The Contact Center and the Call Center: Customer Service Battlestations

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The Contact Center and the Call Center: Customer Service Battlestations

It is lurking. When everything is going well we forget it’s slumbering presence, waiting to be awoken. One broken part, an incorrect billing or multiple fails and it awakens, sometimes with enough force to take down a business. It is the beast known as Customer Dissatisfaction.

In the fight to conquer this beast there are two main types of battle stations: the Call Center and the Contact Center. Both types of centers are helpful in winning the battle. They have some things in common: Either battle station can be in-house or outsourced to save on staffing and IT costs. They can also be virtual with a potentially worldwide team capable of battling Customer Dissatisfaction 24/7. However, each center engages in combat using different tools.

The Call Center

This is the battle station that was created first. The Call Center, as the name implies, focuses on phone communication. These centers can be employed for incoming calls, as with customer service issues, or outgoing calls, as in sales calls. They can also be a blend of the two types serving the needs of current customers and potential future customers.

A call center can be used to deal with Customer Dissatisfaction after it is awakened and help to prevent it from being roused in the first place. By swiftly addressing customer calls using automated tools and human agents Customer Dissatisfaction is quelled. By analyzing call data to quantify performance, identify recurring issues or using surveys to discover customer needs and improve retention, plans can be put in place that prevent Customer Dissatisfaction from rising at all.

Still research has shown that telephone interaction has resistance. Aspect conducted a study where over one third of those polled chose voice/phone as the most irritating method of customer service communication – double that of just going to a company site instead. Trends in customer communication have given rise to our second battle station: the Contact Center.

The Contact Center

The Contact Center battle station uses multiple weapons of mass communication to defeat Customer Dissatisfaction via email, video interfaces, chat boxes and/or social media interaction in addition to the classic battleaxe: the telephone. A contact center can be comprised of one or more call centers also.

The arsenal of tech tools and interfaces contact centers can employ include:

  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR) – Also used by call centers, this long-standing tool can use automated menus to address a customer issue or be designed to enable a customer to relay their issue directly to a computer or direct them to a live agent
  • Speech Analytics – This kind of AI can identify words or phrases and even tone or inflection to identify a customer’s issue and route it or address it more effectively.
  • Emotions Analytics (aka Emotional Analytics)  – This tool can decipher whether a customer is calm, concerned or in a full rage by analyzing facial expressions in video communications, vocal tone and words in audio communications and words and emojis in social communication
  • Social Media Monitoring – Social has become huge. According to Twitter customers increased their use of the platform for customer service by 250% over 2015 and 2016 . By addressing customer issues over social platforms quickly businesses benefit by increased loyalty, advocacy and customer purchases.
  • Video interaction – Skype, Facetime, Instagram, YouTube – video is a huge part of our lives and customers turn to it to learn, to advocate and to complain. Companies who allow for a video based customer service experience are tapping into this trend using both social versions and business-focused video interfaces right on their websites and the Contact Center is the hub.

With so many weapons at the ready, the contact center is a powerful asset in the battle with Customer Dissatisfaction. This battle is one worth fighting for the benefit of customers and businesses alike.  According to research by Groove HQ, there is more behind a complaint than a single dissatisfied customer. They found that every one customer that logs a complaint stands for a small troop of 26 dissatisfied customers that don’t take the time to communicate their issue to the company.

That isn’t the sum of the damage either. The research also shows that a satisfied customer will share their tale of customer joy with nine others but a dissatisfied customer will tell their tale of woe to 16 people on average. This is why the Call Center and The Contact Center are vital to success in the business realm.

When Customer Satisfaction is cultivated business is preserved on multiple fronts:

  • More revenue and retention is likely from an existing customer than a new one
  • Customers are willing to pay for a better service experience – 140% more according to Harvard Business Review research on customer transactions from 2 global $1b+ businesses .
  • And a happy customer costs a business less with fewer returns and less support required

When Customer Dissatisfaction is defeated both customer and business have a chance at lasting peace.