An increasing number of people today prefer to communicate via multiple channels like text messaging, email, video calling, etc., over voice calls.
And this is the same for customer service too. After all, nobody wants to wait in a long call queue to talk to customer service representatives.
However, with contact center services, customers can easily register their concerns and get their queries resolved through the communication channel they prefer.
In this article, we’ll discuss five popular types of contact center services, features, and technologies. We’ll also talk about how they benefit your business and how to choose the right contact center services for your needs.
This Article Contains
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- 5 Essential Contact Center Services
- 5 Important Contact Center Features
- 5 Key Contact Center Technologies
- How Contact Center Services Can Benefit Your Business
- How to Pick the Right Contact Center Services for Your Needs
Let’s get started.
5 Essential Contact Center Services
A contact center is a central point from which you can manage customer interaction across multiple channels such as email, SMS, social media, etc.
The main aim of a contact center is to provide your customers with efficient and interactive customer support, sales assistance, and technical support through their preferred channel.
A contact center may have a call center service as a part of its support system, but it also provides other outbound and inbound services like chat, social media, etc., for interacting with customers.
Let’s look at five contact center services in detail:
1. Telephone Service
Contact centers are like modernized call centers. That’s why inbound and outbound calling is a part of many contact center services.
A. Inbound Calling
Incoming customer calls that contact centers receive are known as inbound calls. Your contact center’s customer service representatives handle these incoming calls.
For example, a customer may have a query regarding connecting a printer they recently purchased from your company. You can get an incoming call from that customer looking to get help in setting it up.
B. Outbound Calling
Outbound calls refer to the calls made by a contact center representative. These phone calls may be part of surveys, lead generation campaigns, direct sales calls, etc.
For example, if you have a health insurance company, your sales team may contact potential leads to explain your insurance plans and convert these leads into paying customers.
In some cases, contact centers may use an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to handle incoming and outgoing calls. This computer-based phone system uses keypad entries or voice commands to provide information to customers without requiring human intervention.
2. Chat Service
Chat is becoming a popular communication tool due to its efficiency and ease of use.
It has a First Contact Resolution (FCR) rate of almost 74%, which is quite significant for a contact center. FCR is a metric to measure a contact center’s ability to resolve the customer’s issue in the first contact.
A customer can initiate a chat conversation from specialized chat windows on the client website. The chat window connects them to an agent or chatbot to help resolve their queries.
There are two types of chat services offered by a contact center:
Contact center technology includes chatbots that use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to engage customers, gather relevant information about an issue, and even answer simple questions without any human assistance.
And if the issue requires an agent intervention, the chatbot escalates it to an appropriate contact center agent.
B. Live Chat
Another advanced technology used by modern contact centers includes live chat.
This platform is different from chatbots because it has a human agent at the other end for answering customer queries.
Live chat helps:
- Reduce the need for IVR
- Reduce customer waiting time
- Increase first contact resolution
- Work on the customer’s shared screen in real time, etc.
Customers who prefer self-service find chatbots and live chat extremely effective tools to get the support they need.
3. Social Media Service
Contact centers also offer social media services for multiple channels like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc.
You can use your social media channels to listen to, analyze, and engage with your customers daily. This way, you can monitor and publish relevant content to boost your customer interaction and satisfaction.
4. Email Service
Email is another popular digital customer support channel.
Contact centers usually have email management software to help organize emails, enabling your customer service representatives to handle a large volume of emails efficiently.
Additionally, the software may offer email templates that can enable your agents to respond to emails promptly, provide standardized customer care, and increase customer satisfaction.
5. Text Messaging Service (SMS)
Long hold times, transferred calls, language barriers, etc., are some customer complaints about call-based customer service.
In such scenarios, text messaging can go a long way in improving customer satisfaction.
Text messaging is fast, personal, and safe. Additionally, it can boost agent productivity since they can handle multiple customer conversations at one time.
You can use text messages to:
- Start two-way conversations.
- Send proactive updates about the customer’s issues.
- Conduct various surveys.
- Take feedback regarding the customer service, etc.
From phone calls to SMS, these omnichannel services enable you to handle inbound and outbound customer communications effectively.
5 Important Contact Center Features for Better Services
Efficient and responsive customer support plays a crucial role in enhancing customer engagement and satisfaction.
That’s why contact centers focus on having features that ensure customers get the best service.
Some of these features include:
- Contact database: Contact centers collect customer data and interaction history in one place using CRM software. This makes it easier for agents to have the right context for conversations.
- Scripts: Scripts enable agents to provide the caller with effective support by customizing the message for each customer. Scripts are especially useful when you want to maintain a certain brand image even through your customer support.
- Call conferencing: Contact centers use sophisticated applications that enable callers to add multiple participants in one call, creating a conference call.
- Call recording: Recording inbound and outbound calls allows you to monitor your agent’s performance and customer satisfaction. It also provides a reference for the resolution of any disputes or complaints in the future.
- Real time reports: These real time reports use advanced analytics to give you a better understanding of agent performance and customer satisfaction across the various channels.
A contact center’s modular structure also helps managers enhance their team’s operational efficiency while preventing agent burnout. All these features can significantly enhance your customer experience.
5 Key Contact Center Technologies
Contact centers are the new-age versions of customer support.
It’s only natural that they need to use advanced tools and technologies to ensure superior customer experiences and maximum customer satisfaction.
Let’s look at the various technologies used by contact centers:
- Predictive dialer: A contact center technology that automatically dials outbound calls and uses an algorithm to predict agent availability. It ensures maximum connect rates and minimum agent idle time.
- Automatic call distributor (ACD) system: A system that analyzes incoming calls and distributes them among dedicated agents based on agent availability, type of support required, etc.
- Email response management system: Software that collects and analyzes the customer inquiries submitted through emails and routes them to the appropriate agent.
- Knowledge management system: A centralized system that contains all customer information. You can easily search for the relevant information and cut down on agent training time.
- Workforce management system: A tool that helps you schedule agents and handle staffing issues. You can also use it to manage agent performance and productivity.
Some popular contact center software vendors include:
- Five9: cloud contact center software that helps you engage customers on their channel of choice, use practical AI, automation tools, etc., to increase your business agility.
- 8×8: cloud contact center solution that offers services like predictive dialing, digital channels, customer surveys, speech analytics, and more.
- Genesys: a cloud contact center service provider that offers call center software, chatbots, automated routing, etc.
Read more about the best contact center software.
Most software can integrate with your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools like Salesforce, Zendesk, etc., to manage customer interactions with ease.
And while all these contact center applications go a long way in improving the workflow of your center, your agents are your most important assets. That’s why it’s important to ensure that they stay productive in their work hours but don’t suffer from burnout.
To ensure this, you can use Time Doctor, a comprehensive tool to monitor their performance and productivity.
Time Doctor is a robust workforce management tool used by major companies, like Verizon and Ericsson, as well as by small businesses, like Thrive Market.
You can use the software to:
- Track time spent per task by each agent.
- Asses agent productivity using detailed productivity reports.
- Schedule shifts to manage staffing effectively.
- Make payments directly in different currencies and for different pay dates.
- Integrate with other useful tools like Freshdesk, Google Apps, etc., using Time Doctor’s Chrome extension.
Contact center technologies are undeniably important for enhancing productivity and efficiency.
And with a cloud-based model like Contact Center as a Service, you can manage contact center services at a lower cost.
Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)
CCaaS is a cloud-based software solution used by contact center teams to provide an exceptional customer experience. It enables you to host your contact center environment on the cloud rather than on servers at your physical place of business.
You can then hire a virtual agent for a particular skill located in any corner of the world.
This model allows you to purchase only those technologies you need and easily reduce your labor cost for IT support.
The CCaaS providers offer services such as:
- Modern IVR and customizable self-service capabilities.
- Skills-based routing for increased first contact resolution.
- Omnichannel customer experience analytics.
- Enhanced contact center performance.
- Reduced operational cost.
Ultimately, all these services and features, and technologies ensure increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
How Contact Center Services Can Benefit Your Business
Today, customers expect a customized experience from the customer service agent and prefer customer support that goes beyond a single platform approach. That’s why contact centers are increasingly popular.
Let’s look at the top three benefits of contact centers:
1. Enhanced Customer Experience
Your contact center is often the primary channel of communication for most of your customer interactions. That’s why your customer service can have a significant influence on your business.
You can use your contact center to ensure that you provide an exceptional customer experience.
For example, if you own a software company, you can use contact center services like live chat for answering your customer’s queries quickly. This will help them explain their issues effectively and help your agents resolve them efficiently.
Contact centers help customers connect to the most suitable platform to resolve their problems faster. This can increase your customers’ trust in your company, resulting in loyal, life-long customers.
2. Increased Agent Efficiency
Since contact centers combine customer information from multiple channels in one place, agents are more efficient and effective while handling customer requests.
Additionally, assigning the right queries to the right agent using IVR and ACD reduces the chances of errors. In fact, it increases your agents’ and company’s operational efficiency.
Having the right tools and technologies empowers your agents to provide superior service, keep customers happy, and in turn, keep themselves happy.
Happy agents are more likely to work with you for a longer duration, reducing your operational cost that results from a high agent turnover.
3. Better Business Insights
Your contact center combines customer interaction from various communication channels.
The customer data gathered from these interaction channels can provide actionable insights that may help you make important business process decisions.
Identify patterns and problem areas across the customer journey to make decisions regarding your product design, quality issues, etc.
For example, contact center analytics can help you determine your customers’ most preferred communication channel. You may find that your target customers prefer to interact through your social media channels rather than text messages.
This information will allow you to strategize your outreach to reach maximum people and boost your business.
How to Pick the Right Contact Center Services for Your Needs
Customer experience is extremely important for maintaining brand loyalty.
According to Zendesk’s Customer Experience Trends Report 2020, around half of the customers would switch over to another brand after just a single poor customer experience.
That’s why it becomes essential to meet customer expectations and provide the best possible customer service.
One way to do that is to provide the kind of customer support preferred by your customers. Contact center managers need to understand which contact center services are essential to your customers and accordingly ensure that you have the right resources at your disposal.
You can start by asking a few questions like:
1. Which channels do your customers prefer?
If you primarily cater to Millennials and Gen Z customers, you should offer proactive self-service options, messaging, live chat, and social media channels.
2. What are your staffing resources like?
If your business is just starting out and you’re building a team of contact center agents for the first time, you might want to start off with basic services.
However, CCaaS providers may offer trial versions so you can try out a few services and decide what’s important for your business process.
3. Is your contact center prepared to scale with growth?
Customer expectations and demands keep on changing. And when your business grows and the customer base increases, this change is even more pronounced.
That’s why automation and chatbots powered by artificial intelligence are essential to keep up with customer growth and expectations.
Contact center services play an important role in making or breaking your business.
Today, brands that provide the desired level of customer service often earn maximum customer loyalty. That’s why offering the right services and using the right technology in your contact center has become the need of the hour.
Use the information covered above to better understand contact center services and technologies. It’ll help you make an informed decision about selecting the ones that are crucial to your business.
Lauren Soucy is the VP of Marketing for Time Doctor, the world’s leading time tracking and productivity software. She has 15+ years of experience in marketing at fast-paced companies. Her first passion is SEO, she can’t start her day without coffee, and she enjoys spending time at the beach with her two boys and her husband.