Updated: Sep 10, 2019
That’s a trick question, customer service is important to every organization that exists.
Those customers can be clients that buy from you, or internal employees that need help, or parents of your students. All of these scenarios and countless more call for a high level of customer service.
Historically call centers, or contact centers, have supplied these capabilities. You hear call center and think of rows of cubicles with people wearing headsets, answering calls. If you are one of the many organizations who do not have a contact center, you may be surprised to learn, that even though you haven’t yet invested in contact center equipment & software, technically you are operating a contact center...without the software and hardware of course. Even if you are a solo entrepreneur, the moment someone reaches out to your organization you have the beginnings of what a contact center is designed to do. Contact centers are designed to receive calls and provide assistance, answer questions or convey information to callers who may desire to do business or create a relationship with you.
The challenge begins when the volume of those callers exceeds the resources you have available to handle the calls efficiently and cost effectively. Yet the goal remains the same, to provide those callers a good to great customer experience so they become loyal, repeat customers.
In the early days of phone systems, organizations had to add more people, telephone lines, and equipment to handle those callers. That idea however, was not a long-term answer because of the substantial cost of equipment and human resources needed - and adding more resources alone was not the ideal solution to deliver the best customer experience.
The answer was to design a separate phone system to handle high inbound call volumes that could accept more telephone lines than the number of people hired to handle those calls. Those people (called agents/representatives) were trained to handle those calls so a good customer experience was achieved. The telephone lines were automatically placed on hold, or in a queue, and the caller was told via recording, that their call was going to answered in the order it was received. Once an agent became available the caller was routed to the available agent. Eventually these calls were routed to agents specifically trained to handle calls for sales, billing, products, support or other call types. This system originally was called an ACD or Automatic Call Distribution and later became known as a call center or contact center. This specialized equipment was much more efficient and delivered much better customer satisfaction but was very expensive and only larger organizations or enterprises could afford them.
These contact centers were all stand alone, premise based systems that were loosely tied to the organization’s phone system. The equipment needed its own space (square footage), consumed lots of power and electricity which needed special air-conditioned rooms to house the equipment. The on-going maintenance was substantial. Separate or additional IT personnel was required to manage and maintain the contact center. Most organizations couldn’t invest in this type of equipment, software, and resources in order to provide good customer experience. Again only larger organizations or enterprises were able to invest the capital and resources necessary to provide a contact center.
However, that has all changed today. Whether you are a one person organization or have multiple locations with thousands of employees you no longer need to invest in a separate on-premise contact center.
Cloud telephone systems have changed the need for expensive hardware, software, telephone lines, and services. With the advances of Cloud or Internet based Telephone Service, which is not located on your premise. Today all you need is a telephone number and a computer internet connection to have full contact center functionality. That telephone number can be part of your existing telephone system, or a home number, or a mobile device such as a smartphone, PC, or tablet. There are no long-term maintenance agreements, just a monthly subscription charge with no hidden fees – very much like a utility bill for your electricity or water.
By leveraging a Cloud Contact Center you have the ability to expand or reduce the number of phones (agents) and it's easy to manage the changes, and is most often at a dramatically lower cost. If your organization has peak or seasonal business, you can easily add or reduce the features or service (bandwidth).
Cloud Telephone Systems and Contact Center Software are Reliable, Flexible and Risk Free. Sounds Simple? It is! Request a quote or give us call at 713.910.1401 to find out more.