call monitoring, web scripting, queue management and more.

For inbound calls, the software puts an end to callers being bounced around from one extension to another until they find the right person to answer their question or address their issue. Rather than a live person picking up, the automated system directs the caller to choose the appropriate department. For very small businesses, this might be all you use – at first. But at a cost of $100 to $200 per month, in most cases, that’s OK. Your callers will get the impression that they’re calling a larger, established company.

Businesses that have moved beyond that startup or micro-business phase will benefit from more advanced features that increase productivity. A predictive dialer can speed up sales calls by automatically dialing phone numbers and only routing the call to a sales person when/if someone picks up. Call prioritizing ensures that customers with product issues reach a customer service rep in a timely fashion. CRM integration allows you to incorporate calling features with your existing software and track the history of customer interactions. The list goes on.

Generally, you’ll provide a more streamlined experience for your customers and improve internal efficiency. Aside from cost, cloud-based call center software is ideal for small businesses because it is scalable. If you only have three people in customer service, buy only the three licenses you need. When the business expands, add more licenses with a quick phone call to the software vendor. With expensive on-premise call center software, businesses had to purchase enough hardware and licenses to account for future growth, which priced many of them out of the market.

Kunnect sells 100% cloud-based call center software that includes a predictive dialer to businesses and political campaigns. Our software, hosted seamlessly in the Amazon platform, manages all inbound and outbound calling for a flat rate of $125 per agent per month with a flat deposit of $125 per user.

Learn how Kunnect can help you, why not get in touch with us? >>>Contact us

Five Reasons My Small Business Should Move to the Cloud

iStock_000040644242_SmallCloud-based technologies have taken off among small and large businesses alike, but it’s the smaller businesses that stand to gain the most. For the first time, the cloud has made complex business software and applications accessible and affordable for companies with fewer than 50 employees.

Whether you’re still operating mostly on paper or you’re looking to transition from basic office applications like Gmail and Quickbooks to more sophisticated software, the cloud has a lot to offer small businesses in terms of features and cost. Here are five of the best reasons to finally make the move.

Enterprise-level technology

The cloud makes it possible for small businesses to function like much larger ones. There are cloud software products and applications for just about every business function, from marketing and lead generation, to payroll services, to managing your call center operations. These products offer the same features as much more expensive on-premise software, which is installed on site and managed by an in-house IT staff.

How can you get the same features for a much lower price? The method of delivery. Cloud providers sell software as a service, not a product. Because the software is delivered over the Internet, there’s no expensive on-site hardware and software to install, and there’s little if any in-house IT work required.

Predictable monthly payments

Many cloud-based providers charge a flat monthly fee. That means there are no surprises when it comes to cost. You know exactly what you’ll be paying each month, which allows for better budgeting. However, it is important to note that some vendors advertise low monthly fees and then tack on extra charges for additional features. Always find out exactly what the advertised price includes. If you can, go with a vendor that offers a completely flat rate with no hidden charges.

Small upfront investment

One of the biggest draws to cloud-based software is that it requires very little money upfront. Traditional on-premise software often requires tens of thousands or more in upfront costs for the purchase and installation of hardware and software. Because cloud requires no on-site installation, those costs don’t exist. In many cases, startup fees are $100 to $200 for each software user.

Reduced IT tasks

Many small businesses have tiny or nonexistent IT resources. Even if they can afford on-premise software, they don’t have the in-house IT staff to update and manage it. Cloud software providers handle the technical aspects for you, which saves time and money. There’s no need to hire an in-house IT specialist or shell out big bucks for an outside consultant.

No long-term commitment

When you buy on-premise software, you’re stuck with it for a long time. Chances are, you’re not going to spend tens of thousands on hardware, software and installation, then switch vendors a year later. This ties you to a product longer than you’d like, and, in many cases, it ties you to a product long after it is out of date or obsolete.

Cloud-based software vendors usually do not require a long-term commitment, so you can cancel at any time. Most offer month-to-month plans, making it easy to switch vendors if you’re not happy. Signing a one-year contract will usually score you a discount, but don’t commit before you’ve thoroughly researched the product and have completed a demo. Even better, try the software for a month and then consider a contract.

Kunnect sells 100% cloud-based call center software that includes a predictive dialer to businesses and political campaigns. Our software, hosted seamlessly in the Amazon platform, manages all inbound and outbound calling for a flat rate of $125 per agent per month with a flat deposit of $125 per user.

Learn how Kunnect can help you, why not get in touch with us? >>>Contact us

Seven Characteristics of Great Customer Service Agents 


If you’re dialed in to the world of contact centers and customer service, chances are you’ve seen this great infographic by now. In the complex world of modern call centers, agents need a whole set of skills their predecessors didn’t.

We’ve combined the old and new for this list, pairing classic traits that have always made for great call center agents with skills that have become crucial in the modern world of technology and high customer service expectations.

  • Personable - Call center agents need to be not only outgoing, but personable in their exchanges. Simply being talkative is not enough; they need to pleasant and understand the art of conversation. They also need to be genuinely empathetic when customers are unhappy or upset.
  • Great listener - Piggybacking on the art of conversation, call center agents need to really listen to a customer’s problems, complaints or concerns. Listening is the only way they’ll be able to come up with good solutions.
  • Tech savvy – Modern call centers rely on considerable technology, not just phones. Agents have to be technical enough to learn and navigate complex software. Technical issues that delay the call will only frustrate customers further. They should also be skilled in social media, which is an increasingly important component of customer service.
  • Patient – Hot heads need not apply. Customer service agents, unfortunately, have to deal with angry or irate customers. That’s never fun, but they can’t lose their cool. Agents have to know how to stay levelheaded.
  • Flexible - Sometimes call center jobs come with oddball hours. New agents might have to work the second shift or overnight. They might get stuck on a complicated call and not be able to leave the minute their shift ends.
  • Trustworthy – Call center agents almost always have access to personal or sensitive customer information. It’s crucial to find people who can be trusted not to misuse or steal this information.
  • Innovative - In the modern call center, sticking to the script doesn’t fly with customers. Agents need to be able to think on their feet to come up with creative solutions to problems. Of course, this also involves the company empowering them and giving them room to make decisions.

Should call center agents earn more money?

Given all that’s expected of modern call center agents, is it fair that they make a median salary of about $30,000, or $14 an hour? We’re asking them not only to be patient and personable, but tech savvy, innovative and flexible. The required skill set has changed and grown, but salaries have not kept pace.

In an environment as cost-conscious as the call center, it’s not always possible to pay employees considerably more. However, it’s interesting to note that other industries have noticed a direct, measurable correlation between increased salaries and increased sales. A study of a 500-store retailer, cited in The New York Times earlier this year, found that for every additional $1 spent on employee salaries, sales grew anywhere from $4 to $28.

Companies that can’t raise call center salaries can offer other financial incentives to keep skilled employees and reduce turnover, including performance bonuses for high customer service ratings. Operations managers should also have strong programs in place to promote skilled agents to supervisors, a position that earns a median salary of about $45,000, and often more.

Kunnect sells 100% cloud-based call center software that includes a predictive dialer to businesses and political campaigns. Our software, hosted seamlessly in the Amazon platform, manages all inbound and outbound calling for a flat rate of $125 per agent per month with a flat deposit of $125 per user.

Learn how Kunnect can help you, why not get in touch with us? >>>Contact us

Why Amazon Is the Best Cloud Platform for Call Centers

cloud computingA lot can change in two decades. A company that started out as a simple online bookstore grew to be one of the world’s largest online retailers, selling just about everything you could imagine at discounted prices. Then, in 2006, Amazon decided to dabble in a whole new world: IT infrastructure.

The whole thing happened sort of by accident. According to Kevin Davis, IT account manager at NPI, Amazon realized after a decade of building and running its own highly scalable web application that it had a knack for operating massive IT infrastructure and data centers. Thus, Amazon Web Services was born.

Today, AWS has hundreds of thousands of clients, including major names like Netflix, Expedia, Pinterest and Instagram. Their cloud-based platform powers businesses IT operations around the world for much less than it would cost the companies to install their own servers and other IT infrastructure.

Benefits of cloud hosting

Kunnect’s software, like all kinds of software around the world, is hosted in the Amazon cloud platform. That means Amazon powers the web infrastructure on its vast network of servers spread across five continents.

The advantages to cloud hosting are:

  • Low cost - Most platforms offer pay-as-you-go pricing with no upfront expenses or commitments. Cancel at any time. Also, costs are variable based on the scale of your business. Pay for as much or as little as you need.
  • No downtimes – Cloud hosting means you have access to hundreds or thousands of servers, not just one. This ensures that you always have the computing power you need without worrying about server malfunctions. A single down server won’t affect you.
  • No waiting – Cloud hosting allows for instant access to the vast network of servers. There’s no waiting to procure and install servers.
  • No guesswork - Building your own infrastructure involves figuring out how much data center capacity you need, which can be tough, particularly for growing businesses. Cloud hosting allows you access to as few or as many servers as you need.

Pros and Cons of Amazon Web Services 

Amazon Web Services was the first to market with a cloud offering, and the company has emerged as the market leader in cloud computing. The benefits of AWS, compared to the competition, include:

  • More computing power – AWS has five times the capacity of other leading providers combined.
  • Software compatibility – The biggest software vendors, including names like Microsoft, Adobe and Oracle, have made their products available on AWS. AWS has also partnered with the largest system integrators.
  • Compliance - AWS has most of the standard compliance certifications, including HIPAA, SOC 1/SSAE 16/ISAE 3402 (formerly SAS70), SOC 2, SOC 3, PCI DSS Level 1, ISO 27001, FedRAMP, DIACAP and FISMA, ITAR, FIPS 140-2, CSA and MPAA.
  • Market history – AWS has eight years of experience in the industry – a long time in terms of cloud hosting. The product is reliable and the network of data centers is vast.
  • Instant access – Anticipating higher than normal use? You can spin up server capacity instantly in anticipation.

No product is perfect, however. Disadvantages include:

  • Steep learning curve – AWS can be complex to set up and use, particularly for large companies with complex needs.
  • Support – Enterprise-level support is not included in the price. That will cost you about an extra 10 percent. Support can also be more difficult for small and mid-size businesses.
  • Billing – Many customers say the billing is confusing. The cost is based on three things: the location of the data center providing service, the volume of service and the performance of the service. Looking for more guidance on understanding billing? Check out this TechTarget guide.

Kunnect sells 100% cloud-based call center software that includes a predictive dialer to businesses and political campaigns. Our software, hosted seamlessly in the Amazon platform, manages all inbound and outbound calling for a flat rate of $125 per agent per month with a flat deposit of $125 per user.

Learn how Kunnect can help you, why not get in touch with us? >>>Contact us

How to Integrate the Cloud Into Your Existing Business Model

iStock_000043197226_SmallSo you’re ready to transition to the cloud. Perhaps you’ve heard from other businesses about the benefits, including low cost, advanced features and flexibility. But where do you start?

That’s a tricky question to answer because it depends on the type business, to some extent. But for this blog, we’ll assume you’re a small to mid-size business looking to incorporate public cloud for the first time.

Do your research

We hear about the cloud all the time these days, but more people than would like to admit it don’t understand exactly what the cloud is and how it benefits business. If you’re in this group, that’s perfectly OK. It just means you’ll need to do some research first. It’s impossible to make good purchasing decisions if you don’t understand what the cloud can do for your business operations.

Here’s a great PC Magazine article that offers a simple explanation, including the difference between consumer and business cloud products. This guide from Explore B2B is a great resource, too.

In simplest terms, the cloud allows you to carry out essential business functions via an Internet connection. Rather than purchasing expensive hardware and software and installing it on site, the software is provided as a service over the Internet. Cloud-based software makes enterprise-level features available to smaller businesses at much lower price. It also allows companies to access business data from any device or location, not just a single computer.

Develop a strategy

Cloud technology is an umbrella term, but there are thousands of products that perform various business tasks, from storing and backing up data to invoicing to product tracking. You can find a cloud tool for just about every business function imaginable, and many tools offer a wide range of functions. A single software product might handle invoicing, expense management and project tracking.

Because there are so many options, it’s important to decide what you want the technology to do. Maybe your accounting software is installed and managed on a single computer or server and you want to make it accessible on multiple devices via the cloud. Perhaps you’re looking for a customer service tool that offers reporting and analytics, data sharing across departments, email marketing and more. The type of cloud-based software you purchase completely depends on your needs. For many companies, more than one product is needed.

Start comparing products

Once you know what you want to do with cloud technology, you can start shopping for products. Companies like Software Advice can answer some of your basic questions and recommend appropriate vendors. Always request a demo of any software product you’re considering. That’s the only way to gauge whether it’s user-friendly and meets your company’s needs.

For small businesses that have no idea where to start, this PC Mag list of the top 20 cloud-based software products is helpful. It covers features and pricing for the most popular cloud products for small businesses.

Take your time — and scrutinize

Finding the right cloud product might take several weeks. This is a not a process that should be rushed. Sure, most cloud providers won’t force you to sign a long-term contract, but you’re better off finding the right product the first time around. Switching means getting used to a new system all over again.

In addition to functionality, pay attention to security. If your data will be housed in a public cloud, find out how the company secures it. Is the vendor compliant with data security standards and, if so, which ones? Data security is more important than ever in the wake of large-scale breaches. Most cloud-based products are highly secure – otherwise the vendors wouldn’t be able to compete in this security-conscious market – but it’s important to verify that.

Finally, pay careful attention to the pricing structure. Some cloud-based call center software vendors, for example, advertise low upfront fees but tack on additional hidden expenses for extra features or telecom. Find out exactly what’s included in the monthly price you are quoted to avoid billing surprises.

Kunnect sells 100% cloud-based call center software that includes a predictive dialer to businesses and political campaigns. Our software, hosted in the Amazon platform, seamlessly manages all inbound and outbound calling for a flat rate of $125 per agent per month with a flat deposit of $125 per user.

Learn how Kunnect can help you, why not get in touch with us? >>>Contact us

Five Better Ways to Measure Success in Your Call Center

management-tools-measure-successThe traditonal benchmarks for measuring success in the call center are pretty well ingrained, and old habits are hard to break. But call centers – and the whole notion of customer service – have changed drastically, particularly in the last few years. To keep up with the times, and to keep your customers and employees happy, it’s time to shift the way you think.

Before: Call length

Better: Customer satisfaction 

Patting yourself on the back for reducing the average call length? Probably, given that’s always been considered a measure of success. Shorter talk times mean shorter wait times and happier customers, right? Not always.

Sure, paying attention to call length is important. Unusually long calls could indicate that customers are having trouble getting the resolution they need. However, pushing employees to get off the phone faster is a slippery slope. They might be short-changing the customer in terms of service just to get better numbers. You’re better off prioritizing and rewarding customer service benchmarks and bringing up call times only if they become a problem.

Before: Low salaries

Better: Strong retention

There’s constant pressure in the contact center to keep costs down, and many companies do this by keeping salaries low. There’s a limit to how much you can spend on wages, of course, but when your wages are not competitive you’re going to see high turnover, which can be even more costly. The Center for American Progress estimates that for each $30,000 employee lost, most companies spend more than $5,000 in recruiting, hiring and training costs. 

Before: Reactive Customer Service

Better: Proactive Customer Service

Call centers were designed around waiting for the customer to come to you with a problem or question. In the modern world of social media and high customer expectations, you need to be seeking out the customer, too. The most successful contact centers proactively reach out to customers through social media, email marketing and more to address problems as early as possible. Respond to customer complaints on Twitter and Facebook, offering solutions to the problem, and send customer feedback surveys via email to gauge satisfaction.

Before: Script memorization

Better: Improv skills

Your customers don’t want to speak to robots; they want to chat with empathetic people who can offer creative solutions. If your call center agents are reading from a script, they’re not going to come off as caring, and they lose the ability to think on their feet. Some operations managers are going as far as bringing in an expert to teach their agents improv skills. You don’t have to go that route, per say, but you should train agents not to read word for word. Empower them to take a more natural approach.

Before: Dispute resolution

Better: Exceeding expectations

Solving a customer’s problem used to be enough. Service isn’t working? Fix the issue. Shipment didn’t arrive? Resend the product. These solutions will probably keep you from losing the customer, but they don’t boost your brand.

The modern customer wants more, and they appreciate brands that go above and beyond to make them happy. These are the brands they Tweet about, praise on Facebook and recommend to their friends. Talking to a customer who needs a shipment of contacts before vacation? Overnight them for free. A customer who returned a defective item? Offer 15 percent off the next purchase. The money you spend (or lose) will pay for itself in positive brand exposure.

Kunnect sells 100% cloud-based call center software that includes a predictive dialer to businesses and political campaigns. Our software, hosted in the Amazon platform, seamlessly manages all inbound and outbound calling for a flat rate of $125 per agent per month with a flat deposit of $125 per user.

Learn how Kunnect can help you, why not get in touch with us? >>>Contact us

Removing the Office: How the Cloud Enables SMB Call Centers


The traditional idea of what a call center has to be is fast going out the window. You don’t need a giant room filled with cubicles and agents anymore. You don’t even need everyone to be in the same city or country.

Thanks to the cloud, a modern call center can be something as simple as a handful of agents answering phones from their home offices. Cloud technology makes it possible to operate like you have a call center — without one.

How the cloud transformed IT for SMBs

Not so long ago, opening a call center meant buying or renting a building big enough to house it, hiring a slew of local agents, and purchasing expensive call center hardware and software. Many SMBs were priced out of the market simply due to the startup costs – tens or hundreds of thousands.

Enter the cloud, a novel idea to deliver software as a service, rather than a product. Software is delivered via the Internet, removing the need for on-site hardware and software installation. The cloud, though it took some time to catch on, emerged as a technology equalizer, making sophisticated software and applications available to smaller businesses, not just the big guys. It allowed smaller players to have a chance among big competitors.

Cloud technologies have grown popular with SMBs not just because of the cost, but because they provide flexibility and require little maintenance. The systems can be scaled up or down as needed, and they require minimal or no in-house IT support. Major corporations are moving this way too, as they look to trim IT costs and become more nimble. Some 84 percent of major enterprises who participated in a RightScale survey earlier this year said they were either actively working on cloud projects or already using cloud.

The future of call center operations in the cloud

Cloud-based call center software is available with the same features as on-premise software, including predictive dialers, auto attendants, call recording, call monitoring, CRM integration, web scripting and queue management. Your customers won’t be able to tell the difference. One differentiator, aside from cost and flexibility, is that while on-premise software won’t work when the phones are out, cloud-based software won’t work if the Internet is down.

One of the biggest motivators for moving to cloud-based call center software is that it enables a remote workforce. Customer service employees across multiple locations can work together as if they were in the same room (minus the water cooler talk). Companies can expand their workforce to other geographic locations – and a larger talent pool – because agents can work from home.

In theory, the cloud could eventually make traditional call centers a thing of the past. Major companies like Dell have already started closing call centers and instructing employees to work from home. For SMBs, the advantage is never having to open a traditional call center in the first place.

Does a remote call center workforce hurt productivity?

Not if it’s properly run. Studies have shown that at-home agents are actually more productive because they feel more empowered. And widening your geographic base opens up opportunities to find the best and most motivated workers. The hiring process can be more selective.

Even though managers won’t be standing in the same room as their call center agents, cloud software monitors an agent’s activities. If an agent skips out to the beach and stops answering calls, you’re going to know right away.

Kunnect sells 100% cloud-based call center software that includes a predictive dialer to businesses and political campaigns. Our software, hosted in the Amazon platform, seamlessly manages all inbound and outbound calling for a flat rate of $125 per agent per month with a flat deposit of $125 per user.

Learn how Kunnect can help you, why not get in touch with us? >>>Contact us