Contact centre (business)
||It has been suggested that this article be merged into Call centre. (Discuss) Proposed since December 2013.|
A contact centre is a facility used by companies to manage all client contact through a variety of media such as telephone, fax, letter, e-mail and increasingly, online live chat. It can be defined as a coordinated system of people, processes, technologies and strategies that provides access to information, resources, and expertise, through appropriate channels of communication, enabling interactions that create value for the customer and organization.
Distinct from call centres, that purely handle telephone correspondence, contact centres have a variety of roles that combine to provide an all encompassing solution to client, and customer contact. Contact centres, along with call centres and communication centres all fall under a larger umbrella labelled as the contact centre management industry. This is becoming a rapidly growing recruitment sector in itself, as the capabilities of contact centres expand and thus require ever more complex systems and highly skilled operational and management staff.
The majority of large companies use contact centres as a means of managing their customer interaction. These centres can be operated in two major ways, the first, by having an in house department responsible for the day to day communications with customers, the second to outsource customer interaction to a third party agency.
Contact centres can also offer a number of different services. One of the most popular is the support or help desk, which regularly answers technical questions from customers and assists them using their equipment or software. Frequently, support desks are used by companies in the computing, telecommunications and consumer electronics industries.
Equally important are the customer service contact centres that answer specific queries relating to customer issues, in the banking and utility sectors these are frequently used to answer customer questions relating to their account or payments, this type of service may even be used to respond to customer complaints and undertake retention strategies for dissatisfied customers.
Finally there are contact centres that carry out sales and marketing activities; these can be performed through cold calling strategies and increasingly through live chat applications on company websites.
Outsourced Contact Centres
Despite the recent criticisms of outsourced contact centres they are becoming an increasingly popular option for companies due to the fact that they allow companies to reduce their overheads in comparison to creating an in-house department to manage customer interaction.
Essentially outsourced opencontact centres can be successful if the agency is highly capable, can provide a professional service (to both the company and the customer) and is as dedicated to protecting the brand as someone in an in-house team would be.
There are a wide variety of companies that regularly utilise outsourced contact centre services. These companies are located in a range of different industry sectors and include Sky (British Sky Broadcasting) and Orange (telecommunications) in the telecommunications industry, Adidas in the sports and leisure sector, Audi in car manufacturing  and even charities such as the RSPCA.
- "Contact Centre vs Communication Centre vs Call Centre". EWA Bespoke Communications.
- Cleveland, Brad, "Call Center Management on Fast Forward (Third Edition)", ICMI Press, 2012
- "Cactus Search - List of Call Centre Management Roles We Recruit". Cactus Search.
- "Orange currently outsources work to Indian units of Convergys Corp". The Wall Street Journal.
- "adidas setup a dedicated customer care centre". Adidas.
- "Audi chose Confero as an outsourced contact centre". Confero.
Contact Centre Partners recruit for contact centre roles within the UK and overseas.