A contact centre is where a company keeps in contact with its customers through all available customer service channels.
Unlike call centres, which focus on inbound and outbound calls alone, the contact centre focuses on the entire communication experience. This includes calls, social media, leveraging technology for self-service, a more engaging customer service experience and an overall brand projection during communication.
In short, a contact centre has all customer communications covered.
What is the difference between a call centre and a contact centre?
Call centres are what used to be obtainable and fashionable for many decades but as businesses around the world evolve, the technology that supports them also evolved
Traditionally, call centres were born from the need for organisations to attend to their clients’ requests, complaints, and claims in a cost-effective way. However, as time passed, the need for companies to have more robust customer service increased.
Due to the evolution of technology —social media, multiple communication channels and improvement in communication devices— traditional call centres were simply not enough to accommodate the increasing communications demand.
In this sense, it is safe to say that the contact centre is by definition the evolution of the traditional call centre.
Contact centres added more functionalities compared to traditional call centres. On one hand, the call centre focuses solely on telephone communication. The contact centre, meanwhile, integrates all customer service channels including telephone, chat, social networks, SMS and video used to stay in contact with clients.
Additionally, a contact centre integrates the use of new technologies such as text-to-speech, chatbots, speech analytics, big data and gamification, among others. The purpose of these new technologies is to increase the productivity of any task that you want to perform and to create better service experiences for customers and users.
Contact centre for 21st-century customers
It can be said that the contact centre has become the nucleus of companies. The development that has come with the fast-paced 21st century has demanded that customers receive immediate attention through multiple communication channels.
Also, marketing has become more competitive and fast-paced so companies’ adoption of contact centres has helped improve the quality of customer experience. In turn, this encourages a good image of the brand, customer loyalty and, of course, improves sales.
Customers who are satisfied with the care they receive often refer others to a certain brand due to an exceptional customer service experience. Research has shown that 90% of customers who had a bad customer experience will leave, without informing you of their reason in any way.
Why contact centres are better for customer service
Some companies prefer to have their customer service in-house instead of outsourcing it to a specialised contact centre. Generally, this is to save cost or have control etc. However, the advantages of outsourcing far outweigh the disadvantages.
Here are the top advantages of using a contact centre:
- The implementation of new and better voice and information portals. Specialised contact centres usually integrate all customer communication channels; through the implementation of Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) technology. This helps them to synchronise information across channels and makes communication a lot easier and more effective. Additionally, this is a huge cost saver for companies.
- Predictive and proactive. Using new tools and the latest technology, contact centres can watch buyer behaviour, predict actions and possibly reach out to answer a question before it’s even been asked by the customer.
Even though traditional call centres may want to implement this, it will be quite difficult because, apart from the limitation in data collection technology, the call centre can only place a phone call to the customer which has proved to be very ineffective. Many people are wary of unknown phone numbers and may not even be available to pick up their calls.
- Contact centres open multiple channels for customers to reach them and vice versa. This aids proactive communication, which increases customer engagement and loyalty.
- Personalised customer profiles during communication. This allows the customer to feel important and connected to the brand. Although call centres can do this manually, this is usually strenuous and largely ineffective. The use of digitalised channels by contact centres makes it easy, seamless and less time-consuming.
- More engaging due to well-trained customer service representatives. These representatives dedicate time to learn the craft and also learn about your company. They are specially trained in the skill and technique of customer service engagement and the technological tools involved. They also spend time following up and getting feedback to ensure customer satisfaction.
Indeed, many world-class companies use contact centres to interact with their customers, whether they are public service companies, catalogue order firms, customer service or various operational supports in relation to software and hardware companies. Many businesses use contact centres even for the development of their internal functions, including help desk and sales support.
What does the customer expect from contact centres?
To generate trust among each client, in contact centres, the attention must be friendly and formal enough, in this way it is established that a solution will be given to the clients’ demands.
The staff must also convince customers to remain loyal to the organisation, obtain new services or products and stay in contact with them. For this reason, it is essential to listen carefully without stopping the communication.
Every call to answer represents a challenge, so reliable tools are required to offer state-of-the-art and quality care. With innovative tools, communication interruptions can be avoided and customer satisfaction generated.
Today the telephone channel is still the most relevant, but new digital channels are gaining strength every day, and even more so among younger customers who are more familiar with social media and smartphone technology. Contrary to what you might think, there has never been a better time to implement a business strategy based on a contact centre, and no matter what stage of implementation or adoption your company or business is in, there is always room for further enhancing the service offered to your customers whilst taking away the challenge of dealing with enquires.