At the slightest mention of the contact center, what comes to the mind of many people is a call center but there is a difference between the two. We will discuss in this piece, contact center solutions and how important they are to businesses and the society at large. A contact center, also known as e-contact center or customer interaction center, is the part of an organization that manages all the customers’ contacts. This is a core part of an organization’s overall customer relationship management (CRM). This is usually a specialized office set up for the purpose of interchanging requests in large volumes with the aid of the telephone. Contact centers are operated by companies to answer questions fielded by customers about products or generally administer any inquiry they may make. Call centers also make calls for debt collection and also telemarketing. Any center that handles letters, e-mails, and faxes in addition to handling calls, may be referred to as a contact center.
Call center agents often operate call centers through a large and open workspace with each agent having a computer system, telephone/headset connected to a telecom switch as a workstation as well as a few supervisor booths. Call centers can work independently or interdependently with other stations through interconnections lined by micro-computers, LANs, mainframes, etc. Computer telephony integration (CTI) is the new technology that links voice and data pathways in the center.
FEATURES OF CALL CENTER SOLUTIONS
- CALL RECORDING
Call recording by call centers gives operators and supervisors the ability to store calls as audio files which can be useful in monitoring and training staff.
- AUTOMATIC CALL DISTRIBUTION (ACD)
All call centers usually have a form of ACD. This system saves time by automatically routing calls to relevant individuals.
- COMPUTER TELEPHONY INTEGRATION (CTI)
These systems make desktops computers operate as telephone systems. This software makes the computer to provide caller information and display all call-related functions.
- INTERACTIVE VOICE RESPONSE (IVR)
With this, callers can easily route themselves to specific departments whose services they may require.
- LIVE CALL COACHING
With live call coaching, a third person is allowed to interact with the operator and the caller won’t know anything about it. This supports mentoring and training.
- PREDICTIVE DIALER
This helps call centers that make lots of outgoing calls to simultaneously call a list of phone numbers.
- CONTACT MANAGEMENT
With the aid of these systems, different calls can be tagged and saved with relevant information attached to the call file.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONTACT CENTER AND CALL CENTER
Contact centers are the focal point for managing customer services and relations across many channels ranging from phone, live chat, e-mail, etc. The team that communicates with customers uses a central software that handles conversation that may come in from any channel. On the other hand, a call center is a communication point that only handles conversations through the telephone channel.
Other disparities include:
- OMNICHANNEL QUEUE MANAGEMENT
Contact center software utilizes queue management in the management of conversations that comes in through all channels. With this, all incoming requests are viewed from a single platform that automatically distributes the work across the team with intelligent routing based on the skillset of agents and their idle time. Contact center solutions also allow agents to manage workload from any channel with the use of a single interface.
Call centers do not use this queue management system. Although they manage all incoming conversations with a single solution, they only do this because all the conversations come from one source – the telephone.
- CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION
Contact centers engage customers with the use of digital channels such as live chat, e-mail, or social media in addition to telephone. This mode, when compared to using a telephone as the sole communication channel, delivers solutions faster and gives customers a better experience. You can, for example, reduce the workload by distributing e-mails among staff for better handling. It also saves costs as an agent can simultaneously work on three or more customers.
While in call centers, the only channel of communication is the telephone. This may most of the time take up an agent’s entire capacity. With call centers, you also need to have more staff to handle peak volume hours which will create more expenses for the organization.
- AUTOMATIC TICKET ROUTING AND AUTOMATIONS
Contact centers usually apply keywords, agent’s technical know-how, and caller history to route tickets to the right agents. With this, resolution time is drastically reduced and customers will have a more fulfilled experience. Contact centers also use automation to categorize tickets, update the properties of the tickets and follow customers up. These contact center solutions are designed in a way that will improve agents’ productivity. With features lie canned forms, canned responses, ticketing templates, etc, repetitive tasks are reduced and agents are given more time to interact with customers. This always makes agents be up and doing.
The call center, on the other hand, does not have any of this automation. Ticket routing is usually not applicable thereby leading to time wastage which is not ideal both for the customer involved and the organization.
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