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Contact center technology: Definitions, types and benefits

Not that long ago, contact center technology consisted of little more than telephones. Outside of in-person interactions, a telephone call was the only way for customers to interact with a business.

Today, the channels that we use to interact with each other have grown greatly. We email, text, or use social media to converse with each other and we expect to converse with businesses in the same way.

With the explosion in communication options, call centers have become omnichannel contact centers and have adapted and evolved from one-to-one communications centers to multi-channel communication hubs. All these channels and the tools that underpin them are what we’ve come to know as contact center technology.

In this article, we’ll explain what contact center technology is and how businesses can use it to create exceptional customer experiences.

What is contact center technology?

In a nutshell, contact center technology encompasses all the technical components that shape the customer journey. If that sounds like a lot, it is. Contact centers help guide an increasingly complex customer journey that includes emails, texts, instant messaging, phone calls, and more. The tools that power these actions are what we refer to as contact center technology.

For more on the differences between call centers and contact centers, check out this article: Contact center vs. call center: What's the difference?

What are the benefits of contact center technology?

Now that we have a high-level understanding of what contact center technology is, let’s dig into why companies choose to deploy this technology. These are just some of the benefits reaped from using different types of contact center technologies:

1. Increased revenue. There are a lot of ways that contact center technology can help increase revenue, but one of the most powerful ways is through personalization. Consider Chipotle. Using Microsoft contact center products along with strong CX transformation strategy, they were able to offer individually tailored offers to customers at the moments when they were most receptive to those offers. The results: a projected $280 annual revenue growth and 34% customer growth.

Read the full Chipotle case study.

2. Decreased costs. One of the biggest ways to lower customer service costs is by having fewer live-person conversations, and contact center technology is the means by which you can enable a higher degree of self-service. This is a win-win situation as customers increasingly state that they would rather self-serve than speak with an agent. One example is work TTEC Digital did with a dental insurance provider to contain and deflect contacts to self-service channels. The result was $13M in cost savings.

For more on how TTEC Digital helped an insurance client reduce costs, see page 23 of The CX Power of Conversations.

3. Higher productivity. Contact center technologies that automate more of the customer experience can serve more customers more quickly and at scale. These technologies also free up human agents to be more productive in their customer interactions. For instance, when the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services implemented cloud and AI technology to deflect calls to self-service channels, they saw shorter hold times and faster support with a 24% call deflection rate.

Read the full Wyoming DWS case study.

4. Higher agent satisfaction. As contact center technology automates more of the manual tasks associated with contact center work, agents may find higher satisfaction in their work. Tools like conversation transcription and conversation summarization eliminate mundane tasks, freeing agents to focus on higher-value customer conversations.

For more on how to increase agent satisfaction, check out this article: 7 agent enablement tools to simplify the employee experience.

5. Higher customer satisfaction. No matter how big your brand, your customers want to feel like you know them and value them. In fact, 84% of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very crucial to winning their wallet. Contact center technologies that leverage AI – like conversation intelligence – can help you achieve personalization at scale

Learn more about conversation intelligence.

How can I best leverage contact center technology? Go to the cloud.

Modern contact centers incorporate omnichannel, AI-powered end-to-end solutions that address both organizational, employee and customer needs. These modern solutions are based in the cloud, which is why we’ll focus on cloud contact center technology as a starting point. From there, the possibilities and integrations are nearly endless.

What is cloud contact center technology?

Rather than being tied to a physical location, a cloud contact center delivers your contact center technologies over the internet – or in “the cloud” through a system of servers. And the latest technologies don’t use servers at all, with all services running in cloud platforms like AWS and Google with no need to maintain server infrastructure. With a cloud contact center, you get inbound and outbound telephone connectivity through the internet as well as other tools to engage with customers over their preferred channels, like email, SMS, social media and more.

What are the benefits of cloud contact centers?

The pandemic hastened the migration from on-premises contact centers to cloud-based contact centers mainly because cloud-based solutions don’t require employees to be physically present in a shared space. But even as employees return to in-person work, the migration to cloud continues because the benefits simply outweigh those of on-premises solutions. These benefits include:

1. Agility and scalability. Unlike on-premises systems, cloud-based systems reduce the need for frequent on-site maintenance and patching, freeing-up more time and resources to focus on high value business activities. Cloud-based offerings also allow companies to quickly react to new demands and scale up or down as needed.

2. Cost-efficiency. Cloud contact centers often shift costs from a capital expense (CAPEX) to an operating expense (OPEX). The low upfront operating expense of subscription models found in most cloud contact center contracts is one of the advantages of a cloud migration. Unlike traditional on-premises hardware solutions that require a costly upfront lift to build out, cloud solutions can fit much more easily into existing administrative budgets.

3. Improved employee performance. Cloud based contact centers often include some cool features, like gamification. It may sound like fun and games, but tools like Genesys Cloud Gamification drive agent performance by transitioning performance-based objectives into points and metrics. Tools like this can give employees a single place to view and manage their performance in real-time while gamifying their day-to-day for a more engaging and motivating experience. A TTEC Digital client, Tandem Diabetes Care, implemented this program and saw a three-minute drop in average handle time.

4. Omnichannel capabilities. An omnichannel customer experience is not the same as a multichannel customer experience. Customers expect to interact with your brand on different channels – for example, in your retail store as well as on a mobile app, website or social channel. That’s multichannel. Omnichannel is what happens when those channels are connected, and customers can move across them seamlessly. Cloud-based contact center technology enables an omnichannel experience that provides consistent, personalized touchpoints across a variety of channels.

What to know before a cloud contact center migration

If you’re considering a move from an on-premises contact center to a cloud contact center, we’ve curated some articles that can help with your decision:

What’s next for your contact center technology?

If you want to modernize your contact center but aren’t sure where to start, TTEC Digital can help. We offer a 4 Step Contact Center Technology Ecosystem Assessment that will help you create a clear roadmap for contact center optimization. You can schedule a complimentary 30-minute discovery session – just contact us to get started.

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