On the surface, contact centers seem to evoke an image of a very specific deployment. Rows of cubicles, with telephone operators chained by their headsets to their workstation. Processing payments, answering customer service inquiries, or providing technical support by following a script, these agents provide a specific service to a specific caller. To be sure, this is a common application. But, as we will show you in this article, there are many other uses for the technology.
What is a Contact Center, really?
When you boil it down to its core, a contact center is very similar to a hunt group. In a traditional hunt group, the incoming call is offered to a list of people in your business in an effort to find someone available as quickly as possible. With a hunt group, if no one is available the algorithm is forced to transfer the call to another service, perhaps a voicemail. On the other hand, a contact center queue can be programmed to keep the inbound caller on the line until an agent can become available to handle their call. A call queue can take the place of almost any hunt group deployed.
In any circumstances where you balance a workforce against the demand for service, a call queue may be a good fit. In fact, the big equation involved in contact center maintenance is the balance between overflow and abandonment.
What Do You Mean Hosted?
Hosted means that the hardware housing the contact center software, its routing, call distribution, and even what happens in the event of a local utility outage, is stored off-site and accessible everywhere. This offers a handful of advantages. You do not have to add additional servers on premise to handle these new flows. You can have a distributed workforce so long as they all have access to the Internet, so you can cover a wider range of operational hours without asking your agents to work odd hours. You can also alter the queues, pull reports, and monitor agent activity remotely.
What are some Atypical Applications?
Like what was said above, a call queue can replace a hunt group, but there are other unique applications that can use the power of a contact center, even in a small operation.
Related Blog: Why Your Small Business Should Consider a Call Queue
A receptionist is still a fixture in many front offices around the world. This concierge may be tasked with activities that can take him or her away from the front desk. In addition, sometimes call volume dictates the receptionist handles multiple calls at once. Rather than forcing the receptionist to answer the call then place it on hold immediately to answer the next one, a contact center queue can place those incoming calls in order, delivering them one at a time. During the call hold, customized messages can even answer frequently asked questions like hours of operation or location, freeing up the receptionist to answer only the most important inquiries.
Departments like accounts receivable can have a lot of calls at one time. Like the receptionist example, above, can utilize a contact center queue to deliver the calls to the department members who are available in a more orderly fashion.
Any business that has variable incoming call patterns, such as a florist or auto mechanic, can use a call queue to handle those infrequent times when call volume bursts. This permits the business to employ fewer agents to handle more customers.
And that’s the point! Contact center applications can be set up to most effectively use fewer employees to help more customers. If you can correctly balance overflow (too many calls) with abandonment (customers who wait too long and hang up) you can make the most of your customer facing employees.