What is a Contact Center? Definition and Benefits
What’s the best way to retain customers?
Some might say incredible products that will sell themselves. Others may argue that having the best price on the market attracts the most consumers. Still others may argue that an online presence, or a memorable brand, or any number of other factors is the best way to engage and retain customers.
According to the customers themselves, though, studies have shown that customers who receive good customer care are 3.5x more likely to make repeat purchases.
Whether you’re trying to grow your business through new acquisition strategies, scaling up your products or converting existing customers into loyal ones, there’s no doubt that having exceptional service and care is a major driver of customer satisfaction and repeat purchases. The best way to provide consistent customer care? A dedicated contact center for your brand.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- what a contact center is
- who should use one & their benefits
- how to decide which type of contact center is right for you
So, what is a contact center?
A contact center is a team within your organization that manages customer experience and interactions. While a traditional call center only handles voice calls, a contact center can handle interactions from a variety of channels, such as voice, SMS, web chat, social media, email and more.
Contact centers also implement modern technological solutions to interact with customers and streamline customer experiences, track customer data and communications, and measure and analyze performance and valuable KPIs.
Depending on your needs and goals as a business, contact centers can either be managed and staffed internally or can be outsourced to an external agency.
Types of contact centers
Not all contact centers are created equal, though. There’s a variety of contact center organizational structures and methods, each of which have differing benefits and drawbacks. Before you decide which is right for your business, take a look at some of the different types of contact centers.
- Outsourced contact centers. Hiring and managing a full contact center internally can be a big (and expensive!) task—which is why many successful businesses work with outsourced contact centers. Outsourced contact centers have many benefits, including providing technology and systems to your business to improve handle time and increase sales, managing the support team externally and more.
- Multi-channel contact centers. A multi-channel contact center, as the name suggests, can handle many channels, from email to social media to voice calls and text messages and more. The number of channels included depends on your business needs and goals. However, despite being able to monitor many channels, a multi-channel contact center often doesn’t implement technology to streamline each of these channels across the team. This can often mean a disjointed experience for the customer, especially if they reach out multiple times and speak to a different associate each time—each associate may not have information on the previous customer interaction.
- Omnichannel contact centers. An omnichannel contact center, like a multi-channel contact center, can handle many different channels. The distinction between the two is not that an omnichannel contact center handles every possible channel, of course (that would be nearly impossible!).
Rather, an omnichannel contact center makes use of technology that connects each of the channels it operates in and integrates customer communications to a single platform, so each team member can see the entire history of contact with each customer. This allows omnichannel contact centers to provide a streamlined customer experience.
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What are the benefits of a contact center?
When it comes to the customer experience, the benefits of a contact center are obvious: better customer service, a streamlined experience, quicker resolution and handle time, and more. However, there are also many benefits of a contact center for your business:
- improved brand consistency and messaging across all channels and customer communication
- increased sales and growth
- excellent customer service that gives you a competitive advantage
- improved customer retention, loyalty and satisfaction
- ability to provide an omnichannel communication strategy
- cost savings for your team as well as improved KPIs and metrics
Let’s dive into two of the biggest benefits of using a contact center.
Improve customer experiences
Let’s dive into some of the biggest benefits of using a contact center.
Today’s customers have grown to expect omnichannel presences, lightning-fast response time and effortless resolutions from businesses they purchase from. If you nail the customer service experience, you can create a loyal customer.
On the flip side, in the US, 32% of all customers would walk away from a brand they loved after just one bad customer experience. After a few bad experiences? 59% of customers would stop shopping with the brand.
A customer-obsessed and digitally integrated contact center, like Global Response, can provide outstanding customer support, every time, no matter how the customer decides to reach out. Creating a frictionless experience for the customer is one of the main benefits of a contact center—and something that improves customer experience, satisfaction and retention.
Increase sales and growth
A happy customer is a loyal customer.
And customer service matters more than you might think. 65% of US customers say that a positive experience with a brand is more influential than great advertising and 73% say that their experiences with a brand are as important as price and product quality when making purchasing decisions.
Many brands outsource customer service to a low-budget call center. This is certainly a cost to the bottom-line, but it’s not an investment. Investing in a high-quality contact center with a growth strategy for your business can not only improve customer experience and brand loyalty, but also provide meaningful sales growth.
In the first year that FILA worked with Global Response, they saw a 25% growth in online sales!
Who should use a contact center?
Knowing what a contact center is is great, but how do how do you know if their right for your business? While almost any business or brand trying to improve customer service and distinguish themselves as a competitive, customer-focused brand can benefit from a call center, there are a few industries that often really benefit from the services a contact center provides.
Customers today have more options than ever.
They can shop anywhere, anytime, for almost any product. The way to stand out? Superior customer service and a seamless customer experience. A contact center can provide a solution to scale up your team without ballooning overhead, provide consistent brand messaging across every channel, and support your customers no matter how they reach out.
Healthcare is a highly emotional industry—and one where it’s hard to deliver exceptional care at scale.
In an industry where burnout is high, contact centers allow healthcare industry professionals to scale their team without encountering huge costs. A contact center supports your immediate team, while also providing the warm human touch necessary to best care for all of your clients, state-of-the-art technology and systems, and a smooth and safe experience for your customers.
Traditional banking is a thing of the past—which means traditional banking customer services and experiences need an update as well.
Today, consumers expect speed, convenience and seamless support from their banks and financial institutions, while still requiring the same security and protection they could expect from brick-and-mortar banks. A contact center provides seamless support for customers’ banking needs, no matter where they are, and provides digital solutions and cybersecurity while still providing the human touch that consumers crave.
We’ve never been more connected—which also means that customers have never had more options in (or expected more from) the consumer services industry.
Consumer services businesses benefit from a contact center to drive sales support, retention and top-notch customer service to drive your brand. In a world with nearly unlimited options and high customer expectations, a contact center makes sure that your consumer services truly do provide the best service.
The automotive industry involves big-ticket purchases and high emotional investment. With the automotive industry leading the way in state-of-the-art technology for our everyday lives, shouldn’t your contact center do the same?
Contact centers provide a way for automotive business to provide a human touch for a highly emotional purchase, increase customer satisfaction to create lifelong customers and meet customers right where they are to provide instant and empathetic support.
What is the difference between a call center and a contact center?
Perhaps you’ve also considered using a call center, or currently have a call center and are wondering if it’s worth it to transition to a contact center for your business.
When considering which is right for you, it’s essential to understand the differences between a call center and a contact center.
|Call Centers||Contact Centers|
|Traditional customer service, focuses on voice calls||More holistic and robust customer support experience|
|Provides customer support via phone||Provides omnichannel support for a seamless customer experience|
|Can be both inbound and outbound, may provide some multi-channel support||Uses modern technology and processes to streamline systems, improve operational efficiency and strengthen customer engagement|
A call center is a traditional solution that provides customer support via voice calls. Call centers can provide both inbound and outbound support, however, this support typically begins and ends with phone services.
A contact center provides more robust customer support across many channels, including voice, text, web chat, email, social media, and more. Contact centers also have technological solutions to streamline systems and operations, provide quicker and more optimized customer support and strengthen customer engagement.
Which is better: contact centers vs. call centers?
Know that we know what a contact center is, how do they differ from traditional call centers?
In the past, call centers were a reasonable solution. Call centers allowed businesses to provide real-time support to customers through a primary means of communication: a simple phone call. However, in today’s modern world, phone calls are no longer a primary means of communication, nor are they the fastest means of support.
Modern customers require modern solutions.
Customers now want to be able to reach your business whenever and wherever they are, and be able to find accurate and quick help. Whether that’s sending you a DM on social media when they see a post from your company to ask about a new product, email you to initiate a return or reach out via web chat about your store location closest to them, customers expect an omnichannel approach that anticipates their needs and streamlines their experience.
Contact centers—especially omnichannel contact centers—provide the technology and processes to provide exceptional customer support to today’s modern consumer.
How much does a contact center cost?
The cost of hiring a call center varies greatly depending on the services you need, how many services you need, and where your call center will be located.
An onshore call center (located in the US) will be more expensive than an offshore call center in, say, India or the Philippines, but it can also provide valuable resources and exceptional customer service that is often worth the cost.
Onshore call centers typically cost about $20-$30 hourly, per agent.
Nearshore call centers may cost around $10 – $20 hourly, per agent.
Offshore call centers may cost around $6 – $14 hourly, per agent.
Remember that a call center is more than just a service—it’s a partnership that can provide valuable data, analytics, brand recognition, customer service and retention. If you’re not sure which kind of call center is right for you, check out our guide to offshore, onshore and nearshore call centers.
Some call centers may also charge per minute, so that you can pay for only what you need. The more minutes you pay for, the cheaper per-minute cost you’ll have. In general, you’ll see prices between $0.98 – $1.75 per minute.
With Global Resource, you can make sure you’re getting the exact services you need at a price that’s right for you. Check out our full list of services and contact a customer service expert today for a quote based on what you need—and nothing you don’t.
When you’re ready to scale up your team, increase sales and perfect your customer service experience, Global Response is here with customer management experience that puts people first. Save money and increase sales with a brand-obsessed, people-first team that delivers a high-touch, superior customer experience, every time.