A number of vendors have proven success in assisting organizations to develop, implement, and integrate call centers into their corporate customer management structures. Appendix A provides a selected list of these vendors with contact and product or service information. The technology tools offered by these vendors range in price from very expensive licensed solutions, in the range of $200,000 to $300,000, to relatively inexpensive hosted models, averaging $600 to $1,000 per call center position (seat).
Among these tools, it is important to select those that fit the organization's needs and integrate well with existing telephony equipment and current applications. The tools should be compatible with PBX equipment and dispersed data sources from data warehouses, shipping, and customer accounts. Also, the tools selected need to have the capability to handle multiple customer-access channels, such as telephone, Web self-help, e-mail, fax, and Internet chat.
Integrating all these components is time-consuming and expensive; however, it is necessary to the development of an effective call center that is fully responsive to customer interactions. The list of systems and applications that need to be integrated might include the following items:
Data warehousing systems
Disparate relational databases
It is important to select vendor tools that are capable of integrating telephony equipment and software components with all of these systems and applications.