Deciding how to configure your contact center and what services you need for support can be challenging.
Today, customer requests come pouring into businesses through many channels. One customer may try to get help by posting a question on social media. Another might reach out to their sales contact. Another may seek information online.
Each customer is trying to better engage with your product or service. Yet, they are all trying to do this in a way that best fits their personality and workflows.
The need to support the customer in many different ways led to the idea of a contact center. The contact center is an organization within the company. It ensures no customer request is overlooked, and all customers are content with the assistance they receive.
Definition of Contact Center Services
Contact center services are the software and tools used to help the contact center deliver high quality support. This contact center services definition is broad. It includes all the ways customers talk to contact center agents and the tools needed to handle and organize these requests. Used together, these contact center services improve the connection and communication between customers and businesses.
Overview of Contact Center Services
There are many tools and contact center software out there that can help your team improve the customer experience. Start by understanding the goal of your contact center. For example, they may provide technical support, customer service, telemarketing or debt collection.
Then, think about the types of contact center services you need to support this goal. Analyze which commonly used services make the most sense for your team and build your contact center tech stack.
Traditional call centers rely heavily on phone support. People call a dedicated number and connect with an agent who receives calls and can help them. Inbound calling is the term used for this.
Sometimes, this means that several calls are coming in at the same time. The inbound call center must organize and manage all of these calls.
Several services can help in this regard:
- An interactive voice response system (IVR system) is a starting point for customers. Instead of immediately reaching an agent when they call, a computer interacts with them. It prompts the customer to enter specific details and can return related information back to the customer.
For instance, when a customer calls their bank, the bank may ask them to enter an account number. The bank’s IVR system will tell them their account balance in reply.
- Automated call distribution (ACD) is a system that puts incoming calls in a queue. This queue is monitored until an agent who can provide assistance is available. This ensures that we balance agent workloads and aid each customer as quickly as possible.
- Call recording offers a digital record of what happened during the phone call. It is helpful for keeping track of the customer’s history and for training agents.
Multi-Channel Communication Services
Today’s customers expect easier access to the contact center. Now, they use digital channels in addition to telephone services. They want to use the service which is most convenient for them. Commonly used digital channels include:
- Contact centers have used email for many years now. Typically, we give customers a dedicated email address for them to send their requests to. Emails sent to that address are sorted and sent to the appropriate team for handling based on established rules.
- Social media contact happens within social media platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Tik Tok or Twitter. Customers engage the company through a direct message. Support agents may reply directly through the social media platform. Modern contact centers sync social media messages with their help desk software, based on a ticketing system, for better management.
- Live chat offers customers service in real-time. Typically, chat windows exist on the company website. Customers communicate typed messages back and forth with agents through the chat window. Today’s solutions let the window handle video feeds too, so agents and customers can have face-to-face talks.
- Chatbots offer pre-defined answers to common customer situations. The customer engages the chatbot on a website and presents his or her request. The chatbot offers pre-defined options to the customer.
If the customer cannot find the answer they need, the chatbot will connect them to a live agent. The live agent will help them using a different communication service.
- Text or SMS messaging is a quick and easy way for contact centers to engage customers. The communication can go two ways. Or, businesses can use it to send proactive information to customers, such as appointment reminders or bill due date reminders.
Multi-channel support has also evolved, and businesses are now starting to aim for an omnichannel contact center. Here, customers still reach contact center agents across multiple channels. Agents are also able to respond on multiple channels. Communication flows seamlessly across a variety of channels until the request is resolved.
Contact Center Features That Improve Service
As requests come in through contact center services, they can be more effectively handled when contact center teams have additional tools. Contact center solutions typically offer a variety of additional features to support the contact center agents.
Ticketing and Customer Information
Agents must have a way to track all of the incoming requests. They must also record all communication between the customer and themselves. It is beneficial if customer data, such as contracts or equipment details, is easily available too. Generally, these are both part of help desk software.
These elements enable the agent to understand the customer’s situation quickly. They also allow the agent to access any relevant history and keep organized detailed notes about the current support request.
There are other benefits too, such as clearly capturing the request’s status. Therefore, an agent’s colleague can offer the same level of support, even if the agent is not in the office.
Ticketing systems are also beneficial for customers. If they need to check the request later, they can see a detailed history of what happened.
Analytics and Reporting
As work is happening, reporting can help optimize contact center processes. Real time data, such as number of open cases or pending escalations, keeps work on track. It makes sure that customers receive the service that they expect. Also, by examining the root cause of problems, leaders can proactively take steps to avoid these in the future.
Reporting can also help with workforce management. Leaders use software to monitor the number of inquiries or calls in the queue over time. This allows them to ensure that they have the correct number of agents available during peak times.
Surveys help teams know how well they are meeting the needs and expectations of customers as they provide service. Most common is an email survey that seeks to assign a “net promoter score” to a customer. We ask customers a single question about how likely they are to refer the business.
Benefits of Using Contact Center Services
By planning for and investing in these software services, business support agents in turning their full attention to the customer. Agents are able to find the right information, offer the right instructions and deliver the right solutions. This reduces friction with the customer and enhances the experience. This yields several rewards: increased satisfaction, better referrals, and more loyalty.
As businesses grow, their existing customer base becomes a revenue-generating resource. Existing customers already appreciate your product or services. Thus, they are likely to recommend them to others or purchase extra items or services from you.
But, this is only true if you keep the customers happy. That is where the contact center plays a key role. Contact centers mean that your customers have their questions and concerns answered as fast as possible, thereby increasing the customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers remain loyal, which in turn drives the referrals and upselling opportunities.
The more time it takes to address a customer’s request, the more money we spend on that particular customer. Efficient call handling is one of the first ways in which the business saves money. Several ways show efficiency.
- Breaking down silos. Providing the best service to customers involves many teams. They must work together to identify and solve customer requests. Using contact center services facilities this back and forth communication between teams on the customer’s behalf.
- Automation keeps requests moving. Often, contact centers encounter the same request again and again. When this occurs, we can design workflow automations.
This means that we gather all the needed information fast, without any back and forth. It also means no waiting for a request to progress to the next step; rather, this happens automatically.
- Customers may have self-service options. As the contact center develops, many businesses consider making commonly used information and services available to customers via an online portal. When customers are able to support themselves, it reduces agent time.
As the contact center works with customers, they learn a lot about the customer’s needs, challenges, and expectations. The business can use these enhanced customer insights to get ahead of its competition.
It helps business identify demand more quickly. This can help the product team develop new features faster. Or, it can help service teams establish new workflows before competitors do.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a Contact Center?
A contact center is an organizational unit within the business that is responsible for managing the relationship with customers. It offers customers multiple ways of getting in touch with the business. It also organizes these incoming requests and manages them through resolution.
What are the different types of Contact Center Services?
Contact center services include email, live chat, social media messaging, chatbots, text messaging/SMS and telephone services.
How can Contact Center Services benefit my business?
Contact center services benefit the business by making customer to agent transactions as frictionless as possible. This improves customer satisfaction and retention. It also helps increase revenue by making referrals and upselling more likely.
Businesses can not hesitate to invest in contact center services. Developing an excellent customer experience is key to ensuring revenue growth. Leaders should be considering how communication channels can help with customer support. They should be investigating ways to better leverage data and analysis.
There is, of course, more to learn about contact centers. It is important to consider how to develop a contact center for your business. And, you should take upcoming contact center trends into consideration.
And then, don’t wait. If your business is to grow, you need to make your customers a priority. Offer them the best possible contact center services today.