Call Center Contact List vs. CRM

In the world of business communications, there are quite a few technical terms tossed about in product marketing materials, online reviews and other areas. "Call center" and "contact center" sound similar, but are there significant differences? More than just lingo, these terms define solutions aimed at leveraging multi-channel communications. The more important question for businesses is whether a particular call or contact center software integrates multiple systems to optimize workflows.

Most businesses, from small, one-person operations to larger enterprises, use a customer relationship management system of some sort. It can be rudimentary, such as a contact list, or it can be a robust tool that automates and facilitates handling the entire customer lifecycle. A customer relationship management solutions (CRM) is an application that puts customer information at employees' fingertips, vastly improving workforce optimization and opening opportunities for advances insights. This call center database

Call And Contact Centers Defined

For most purposes, a contact center is synonymous with a call center. Both facilitate communication between customers and call agents, whether for sales or support purposes. Powerful call center software is all about intelligent communications routing. This means quickly determining the purpose of the call and matching customers to a resource that will best resolve their issue or meet their need. These solutions also allow for storing some customer information, such as in a call center contact list.

Call or contact center solutions are necessary tools for handling inbound support questions, for phone-based order processing and the direct sale of products and services. Some of the standard features of these solutions include automatic call distribution, which manages multichannel communications intelligently, routing to the correct agent. Some organizations find success with interactive voice response (IVR) for specific support functions, which is also a key function of contact center software. Another frequently used feature is a dialer functionality, which saves employee time by automating the call initiation process.

Two additional features of many call center solutions are reporting ability and computer telephony integration (CTI) and reporting capacity. Through reports, companies can track employee performance and develop metrics goals., such as key performance indicators (KPI), CTI is how agents access information necessary to satisfactorily complete customer calls. With CTI, agents can look up customer histories to speed resolution, rather than have duplicative questions bog down the process.

Can Contact Center Software Be Used As A CRM?

Since a call center contact list is a crucial component of contact center software, one might wonder if the software functions as a CRM solution as well. The short answer is no. There are several essential differences between basic call center software and CRM. While call center software facilitates communication, CRM focuses on tracking and managing customer information. It is a database of customer information, and accessing CRM provides employees with a full picture of each customer.

CRM augments customer experience through integrating customer service, case management, marketing automation and more. With CRM, employees are more efficient. This translates to quicker issue resolution and less need for support interaction, which today's customers prefer to minimize. Since more customers are looking for self-service options, integrating CRM with advanced calling features, such as IVR, can provide these efficiencies. While some believe that the trend towards self-service may result in the end of the traditional call center, evolution to better-integrated systems is a more likely result. Seventy-five percent of the public still wants personal interaction in their customer service, but this group is also happy with automated solutions providing the necessary information.

Combining Contact Center Solutions With CRM

The ultimate customer experience and business process improvement tool is a combination of communications and a holistic view of the customer lifecycle. Solutions such as 8x8's Virtual Contact Center take the multi-channel communications benefits of a contact center and dials it up to allow workforce optimization, and advanced reporting and analytics. With an integrated solution, CRM becomes more than just a call center database. It unlocks the full potential of customer experience. For those businesses without a CRM solution, 8x8's CRM add-on provides critical information for agents using CTI, which reduces hold time and speeds up issue resolution. 8x8 is the only contact center software provider to offer an easy-to-use customer contact and case management tool as part of its contact center package.

With 8x8's Virtual Contact Center you get world class technology and everything your domestic or international business needs without the need for multiple disparate systems. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.

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