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Call center or contact center, are they the same thing?
Most of the time when someone refers to their center it’s either a contact center or a call center, seems that both terms are interchangeable as if they were one and the same.
To be honest, there is a whole world of a difference between those two and it’s called multi-channel approach.
Back when the industry was young, you could see call centers sprouting throughout the whole globe. Some were inbound centers, some outbound but they still were “call centers” because they focused on what the name implies – telephone calls, that was their channel of choice.
Fast forward into the future and call centers began adopting email as a communication channel, this is the time when the name contact center was first used, the name change was highly appropriate since centers became less phone-centric.
Even today, the majority of contact center activity is still focused on telephone calls, but managers are looking into incorporating the multi-channel approach, because this what the customer wants. The constant demand for faster and more responsive customer experience is at a all time high. With multiple channels at his disposal the customer can pick the one that suits his needs the most.
Most common channels today are calls, faxes, emails and web chats. Social media and SMS (text massaging) are on the rise, but are still considered niche despite all the advocating. Video is possible, but due to technical limitations it wont become popular or widely used for the next couple years, but there is hope for this particular channel – smartphones and mobile apps, it would be cool if you could showcase your problem to an agent.
Thing to remember about the multi-channel approach, is to pick the right communication method for the right service or product, while still providing many options to the customer.
For example, a live personal agent designated to high value customers, or a tech group utilizing web chat when speaking to those customers that are tech savvy and can communicate freely in the IT lingo. Finding the balance between self-service and agent served contacts is also crucial, some people get annoyed by hand holding.
Benchmark your customer-base, understand who they are and what communication channels do they prefer, focus on creating the ultimate customer experience. Remember that your main goal is accessibility, examine your agents experiences and find out in what field do they excel – no size fits all.
Remember, the multi-channel approach is all about the customer and how they want to be helped.