What is a contact centre?
The contact centre is a central point from where all customer interactions can be managed in a business. The modern contact centre, whether formal or informal, plays a critical part in a company’s ability to stay ahead of competition and keep up with customer demands. The contact centre has been revolutionised over the last few years, thanks to the rise in new channels and increased customer expectations, together with moves to the cloud and to hybrid working. Read on to learn more about contact centre solutions.
Today’s modern contact centre is a hub of multiple channels such as phone, email, text, web chat, social media – each of which offers customer support and interaction in a seamless way. These multiple-channels allow your customers to engage and interact with you on their channel of choice at their time of choice, which is crucial to retaining existing customers and attracting new ones.
Formal v Informal Contact Centres
A formal contact centre set up is perhaps the one that most of us are familiar with and is one that usually consists of a large groups of agents who are dedicated to answering a high volume of customer interactions each day, in a fairly repetitively manner. Formal contact centre agents are usually trained to do one job on a volume basis with targets set for this specific role.
Informal contact centres on the other hand often exist within a business but aren’t the sole purpose of the business. If you have a team of employees that are responding for assisting with internal or external incoming communications or requests from customers, this is an informal contact.
Employees in the ‘informal contact centre’ situation typically get more involved with a range of tasks and requests that are non-repetitive, often more complex and not measured in the same way that an agent in the formal contact centre situation would be.
An example of an informal contact could be a help desk set up to solve a range of requests each day, but to also perform other broader more complex tasks as part of the job remit. Informal contact centre employees could be IT workers, finance or human resources specialists, account or case managers or any kind of subject matter expert. Informal call centre workers are not ‘dedicated’ agents and usually have other tasks to perform each day outside of processing and handling customer queries.
The Omni-channel Contact Centre
Omni-channel starts with the customer in mind and breaks down the silos to join the communication touch points together into a seamless experience. All channels are managed centrally so the customers experience is consistent no matter what channel is used and so they can move between channels and devices without being interrupted. Conversations may start on SMS or web chat for example, but move to a phone call and they will seamlessly flow between these different channels with no interruption or repetition required as all agents can view the history of communication on a single screen.
Omni-channel is ultimately about understanding your customer’s journey. The customer experience is greater as the agent has all the data needed to solve the problem having all the information from previous interactions to ensure a resolution happens as smoothly and as quickly as possible.
Find out more about our Omni-channel solutions here.
Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS)
Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) is a cloud-based business solution intended to help companies access the services they need to support their customers over the cloud. The CCaaS model is ideal for contact centres of all sizes as it offers the scalability required to change your environment as the business needs evolve, along with the flexibility of being able to pay to purchase and pay for only the tools you need at the time.
Tracking your Contact Centre performance
Data in the form of contact centre metrics is crucial for running a contact centre – putting your customers first and ensuring you are providing excellent customer care at all times is the opportunity for your brand to lead. Forging strong customer relationships has never been more important as consumer behaviour continues to shift as a result of the pandemic.
In our blog What Contact Centre Metrics you should you track and why you can find out more about seven of the contact centre metrics you can use to help you maintain customer loyalty and trust.
The other metrics that a contact centre will measure are cost to serve and agent churn. As businesses around the world seek to improve efficiencies, contact centre managers are finding themselves under increased pressure to reduce costs while maintaining the exceptional customer experience (CX) that today’s consumers have come to expect.
The Customer and Agent Experience
There is an undeniable link between customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) – and any organisation looking to succeed needs to focus on both. One of the best ways to drive the employee and customer experience is to invest in your agents, we call this the experience equation of employee experience equals customer experience.
In other words, happy agents equals happy customers. When considering your own experience equation this could an ideal time to review the technology you have in place.
Why meeting and exceeding customer expectation is so important
Every business wants happy and satisfied customers that will stay with them for the long-term. As customer needs and expectations are consistently evolving over time, it’s important to ensure that you have technologies in place for measuring how your customers views you.
We are all customers after all and want to have our problems solved quickly and satisfactorily. We all expect businesses to respect our time, to know our historical customer data, to personalise their interactions to suit our preferences and needs.
Success now and into the future will be all about customer experience in a digital world with a focus on care and connection that allows your agents to meet customers wherever they are. Having the right technologies in place will absolutely underpin this.
You can read more about this in our blog – The rise of the digital consumer and what this means for Customer Experience
Seamless and Integrated Technologies
Organisations that strive to delight their customers each and every time should be looking at providing agents with a seamless and integrated technology solution in a single screen to allow them to resolve all the challenges the modern customer faces.
Why looking after your agents is so important
The agent experience is important because it affects agent satisfaction, which in turn impacts the quality of service they provide to customers. It also impacts absenteeism and turnover of staff – two big issues that most contact centre will face at some point.
You only have to think of your own experience of receiving good or bad service to know that a motivated, positive and enthusiastic agent can make or break how you feel and more importantly if the issue was resolved satisfactorily.
Contact centre managers play a central role in helping agents to do their job well and feel motivated within a team, especially when remote working can bring about isolation resulting in poor mental health.
Within the contact centre, one of the ways to help this is by harnessing all available technology to help managers provide better training and support and to ease call volume burden and potential agent burnout.
Future proofing your Contact Centre
With higher call volumes and many agents working remotely, the changing landscape presents a significant opportunity for contact centres to reimagine their operations and customer engagement strategy. Customers have become increasingly ‘digitally savvy’ and the pandemic has accelerated this
To thrive in this “new normal” world contact centres will need technology that matches the requirements of their hybrid workforce and in turn their digital customers.
Related Read – Future proofing your contact centre
Why partner with Opus?
Customer expectations are higher than ever and being able to allow customers to engage with you on their preferred media is crucial to retaining existing customers and attracting new ones.
Choosing the right technology partner to guide you through the various contact centre solutions and applications available and how they can be integrated into existing or new unified communications, CRM systems or business processes, is key to delivering an outstanding customer experience.
Watch our video below to find about more about Opus Contact Centre Solutions.
Opus Engage Contact Centre Solutions
Part of our Opus Together range, Opus Engage helps you to deliver first class customer experience, by providing an array of innovative contact centre solutions that call all be tailored specifically to you requirements. Explore our range of services solutions here.
Tailored and integrated solutions
As an independent technology provider, we are able to offer you a choice of platforms and applications seamlessly integrated into a single solution. We are Platinum partners with Mitel, Gamma and 8×8, and a Microsoft Gold Partner and also have established relationships with Redbox, Calabrio, Talkative, Noetica, Semafone and PCI Pal to deliver proven call recording, workforce management, chatbots, co-browsing and credit card payment compliance.
We can also integrate with collaboration solutions such as Microsoft Teams.
Management information and reporting
All of our solutions provide an array of management reporting information that monitors call activity, customer handling and collects trend data. It provides employees with a complete view of every internal and external call on the customer’s phone system enabling you to optimise system resources and determine the best use of employee time.
Managers can generate reports for the entire company or for a specific department, team or employee. By identifying calling patterns and performance trends in this way, your company can more effectively connect with customers and suppliers while lowering communications costs and agent handling times.
Latest News and Recources
Take a look at all our latest contact centre news and rescources here
Watch our Contact Centre Webinars on Demand
Watch our latest on-demand recordings of technology briefings on remote working and hybrid working contact centre trends and solutions.
Read our latest Contact Centre Insights
Read our latest on contact centre insights and news here
Contact Centre FAQs
Choosing the right technology partner is key to delivering an outstanding customer experience and that’s why we work with a number of contact centre partners so that we can tailor solutions according to your needs. The partners we work with are industry leaders when it comes to contact centre technology, and include Mitel, 8×8, Gamma and Cirrus. This means we can deliver the most complex solutions from multiple vendor partners or within a single contract and single number helpdesk.
Whatever your requirement, we’ll guide you through the various contact centre solutions available and give you clear and transparent advice on implementation. What’s more our team of experts from our very own inhouse engineering and customer service team through to a dedicated lifetime account manager will ensure we develop a strong relationship with you and always remain accountable. We have a clear escalation path on our website right up to the owner of the business should you ever encounter a need to contact us with a problem.
Understanding where you are on your roadmap and where you want to be, whether that’s on premises, hosted, or cloud is important. We will work with you to understand your specific needs and take the time to help you map out your strategy and technology roadmap going forward.
Customers expect a mix of channels to communicate on and that’s why our omni-channel solutions allow your contact centre to start and continue conversations with customers across a range of channels including phone, email, webchat, SMS, social media, instant messaging. We can work with you to help remove silos across communications so the interactions with your customers are seamless.
Yes we can – we understand that most customers want their agents to operate on a ‘single pane of glass’ and not have to switch between multiple applications which can result in agent frustration. We can also help you integrate features such as screen-pop for inbound/outbound, click to dial, activity history, data directed routing.
Absolutely yes, the majority of businesses use Microsoft Teams in some capacity. Utilising this tool alongside ‘other’ technology can help with user adoption and productivity benefits.
Yes, as contact centre specialists, Opus are perfectly places to help you deliver a seamless front and back office solution from a single vendor or multiple vendors.