Outsourcing is a new trend for many businesses, including outsourcing customer communication management. There are many benefits to directing customers to communication experts, but there is no one-size-fits-all service. You still need to make some decisions, even after deciding outsourcing is right. This article will explore what a contact center is, what types there are, and what options you have.
What Is a Contact Center?
A contact center manages all inbound and outbound communication with a company’s customers, whether by call, email, text, and/or live chat. A contact center differs from call centers, which traditionally only handle over-the-phone communications. However, the basic premise and goal are the same. Depending on your business needs, contact centers often offer more than just customer support services. Among many other things, they can provide:
- Technical support
- Outbound sales calls
- Billing management
- Survey taking
- Order processing help
- Loyalty program support
- Welcome calls
- Registration for events, appointments, etc.
Different Types of Contact Centers
Not every contact center organizes its communication and technologies similarly, and these differences can impact a business. The four important types of contact centers to know are:
- Multichannel: This type of center processes customer relations through multiple platforms and lacks full integration. For example, contact agents would use two different systems for answering customer calls vs. emails.
- On-Premises: An on-premises contact center is created and maintained by your company rather than outsourcing. While you get to be in control, this is a hefty expense for your business.
- Omnichannel: Everything is interconnected regardless of what form of communication a customer uses. With omnichannel center organization, agents can see detailed logs of every previous interaction with customers, whether it was email, call, text, etc.
- Cloud-Based: Both multichannel and omnichannel centers can be cloud-based. Cloud-based simply means communication software can be accessed completely remotely. With this kind of setup, outsourcing is easy.
So, why does it matter? These different types of contact centers translate into different costs, customer experiences, and business coverage. For example, multichannel centers require less complex software but can sometimes make customer service difficult. If a customer calls about an issue, getting the background to provide top-notch support is difficult with an omnichannel wouldn’t.
There are tradeoffs for all the options. On-premises centers tend to be more reliable and secure, while cloud centers are both cheaper and more flexible. Ultimately, choose what is best for your business, and don’t compare your decisions to what your competitors are doing.
Not Every Business Needs a Contact Center
While contact centers cover a wide range of services and modes of communication, they’re not necessary for many businesses. If the bulk of your customer communication takes place on the phone, it may not be worth paying the extra money to have full contact center services rather than just call center services. Keep in mind that while call centers are generally cheaper, the cost of a live answering service will vary based on factors like call volume.
For business owners nervous about outsourcing something as important as communication, it’s also a lot easier to start with a call center rather than relinquishing every form of customer communication to a company you’ve never worked with. Poor customer relations can cause long-lasting damage to a business’s reputation, so it’s always best to thoroughly vet who you outsource to and keep a watchful eye during the transition.
Benefits of Using a Call Center
If you’re not sure your business needs a full contact center, you probably don’t. The good news is that since contact and call centers are similar, using a call center includes many of the same benefits. You can expect:
- Reduced costs
- Availability 24/7/365
- Efficiency with call times
- Elevated customer service quality
- Bilingual call agents
- More sales
- An edge on your competition
- Improved client retention
- Increased profitability
Since contact centers often manage so many different modes of communication, they have to turn to automation for certain platforms. With call centers, everything can remain focused on real, human contact, which helps your customers feel better connected and better served. Live answering services are important to many businesses, and a call center can promise that.
Outsource Your Customer Service with Answering365
Answering365 is a live answering service and U.S.-based call center that will fulfill your business’s unique needs without overselling you on services you don’t need. We deliver superior phone support to help you keep up with growing call volume while your team maintains control over all other forms of communication. Never miss a call again, and contact us today to get started!