What is a Contact Center? A Complete Guide to Contact Center Technology

A Complete Guide to Contact Center Technology

What is a Contact Center?

A contact center serves as a customer experience platform which helps manage customer communications across various channels such as phone calls, SMS, chat, and social media.

Today, contact center technologies can be hosted in the cloud and delivered into any internet-connected device, a solution dubbed Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS). The CCaaS provider does all the heavy lifting when it comes to buying hardware and keeping the software up to date. This is a significant time and money-saving value when outsourced. The provider’s customers pay only for the services they use and nothing more. There’s no data center to buy, configure, cool, secure, and support.

The contact center software provider has access to essentially unlimited computing power in the cloud, and CCaaS software is easy to install and support. Customers can scale up or down quickly and IT teams can manage one admin experience with straight-forward, self-service features. This platform is reliable and secure with 24/7, dedicated support teams in place — all for an affordable and accessible price.

This puts growing businesses on a level playing field with global enterprises when it comes to customer service and provides data and time-saving tools for sales teams to generate more revenue.

More and more business owners are realizing that contact center technologies offer a better way to engage with their customers via voice, text, video, and other channels. Growing businesses need call-center tools that help them win against the competition and embrace the flexible working arrangements of the future. Fortunately, they no longer have to bear the cost and complexity of a traditional call center. Everything they need is available right now in the cloud.

What are the main features of a cloud contact center solution?

The right cloud-based contact center can take your business to new heights. These are some of the most popular contact center software features:

  • Queue routing streamlines calls and improve efficiency.
  • Queue call-back helps to return calls and create better customer experiences.
  • Ring groups allow calls to a single number to ring multiple phones.
  • Analytics help determine agent effectiveness, preempt issues, and identify best performers.
  • SMS messaging allows customers to communicate via texting instead of voice calls.
  • Artificial Intelligence enhances customer experience (CX), increases productivity and promotes data-driven decision making.
  • Missed-call information helps track opportunities for improved service.
  • Outbound dialing automates and accelerate sales calls.
  • Real time dashboards allow agents to see talk time, wait time, and agent availability.
  • Easy switching creates seamless transitions from voice, SMS, video, and chat.
  • Automatic pre-recorded messages for when calls goes to voicemail.

What’s the difference between a traditional contact center vs. cloud contact center?

A traditional contact center requires an on-premises data center that takes a lot of time, talent, and money to maintain. Years ago, these constraints put contact center technologies beyond the reach of most small businesses.

Historically, companies built traditional contact centers to communicate with large volumes of customers and prospects. Rows of people stared at computer screens and answered calls all day long. Salespeople meticulously called their most promising prospects. Technology experts spent months installing data centers and deploying enterprise-class contact center software. Scaling up meant buying more hardware while scaling down meant perfectly serviceable equipment collected dust. It was costly, time-intensive, and complicated, but it had to be done. Customers had needs, and companies that failed to satisfy them sent business to the competition.

Fortunately, those days are over — and contact center staff have more options to work-from-home or in the office with companies realizing the power, scale and flexibility of a cloud contact center solution. The shift became possible because a single application hosted in the cloud can run all the essential features of a traditional contact center — and more. Installed in one day and designed to fit the budget of almost any growing business, your trusted contact center provider hosts and maintains the solution for you, so you can get back to business and focus on what matters. A flexible cloud-based solution allows you to continue doing your best work from anywhere, whether on-site, home, or both.

More and more business owners are realizing that contact center technologies offer a better way to engage with their customers via voice, text, video, and other channels. Growing businesses need call-center tools that help them win against the competition and embrace the flexible working arrangements of the future. Fortunately, they no longer have to bear the cost and complexity of a traditional call center. Everything they need is available right now in the cloud.

What are the benefits of a Cloud Contact Center?

What are the Benefits of a Cloud Contact Center?

1. Optimize and Improve Customer Service

Cloud contact center software takes the friction out of customer communications and helps agents manage relationships. This software can:

  • Route incoming calls from a voice option menu where customers pre-select budget, region, or property type.
  • Customize contact formats to accommodate people who prefer text messaging.
  • Allow customers to schedule queue call backs when the agent is ready to speak with them to minimize time on hold.
  • Set up ring groups in the office so multiple phones can ring if there is no answer from the designated recipient.
  • Provide missed call information so agents know if a current or prospective customer tried to reach them.

Cloud contact centers enable agents to talk to more customers, deliver more personalized service, and ensure that every call gets the customer closer to a new home. Customers will remember the excellent service provided and will let others know, leading to more business. These contact center benefits underscore the findings of our research on what businesses expect when deploying new contact center software for their small business:

  • 62% of survey respondents expect an improvement in customer relationships.
  • 55% of respondents anticipate improved efficiency.
  • 52% expect increased revenue.

These kinds of interactions can have a profound impact on customer satisfaction, especially for small businesses in competitive markets. Anticipating a customer’s pain points, like hold times and missed calls, and applying technology to ease the strain can position smaller companies as caring and responsive. Contact center solutions help manage resources, reputation, and are simply better for business.

2. Understand Agent Performance

Cloud contact center software has the capability to:

  • Monitor call-flow metrics such as customers in queue, average speed to answer, and average talk time.
  • Gives a real-time view of agents’ activities, allowing in-depth reporting on their effectiveness.
  • Records calls and provides transcriptions to review best practices and examples from stronger insurance reps.
  • Sends SMS messages to those callers who hung up prior to speaking to an agent and sends a link to the FAQ section of their website.
  • Scales with the company’s business and adapts to seasonal needs.

Supervisors can take advantage of features like “listen” and “whisper” to help train agents whose performance lagged, based on the latest analytics reports. The reporting tools ensure agents know who is spending too long on the phone without resolving queries or closing tickets. And analytics reveal the strongest (and weakest) performers, creating opportunities to improve customer service.

Our research reveals that businesses can do a lot more to manage the performance of contact center employees. Of the respondents:

  • 53% review business metrics regularly.
  • 40% hold regular coaching sessions.
  • 35% use agent analytic tools.
  • 27% listen to calls.
  • 18% do not manage performance.

Every call is a chance to nurture repeat sales or drive customers away. Contact center software gives managers and supervisors grouped, transparent, segmented analytics, and brand-new reporting capabilities for actionable insights. All of which can help improve customer satisfaction and increase revenue generation.

Deliver better experiences with GoTo Contact Center

Boost sales and level up customer interactions – from anywhere.

  • Build workflows that help agents deliver the results customers expect.
  • Gain insights into productivity and customer satisfaction with data on demand.
  • Simplify admin with easy configurations – all in a single portal.

3. Improve Outbound Calling for Sales Team

Cloud-based contact centers have specific provisions for outbound calling. These include:

  • Outbound auto dialer that eliminates manual processes of finding and typing in phone numbers.
  • Agents can pre-record messages and deliver them automatically to prospects and customers if the call goes to voicemail.
  • Agents can flip from SMS chat to voice if the lead turns warm.

Our research revealed that autodialing can allow for substantially more calls by salespeople every day. More than one-third of those using contact center solutions had implemented the technology, but still nearly two-thirds of business leaders surveyed have not used this tool to improve agent efficiency and productivity. Sales, as any practitioner of the art will attest, is a numbers game. Talking to more people drives more results. Autodialing is one way to free up salespeople, so they spend more time selling and less time making phone calls.

4. Improve Productivity

Cloud-based contact centers with a rich portfolio of tools can help support hybrid workers both remote and in the office. Contact center software provides:

  • Connectivity for all employees whether it be on their smartphones, tablets, or PCs. Buying and supporting data center hardware is unnecessary.
  • Low bandwidth requirements and high reliability with 99.999% uptime means that workers in the office or at home on lower strength broadband can still perform their required tasks.
  • CCaaS softphone capabilities with easily accessible features and a secure login. Staff can work from anywhere without transporting equipment back and forth.
  • Seamless integration with leading unified communications (UC) and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms so all customer data is accessible and viewable through one pane of glass.

This makes it much easier to implement flexible schedules and support remote workers because they have a powerful contact center platform. Staff can report higher job satisfaction while their supervisors document productivity improvements. This makes it easier to hire good people, who are less likely to bolt to the competition. Employee turnover declines, making it easier to project salary costs over longer periods of time. The survey of business leaders reflects the desirability of easy-to-use, cloud-based software:

  • 91% report that fast deployment is critical or very important.
  • 84% say ease of deployment with minimal technical skill is important.

Of course, some jobs are more suitable for remote work than others. But employers hiring people who can succeed anywhere, if they have an internet-connected device, will almost certainly attract and retain better talent for the future.

How can my Organization Get Started with a Contact Center Solution?

Every business must choose the contact center platform that best matches their vision for the future. Features, costs and benefits should be carefully balanced against available resources and marketplace realities. With the right cloud contact center software, business gets simpler and less expensive. Customer interactions generate referrals instead of rage. Support teams spend more time helping customers and less time fighting with software. Salespeople have tools that get technology out of their way and help them thrive at what they do best. These forces have the potential to add and subtract: Increasing sales while removing friction from the customer experience. That kind of math makes any business better.

GoTo Contact Center is the affordable and accessible cloud-based contact center solution built for growing businesses. We believe in making life easier. If you’re ready to take your sales revenue and customer experience to the next level, a contact center could be the right fit. 87% of growing businesses are considering a contact center solution. It’s time to up-level and set your business apart.

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