Business2Community, Katerina Roemer, November 13, 2013


The purpose of contact centers is to provide an avenue of communication between businesses and their customers. Contact center agents respond to incoming communications with knowledge, expertise and solutions. However, the typical employee at any business can fulfill this position, making every business a contact center.

Informal contact centers
There has been an increasing trend in informal contact centers recently, which may not appear as traditional call center facilities. Blair Pleasant, COMMfusioin president and principal analyst, stated that informal contact centers can be comprised of a small, structured group of employees such as an internal helpdesk or a less structured body of an organization. The latter arrangement can include employees from several sections of a business, like sales, service or technical support workers who handle incoming service requests across the company.

In this way, contact centers exist even where some may think they do not. Whenever employees respond and assist with incoming communications or requests, they are performing the standard duties of a call center. Pleasant also stated that a growing number of organizations are adopting such customer assistance practices in lieu of the traditional call center setup.

Unified communication technologies provide opportunities
A driving force for the implementation of an informal contact center within a business is the increased availability and access to hosted PBX, hosted VoIP and other intelligent communications systems.

With these technologies in place within the internal infrastructure of an organization, employees can help customers with questions and issues directly, without outsourcing such communications to a formal call center facility.

Fonality provides solutions specially tailored to allow for this type of communication within an organization. Solutions range from paging capabilities and mobile phone extension services to call recording and skills-based routing. Such services allow businesses to diversify their intelligent communication avenues and offer improved customer service.

Social media
In addition to traditional communication solutions, a variety of technologies are enabling businesses to form their own internal contact centers. The use of social media networks has opened the door to increased and faster communication between company employees and customers.

Countless individuals utilize social media for a variety of purposes not limited to communication. This resource allows businesses to offer customers more opportunities to connect with knowledgeable representatives over a platform with which they are familiar.

According to a recent Shape the Future survey, 96 percent of organizations utilize multiple platforms of communication to interact with customers. Of the 124 contact centers surveyed, 48 percent utilize Twitter as a communication avenue, and an additional 40 percent use Facebook.

Because many organizations already use social media for increased brand visibility, advertising and other purposes, it is only natural for companies to utilize such platforms to respond to customers.

Through social networks, customers can post questions and receive speedy replies from company representatives. These posts not only benefit the individual, but also others who visit the page seeking answers, as they form an informal FAQ list. This way, employees are not answering the same question multiple times, and customers receive the solutions to meet their needs.

Through hosted services and social media platforms, businesses have a unique opportunity to provide customer support from within the organization itself. In this way, every business that responds to incoming questions and requests is a call center.


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