The Benefits of Using a Contact Center Business

Contact centers are often confused with call centers but each plays very different roles. While both engage with customers, it's how they engage with them that differentiates these businesses. A call center handles large volumes of inbound and outbound calls for sales and customer support. A contact center provides omnichannel customer engagement. That sounds like a mouthful so let's break it down.

What Does a Contact Center Business Do?

When you tweet to a company with a complaint, email an inquiry through a contact form or even chat with someone on a company's website, you're dealing with a contact center. Call centers are mainly restricted o handling customer requests over the phone. But customers like to contact companies using a variety of media. Interacting with customers through these other forms of media is where a contact center comes in.

Because of the openness of social media, it has become a popular method to submit a complaint and have it be heard. Since other customers can see these complaints, companies don't want them going ignored. To ensure timely responses, the company will have someone monitor their social media for any complaints or requests. This person may be different from the person who is uploading posts to the company's social media channels.

The person handling complaints is a customer service rep. They may be located in a call center but don't answer calls. Instead, they are focused only on social media and possibly other media that customers use to communicate with the company.

From the above example, you can see there is some crossover with a call center. This is not uncommon. Any company that has agents standing by to answer customer calls is using a call center. Since these agents must be available to answer phone calls, they can't double as a contact center agent and also take chat requests or answer emails. But their counterparts, contact center agents, may be sitting only a few feet away.

Another difference with a contact center is that several agents may work on one customer request or complaint. Because issues may not be immediately resolved, agents have some time to explore the best possible solution.

What Kind of Software Is Needed?

Contact center software is just as involved as call center software. Both are composed of multiple applications that work together seamlessly. Contact center software doesn't include call routing functionality however. But it does include a CRM and billing integration.

Additionally, the software must be able to support all the company's points of contact. This can include:

  • Social media channels
  • Chatroom
  • Email
  • Video
  • And more

The types of channels available are always evolving and any communications solution will need to keep pace.

Just like a call center, companies can host their software and hardware to support the contact center on-site or off-site. An on-site solution will cost more as software licenses and hardware must be purchased, installed, maintained and upgraded. This often requires dedicated IT staff.

Another solution that many companies use is to outsource all of their software and hardware needs. This works by using a cloud service provider. The model is similar to the web hosting model. The model works like this: Hosting for a website is purchased from a hosting provider. The buyer pays a low monthly fee and only has to worry about designing their website. The provider takes care of servers, installations, and software needed to run the website. A communications cloud provider works the same way.

The cloud provider is located somewhere off-site and may even be on the other side of the country. They have a facility that contains all the necessary hardware and software to run a communications center. Buyers simply log into the provider's website and have access to a full suite of communications software, tailored to their needs. Cost for these services is far less than if everything was maintained on-site.

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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