TL; DR: VICIdial is an open-source, enterprise-grade contact center solution with predictive dialer capabilities for inbound and outbound phone calls. The free software, supported financially by a hosted service and paid support, is used by thousands of companies worldwide. With built-in reporting, customizable features, and tools for handling various customer interactions, the Vicidial Group is working to help customers succeed in an ever-shifting business landscape.
In a world where face-to-face interactions are becoming a rarity, effective business communication is more important than ever. At the heart of most comms solutions is the contact center — a technical system that facilitates engagement between an organization and its customers.
Most contact center suites handle inbound and outbound call routing, inbound email, and website chat functionality within the same user interface. Choosing the right solution is crucial if you’re looking to access a broad selection of powerful features and — most importantly — avoid vendor lock-in.
The only way to guarantee you won’t end up unable to break free from a provider due to high switching costs is to go the open-source route. That’s why VICIdial, an enterprise-grade software solution that’s free to distribute and use, is the open-source contact center of choice for thousands of companies across more than 100 countries.
“The cool thing about VICIdial is that it’s vendor-agnostic,” said Matt Florell, President of the Vicidial Group. “Clients can host their solutions in the cloud or on-premises with any provider.”
The call-handling software, built on the open-source Asterisk PBX System, boasts more than 2,000 features designed to streamline communication, including automatic call recording and predictive dialer capabilities.
With no per-user license fees, the open-source project is supported by cloud server subscriptions sold via VICIhost and paid 24/7 support through the Vicidial Group. Users can switch providers any time, with the choice to host the software on-premises, in the cloud, or in hybrid environments.
Call-Handling Built on the Asterisk PBX System
Matt began building VICIdial as a telephony project in 2003 and still maintains the development today with the help of the open-source community
“The great thing about open-source is that you not only have hundreds of free beta testers out there, but people contribute back to the code, which benefits everybody,” he said.
He launched the Vicidial Group, a company created to provide professional products and services to the VICIdial user community, in 2007. The Vicidial Group began offering the VICIhost hosted call center service that same year.
Since then, the company has grown into an international VICIdial provider, even though it doesn’t provide hosting services outside of the U.S.
“Still, we have quite a few clients that are located outside of the U.S.,” Matt said. “For example, we have an interesting client based in Costa Rica with agents in South America, Africa, the United States, Asia, and Europe. It’s a truly international organization — a Costa Rican company with hosting in the U.S and agents in Africa selling surfboards to people in Germany.”
The company tried two hosting providers — one in Miami and another in Las Vegas — before finding a happy home with VICIhost.
“They just weren’t getting consistent throughput with other providers,” Matt said. “They needed good connections to all their locations. They finally settled on us eight years ago, and they’ve been with us ever since. This is the kind of success story we like to tell.”
From Japanese financial services institutions to political polling centers in the U.S.., a wide range of organizations across the globe trust VICIdial to communicate internally and externally.
Support and Consulting via the Vicidial Group
Besides fast and reliable hosting services, the Vicidial Group provides consulting services and paid support to a diverse customer base. Clients can choose between various support packages, including 24/7 emergency care and pay-as-you-go plans.
The company’s technicians are available for VICIdial training, remote installations, custom feature development, cluster management, configuration support, and system integrations, among other services.
“We provide a lot of troubleshooting help and feature development,” Matt said. “ VICIdial is very complicated, with more than 3,000 settings, but customers often require even more complex features to achieve their goals.”
Matt said the Vicidial Group has recently onboarded several consulting and hosting clients from South Africa. One, in particular, needed a way to facilitate more efficient lead penetration.
“So we built something known as the Call Quota Lead Ranking system to allow leads to be called on consecutive days at different times of the day,” Matt said. “It ensures that calls are made in configurable intervals, such as from 9 a.m. to noon, noon to 3 p.m., and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.”
The Vicidial Group’s experienced professionals are also available to help with Asterisk, general Linux support, network services, and several other areas outside of the VICIdial program.
Free support is available via VICIdial Forums, and the Vicidial.org Wiki is packed with helpful resources. The open-source project also comes with guidance manuals for the agent and admin interface. Both are free upon completion of a short survey.
VICIhost: Infrastructure to Support High-Volume Operations
The Vicihost Group now has 10 full-time and two part-time employees. Most of the company’s income comes from VICIhost.
“We’re not the least expensive option for each VICIdial hosting out there,” Matt said. “A lot of companies offer cheaper packages, but there’s usually a reason for that.”
VICIhost has the experience to keep high-volume systems running well.
“We have a political consulting client that runs three separate clusters, placing more than 1 million phone calls a day,” Matt said. “They were handling over a half-million inbound phone calls, and at peak time, they had 1,600 total agents logged in. That’s something that you really can’t do with any other VICIdial hosting provider.”
VICIhost has hundreds of servers in its Tier III data centers featuring multiple internet backbone connections and redundant power solutions. Dedicated resources are available. Customers can switch hosting providers at any time without concerns about vendor lock-in.
“We have had a few clients start out with self-hosting on-premises, move to our hosted solution, and move back on-premises for one reason or another,” Matt said. “The cool thing is, many realize they don’t want to manage their hosting internally. Usually, they like how our hosted service works and come back to us eventually.”
Helping Customers Succeed in a Changing World
Last year was a challenging one for many VICIdial clients, and the Vicidial Group has been working hard to help clients weather the storm.
“We have an extremely diversified group of customers, so we’ve seen some clients have to scale back, while others have expanded,” Matt said. “We’ve been busy on the consulting side over the past year as a result.”
VICIdial helps support multiple divisions of a large health insurance company that successfully pivoted from in-office agents to a work-from-home set up in 2020.
“They were able to seamlessly move from agents on the floor in buildings owned by the company to agents working at home using web RTC and VPNs to connect to their private backends,” Matt said. “Getting in on Web RTC early has helped our clients work from anywhere.”