In the recent years, businesses all over the globe are increasingly diverting their resources toward customer management and satisfaction.  The key to achieving efficient customer management is to have an Omni-channel customer contact center. A contact center or a customer interaction center is basically a central point or platform from which all the customer contacts of a business are managed. It is a part of the broader customer relationship management(CRM) segment.

A contact center typically includes a bunch of call centers and often these two terms are used interchangeably. But the term contact center engulfs a much broader territory as it also includes other auxiliary channels of customer contacts, in spite of call centers such as emails, chats, website support and voice over IP(VoIP). And many companies prefer the much affordable contact center outsourcing rather than setting up an in-house contact center for their customers.

Here in this blog let us explore the various aspects and terms associated a contact center.

Functions

The basic functions of a contact center are to handle both the inbound and outbound communications of a business. And sometimes the task also includes handling a hybrid of both campaigns which is known as ‘blended’ process in the relevant circle. Other than handling a large volume of calls, contact center executives also communicate with customers via the conventional postal service, electronic media, and the various other online channels.

Infrastructure

The infrastructure necessary to support a contact center’s communication may be placed at the same location as that of contact center itself or elsewhere. In an in-house scenario, the company that owns the contact center might also own and manage the associated hardware and software along with it. But to reduce operational and maintenance liabilities many corporations today opt for contact center outsourcing of these tasks to cloud providers, hosting companies and BPOs.

Different types

There are various types of contact centers available out there based on the individual requirements of a particular business. These are as follows:

Cloud-based

These are hosted on a cloud provider’s internet servers. It filter’s all the incoming and outgoing communications of a contact center. These contact centers can be accessed from anywhere over the internet and are similar to the conventional contact centers.

Hosted

Hosted contact centers are for those corporations that prefer contact center outsourcing. Here the infrastructure is usually outsourced to an outside company that manages it from a different location. One benefit of using a hosted contact center is that it minimizes the potential upfront cost and maintenance to be incurred by the parent company.

Virtual

Flexibility and comfort are the key aspects of a virtual contact center as it facilitates the option of working from home for their executives. It also lowers costs for the business and can minimize employee turnover rates.

Future trends

The concept of a contact center is relatively new and therefore, it is very open to absorbing and assimilating new trends and technologies. It is important to keep in touch with the latest innovations so as to provide the best service to the customers and also for the business to adapt and grow with the winds of change. The following pointers can give us an insight into the direction and drift of the latest and upcoming trends of the contact centers.

Social Media- Social media is starting to become a cornerstone of user engagement and communication. Many such platforms like Twitter and Facebook are becoming efficient modes of customer communication and as a result, companies are increasingly investing to support these new age channels.

Mobile mode- Mobiles and smartphones have a higher penetration rate in terms of user engagement than any other communication gizmo. Hence, it is imperative for businesses worldwide to provide mobile-friendly communication services. Many in the corporate world are keen to capitalize on the popularity of apps and text services as an alternate way of customer communication.

Video telephony- With the advancement in the telecommunication sector users are aspiring for more and more interactive ways to communicate with each other. Video telephony is one of many outcomes of such aspirations. Many online communication platforms such as Skype and Face time allows a more user interactive way for customers to speak with their service providers. These platforms facilitate video chat for more personal face-to-face interactions.

Advance Analytics- Artificial intelligence and machine learning are paving the way for predicting customer behavior. Advance analytics such as speech recognition and analysis are progressively being utilized to monitor, assess, and prime contact center executives.