Is Your Contact Center Providing Customer Satisfaction?

Today providing timely access to information for your customer is critical. One way that current enterprises address this need is through their contact center. For a contact center to meet this growing demand of customer satisfaction it must have some key critical components.   

First let’s define a contact center and their components.  A contact center is where enterprises manage all customer contacts. From the “external” side customers access information via one or more of the following multi channels; emails, e-mail newsletters, postal mail, catalogs, web site inquiries, chats, twits, phone calls, hand held devices and yes, faxes.

 A key point to remember is that marketing is responsible for creating, promoting, and monitoring customer satisfaction programs; thus marketing should understand the key components and functions of a contact center so they can make their customers and others aware of the value propositions and benefits of a contact center.

From the “internal or operational” side the contact center has to match a considerable amount of diverse volume with the ability to route the information, track the customer and their requests, provide the data, and link the requested channel access with the appropriate person or method, and all of this in a very easy and timely way.

 Here are the key components required in today’s environment that are needed to handle these functions:

  • PBX/IPPBX or Key System, which is a telephone switching system that handles the phone calls (800 numbers), and internet (if its supports the internet /web site) requests
  • Automate call management is system that distributes incoming calls to a specific group of terminals that agents use. Also included in this category are functions such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Automatic Call Distribution (ACD), Computer Telephony Integration (CTI or Call Transaction Servicer, Internet, and dialers) that all provide interfaces with the computing systems and the telephony systems.
  • Data base infrastructure for storage and retrieval of information Here you have your servers; data base management systems and integrated directories.
  • Internet web site for internet and two way interactions
  • Specialized software for applications like text to speech or speech recognition that allows customers to input requests via voice or text and hear or read responses.
  • Agent pools, those people you eventually talk to that  handle the phone calls
  • Recording and quality control systems  usually for legal and regulatory reasons
  • Other media server (A dedicated computer appliance or to a specialized application software) providing for such things as faxes, digital voice and video
  • Security functions for the protection of the customer information and your data
  • Self Serve function ways for customers to resolve their problem themselves


A couple of critical issues that must be addressed for any contact center:

One is the overall is the integration of these functions.  This integration can be the difference between a world class contact center and one that causes nothing but customer frustration.  One example of this integration is the following: Have you even called an 800 number and one of the input requests is your social security number and then you get transferred to someone or another directory and the first thing you are asked is please input your social security number? Sometimes this request happens numerous times before you either get a person and or your answer.  This lack of integration does not support customer satisfaction.

Second, customers want options and want to access information via their favorite media; therefore a contact center must have multi channels of access.  This multi access must be such that a customer can access his information from home or anywhere else at anytime.

Bottom line is that customers are in control and thus any barriers or obstacle that you put in their way will lead to trouble (customer dissatisfaction) and potentially lost customers and revenue.

Have you analyzed your contact center to see if it is current with the new technologies?


RHL 9/28/10

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