What are the Different Types of Contact Centers?
Contact centers can look very simple to the outsider; a large room staffed with representatives wearing headsets and sitting in front of computers. But like most things, once you get into the details, a well-run call center is much more complex than what it appears to be on the surface.
According to McKinsey, automation can transform the typical cost center into a revenue generator by boosting sales throughout the customer life cycle. Understanding the power of the call center software available today can help organizations make the best decisions.
Types of Contact Centers
Different types of contact centers include inbound, outbound, outsourced, multi-channel and omni-channel. Each type serves a different objective, and an organization may choose one or more of these at any given time, depending on the company’s highest priorities.
How They Operate
Depending on the type of call center, they can operate in different ways. The most basic ones may simply take inbound customer calls for order placement, problem resolution, or questions. The more sophisticated ones may handle inbound calls through a complex solution incorporating AI software and in-person representatives as well as place outbound calls.
Learn more about Replicant’s contact center automation solutions.
The Purpose of Each Type of Contact Center
Each type offers a different service. For example:
- Inbound: These centers are designed to take new orders, troubleshoot problems, update account information, and collect feedback. Inbound call centers often have unpredictable call volumes, seasonal spikes, and rely on agent availability.
- Outbound: These types of call centers reach out to prospects or current customers to set appointments, conduct surveys, upsell products, or follow-up on inquiries.
- Outsourced: Companies may seek business process outsourcing (BPO) for customer service to meet spikes in seasonal demand. Outsourced centers can handle overflow, reducing caller wait times and frustration.
- Multi-Channel: While individuals still make phone calls for service, many are turning to texting, chatting, or social media posting. According to Gartner, about 44 percent of people preferred problem resolution by phone, 17 percent by chat, and 15 percent by email. Many companies now use agents to respond to customers through all these channels. However, these inquiries and subsequent responses are siloed by individual channels.
- Omni-Channel: An omni-channel contact center serves customers across all channels and shares information across them, allowing conversations to seamlessly switch between platforms.
How Do I Choose the Right Type?
The choice comes down to how it must serve its customers’ needs. For example, small organizations that don’t need to make cold calls would not benefit from a large outbound center. Whichever type of contact center you select, you want to be sure to take the following factors into account:
- Customer Experience: Customer satisfaction should be the overarching KPI for any program. Solutions that provide 24/7 availability, minimum hold times, and the right answers increase resolution and containment rates as well as prevent customer frustration and attrition.
- Automation: Automation plays a key role. Not only has machine learning technology reached the point where tools like conversational AI can fully resolve customer calls without agent intervention, automation can also classify and route calls more intelligently than traditional interactive voice responses systems.
- Agent Empowerment: Happy agents lead to happy customers. Contact centers with greater automation and technology integration mean agents answer fewer redundant calls and spend less time on data entry. This means agents can spend more time on high-empathy calls as well as provide greater business insights into who your customers are and why they call.
- Return on Investment: Call centers are often viewed as cost centers and any investments made should strive toward achieving clear business outcomes in both the short and long-term. Select a solution that reduces overhead while increasing productivity. According to an article in Forbes, 84 percent of companies that work to improve their customer experience report an increase in their revenue.
If you’re looking for a partner that offers contact center automation that can be easily and completely integrated into your business, contact us. Let’s see how we can help you streamline processes, reduce costs, and improve your customer service interactions.