Contact center

What is a contact center, and why should I care?

16 Feb 2021 in

A client of mine asked me that question this week, and it reminded me that sometimes our industries make up terminology that doesn't make sense to the rest of the world. Let me explain the term for all of the greater good!

A contact center is today's evolution of the call center, which has been powering customer service globally for decades.

When phone calls were the primary delivery system for answering questions, paying bills, and any interaction with your favorite brands, calling them "call centers" made much more sense.

For many businesses, phone calls are only a portion of delivering exceptional customer service. Depending on the demographic served by the company or the type of widget they sell, it could be very low on the priority list. SMS/Texting, web chat, social media messages, and email drive many organizations' interactions with their customers. This is the reason for the shift in terms from call to contact center.

The staff of these contact centers still take a ton of phone calls; however, they are also charged with answering all of the different media types involved. Their success metrics are no longer quantified only by how many calls they took, the amount of time spent with each customer, or survey responses from the customer on whether the agent was helpful or not. Now contact center leadership must weigh phone calls against metrics around how long it took to respond to web chats and social media messages to analyze net promoter scores for their brands.

AI can help with some of the front-end routings of customers to the correct people who can help them; however, there is no replacement for human interaction.  With the technology at hand, those humans on either side of a message can be anywhere in the world, mostly if you're selling over social media platforms.

Why should you care?

Oh, well, they are responsible for the satisfaction of all of your customers and a great bulk of your brand's perception. That's why.

Every enterprise, large or small, has some form of a contact center. Sometimes it is the front desk folks, maybe appointment schedulers, accounting folks, or even sales groups tasked with taking orders. How do you measure the success of your staff in these types of roles without metrics to measure?

In every case where Blush Technology Group implemented a contact center technology, my clients were blown away by the data indicating how their staff interacted with their clients. Suddenly, those complaints from customers and staff were validated.

We all have nightmare stories of when we needed some help from our favorite brand and had a horrible experience. The stories run like wildfire when they are harmful and can quickly hinder your star ratings, brand perception, and ability to attract new clients.  Stories of great customer experiences are never shared with as much enthusiasm, which is why it is imperative that you take the time to set your team up for successful interactions.

My passion for the customer experience and the role of contact centers in every type of business, especially healthcare, could have me writing for days. If you would like:

  • More information on today's contact centers
  • Tips
  • Do's and dont's
  • Trends for increasing your agent/staff retention

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