Call centers don’t have mobile apps, and what’s more: they don’t care. That’s the overriding takeaway from GetApp’s first ever product ranking of cloud-based Call Center applications, where mobile apps are nowhere in sight. Only five of the top 25 call center applications have both an iOS and Android app, while three have either one or the other. Compare that to similar product rankings for CRM and Customer Service software– where almost every application has a mobile app– and you’re left wondering why call center software falls so far behind.

Depending on how you look at it, this could make all the sense in the world, or none at all.

Consider scenario number one: the call center, in its most definitive form, is a place for making and receiving calls, whether it be customer support, sales, or technical assistance. Taking into account the continued prevalence of mobile devices and the fact that mobile phones are still, in fact, phones (despite many using them as everything but), having a mobile app for call center software seems like a no-brainer. Using this logic, call center applications without a mobile app seem like a bit of a mystery.

Scenario number two, however, paints a different picture. The classic idea of a call center is one that houses hundreds of employees, possibly overseas, answering calls around the clock, and then washing their hands of work the second they step foot out the door. It’s not an industry that typically requires after-hours work for on-the-ground employees, and having a mobile app would seem pointless, even a nightmare, for a group that want nothing to do with work once they’re off the clock.

In reality, both scenarios are true to some extent.

Take scenario number two: outsourcing and large, on-premise call centers are still popular in many industries where employees don’t necessarily need (or want) access to their call center software outside of the workplace. While a shift from overseas to domestic outsourcing has emerged in recent years, off-premise call centers are still widely popular, whether they’re offshore or not (despite a decrease in call center outsourcing to overseas locations like India or the Philippines, there’s still a huge market for it– business process outsourcing in the Philippines was a $15 billion industry in 2013).

Not even 10 of the top 25 Call Center apps have a mobile version

But this shift isn’t just from overseas to domestic; it’s also from in-house to in-home. This is where scenario one comes back into play. Virtual call centers– ones where call center agents can work from home (or basically any remote location)– offer more flexibility to call center workers. It’s here that a mobile call center application could come in handy, giving employees the opportunity to use a mobile device (tablet or phone) in an environment that’s not bound to an office or set working hours. Similarly, contact centers that offer customer support services beyond just a phone call, including chat and text, would benefit greatly from a mobile application that again gives more flexibility to workers not tied to working from a certain location. Between virtual call centers and something like Airbnb’s revolutionary Portland offices, the traditional call center is clearly no longer the only option.

As COMMfusion president and Principal Analyst Blair Pleasant pointed out in GetApp’s quarterly report, however, “call centers are generally conservative, and they don’t like making change. As much as companies talk about customer experience, it usually comes down to cost savings”.

This could be what’s holding call centers back on the mobile front, but it’ll also be what keeps them behind. The revolution of mobile is only ramping up, and considering that almost 75 percent of people surveyed in a recent GetData study check work data from their mobile devices daily, it’s only a matter of time before mobile hits call centers too.

“Not embracing mobile or at least not dipping your toe in the pool, worries me that these companies aren’t planning on putting customers first” – Russel Lolacher, Communications Consultant and Online Customer Service Expert.

Russel Lolacher, a Communications Consultant and Online Customer Service Expert, weighed in on this lack of mobile apps for call center software by relating it back to the overall customer experience: “I’m quite surprised that call centers aren’t embracing ways to be more accessible… Not embracing mobile or at least not dipping your toe in the pool, worries me that these companies aren’t planning on putting customers first.”

Right now, cloud-based contact centers are on an almost even-playing field when it comes to mobile apps, but the leader in GetApp’s Q1 ranking, Vocalcom, demonstrates the innovative thinking that’ll keep it on top. With a mobile app for iOS and Android and a recent deal with Google to integrate the app into Chrome for Web RTC communication, Vocalcom is already on the cutting edge of cloud-based call center software.

Sooner or later, other call center applications will have to jump on the mobile bandwagon too. The sooner they do, the more ahead of the game they’ll be.

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