What is Contact center?

A contact center is a communication point from which the companies manage all the interactions of the consumer across multiple channels. The primary focus is to offer superior customer support, provide customer service and assist them in sales.

Contact centers include call centers and other customer contact channels such as emails, chatbots and social media. Organizations collide their discussions with the contact centers in order to devise the customer relationship strategies.

Contact centers are gaining prominence over the years as customers expect the organization to be readily available to their queries and issues on multiple channels. Contact centers offer an omni-channel approach, which helps refine the customer service, understand more about consumer behavior and improves efficiency by creating superior customer experiences.

What are the types of contact centers?

The different types of contact centers are hardware, cloud-based, virtual and hosted contact centers.

Hardware contact centers: Organizations usually install hardware contact centers with the on-premise servers. The organizations just need space and the capacity to maintain the servers and comply with the competent hardware process and procedures.

Cloud-based contact centers: Some organizations host the contact centers in cloud which helps filter the in-bound and out-bound communication. The agents can access the cloud-based contact centers from anywhere, anytime with the help of internet access. These contact centers function the exact same way as the others.

Hosted contact centers: The organization outsources the mechanism to the other company that manages the system and infrastructure from the external environment. This type of approach can help minimize the cost and maintenance fee and thus leads to an increase in ROI.

Virtual Contact centers: These contact centers help the agents to work from a remote environment. These centers pave the way for flexibility. The agents can work from anywhere outside the contact center, thus can save some bucks for the organization.

What are the benefits of a contact center?

  • save time and money:

The customers can contact the agents with a few simple steps either by messaging, or making a call, or texting a chatbot. The customers are readily able to solve their issues without any waiting time or delay in response time. This self-service has helped decrease the effort, time and money on the part of the contact centers.

  • Streamlined customer information:

The contact centers while interacting with the customers, will get to know about their preferences and behavior which will help them to devise the marketing techniques accordingly. Organizations can integrate CRM with the contact centers which will help to collect, store and manage customer information. The organization can collect deeper insights from the data provided by the CRM solution.

  • Improved customer experience:

The contact center agents gather data from multiple channels and input it into different customer profiles. These customer profiles will help the organization to tailor messages for different customers. Understanding and targeting the customers based on their profiles will help boost the customer experience and thereby will help in retaining the customers.

  • Use of IVR (Interactive voice response systems):

Contact centers usually use IVR as a digital assistance that operates during a phone call through keypad entries and vocal prompt messages. Most of the issues and problems stated by the customers are resolved through IVR, not having to necessarily move to the real-life agent. These IVR systems, when equipped with a clear and professional Voiceovers, are designed to predict the intent of the caller and also help direct calls to the suited agent, if required.

How do contact centers work?

Contact centers consist of agents who handle the omni-channel customer support which includes emails, calls, chats, Voice over IP and website assistance.

The key features of contact center are as follows:

  • The organizations keep track of real time reports which helps to analyze and observe the performance of the contact center agents. The reports also contain the level of customer satisfaction across multiple channels.
  • The contact centers have automatic call distributor systems which helps the agents to increase the calls taken and enhance the customer experience thereby.
  • The agents are given scripts, which is usually a framework to provide superior customer support, thereby generating the sales.
  • Agents can share the contact and other related information with other agents and can resolve the problems together thus creating a collaborative workforce.

Difference between contact center and call center

Contact centers and call centers are centers which provide customer service. Many people use these terms interchangeably. The main difference is that a contact center offers omni-channel customer support to its customers , while a call center only manages the inbound and outbound calls.
The contact center helps to enhance the customer experience through its flexible services. Call centers provide customer service, technical support and sales interactions. Organizations mostly use call centers for gathering information, telemarketing , and paying off debt. Etc.,

Technologies used by contact centers

The following are some of the technologies which are used in contact centers in order to enhance and boost the performance of customer support.

  • ACD (automated call distributor) is a computerized system that helps analyze the incoming calls and helps distribute them based on the varying factors.
  • The contact centers have a system for taking care of the email responses. The system which helps store and manage the email based customer inquiries, which will be later forwarded to the appropriate agent.
  • A voice assistant, IVR (interactive voice response) which helps the customers to resolve the queries promptly with the use of voice commands. IVR mostly does not require the assistance of the human agent.
  • A central repository system of information is managed by the contact centers which can help retrieve the information, for handling information, use cases and other related answers for the queries.
  • Individuals who have a hearing impairment can make use of TTY(teletypewriter) and TDD(telecommunications display systems)

Contact center and CRM software

The contact centers can integrate with the CRM software which helps boost the customer experience and enhance the service through the data provided by the CRM database. You can also integrate it with social media and many other channels to obtain customer related information. It helps the contact centers to provide direct and reliable service whenever needed.

Future of Contact centers

Contact centers today need to expand and adapt to new technologies. The consumers use more communication channels and the contact center should try and confront each channel with its new challenges. The following are some of the interactions that contact centers should embark into:


1.social media:

Social media platforms such as linkedin , twitter have become popular communication platforms, making it imperative for organizations to use multiple social media channels.

2. Video Telephony:

The companies can connect with the customers using IP/video telephony services such as facetime, skype, whatsapp which allows for face to face connection, thus building trust and improving the experience.

3. Mobile access:

Customers demand for mobile friendly services such as messaging, instant chats, voice calls and video calls. The organization should provide services that are accessible anywhere, anytime via mobile.

4. Advanced analytics:

Analytics plays an important role in predicting the nature of consumer behavior. The organizations can use speech analytics in order to track, monitor, evaluate and train the employees of the contact center.

Artificial intelligence and augmented reality are likely to take significant roles in the contact centers. Artificial intelligence focuses on agent assist tools which overhears the calls and suggests solutions during a live conversation. With augmented reality, the agents can suggest and showcase the solutions to the problem that involves technicality and also provides verbal connotations over the phone.

Final Thoughts

With contact centers in place, the agents will be able to solve the problems of the customers quickly without any delay in response time. Today in this fast digital world, speed is an important factor that drives customers. The contact center can have customer context which opens up proactive engagement opportunities, which is a ticket to an intelligent contact center. With a combination of engagement, self service options, pro-active agents and multiple support channels, the organizations can develop the customer loyalty which will boost the retention rate and the growth of the business.

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