What is a Contact Center?

Lauren Bronston | | Return|

We all have experiences with call centers — whether we’d like to or not. But did you know there’s such a thing as a contact center, too? These days organizations are turning to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), which is when a company subcontracts an internal or external operation. For businesses that are looking to improve the performance and efficiency of their customer service, outsourcing a contact center can be extremely beneficial to their bottom line.

What is a Contact Center?

A contact center uses different methods of communication to engage with customers that goes beyond inbound and outbound calls. These methods use a variety of digital platforms like instant messaging, email and live chat to keep up with today’s constant-contact style of communication. In other words, it’s much more omnichannel than you’re average call center, which focuses solely on inbound and outbound phone calls.

Most contact centers are equipped with features designed to optimize call time, distribute calls efficiently and maintain a high customer satisfaction rating by leveraging a variety of technology. Think omnichannel communication, Enhanced Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Universal Queuing and Computer Telephony Integration. If that all sounds like a lot of jargon to you, don’t worry. We’ve explained the features below.

What Is Enhanced IVR?

Enhanced Interactive Voice Response (IVR) allows companies to customize an automated phone system for incoming callers to gain information easily. Just by speaking into the phone or using a keypad, customers can get their questions answered quickly and efficiently. Enhanced IVR even offers special features such as speech recognition, expansive vocabulary and call flow management.

To understand how Enhanced IVR works, imagine this: when you call a store, you may be directed to a prompt that either lets you speak an inquiry or press a number to reach a department, then after you speak or press a number it redirects your call to that department — this is Enhanced IVR put into action.

What Is Universal Queuing?

Universal Queuing places all incoming calls, chats and emails into a single waiting list. This style of call queuing brings consistency and efficiency to both customers and agents. No one gets pushed to the back of the list just because of their preferred mode of communication.

What is CTI?

Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) is the integration of computer and telephone systems to manage telephone calls through computers. When an agent uses CTI, incoming calls will be displayed as a pop-up window detailing the customers information on their computer. Equipped with this information, the agent is better prepared for the conversation, resulting in an increase in efficiency and a decrease in call time.

What Is Omnichannel Communication?

Omnichannel communication is a strategy focused on providing a continuous customer experience across multiple platforms. Whenever a customer interacts with an agent, all information is accessible across different channels, such as voice, text and email, to allow agents to see the complete customer journey. With this detailed customer profile, contact centers can collect trends and metrics and predict future interactions.

Customer Profiling

Every time a customer interacts with a company, they’re adding to a collection of information about their behaviors and preferences. Contact centers compile this information together from each of the aforementioned features to create a detailed, data-driven customer profile. These customer profiles allow for a more comprehensive understanding of the customer, and will allow an organization to adjust to their unique habits, needs and wants.

Want to know more? Be sure to check out 5 Crucial Elements to Look For in a Contact Center to find the right contact center that fits your organization.

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