Let’s be honest: The idea of opening a massive contact center probably isn’t all that appealing, especially if you are a startup or small to medium-sized business operating on a tight budget and trying to run an agile operation.
Building a traditional contact center, after all, is no small ordeal. It requires a lot of space, hiring dedicated staff members, securing premium communications infrastructure, and so on. All things considered, a traditional contact center can be one of the most resource-intensive departments in the company.
Despite these challenges, contact centers are extremely important—more so, in fact, than ever before. In the age of the customer experience (CX), where expectations are through the roof, ensuring a seamless and helpful interaction with your brand has become one of the golden rules of doing business. According to Salesforce, 47 percent of customers claim they will stop buying from a company if they have a subpar experience; 76 percent of customers say it’s easier than ever to take their business elsewhere.
The Departmental, Informal Contact Center
Without the services of a contact center, it’s just about impossible to keep customers satisfied—putting business owners today in a tough predicament about how to proceed. As a workaround, many businesses are embracing the idea of informal, or departmental, informal contact centers.
An informal contact center is one where non-traditional employees (like sales associates or IT personnel) are empowered to interact with customers over channels like voice, email, and live chat. It can reduce or eliminate the need to hire full-time customer service representatives.
Informal contact centers typically leverage a cloud communications platform, which can be accessed securely from any location. All communication takes place over a centralized, cloud-based portal—in effect, enabling a borderless customer service department.
The Benefits Of Informal Contact Centers
Some of the top benefits to using an informal contact center include:
Reduced CAPEX & OPEX
By taking an informal, departmental approach, and leveraging cloud software, a business can provide strong customer service without having to spend enormous amounts of money on backend telephony infrastructure and agent-facing equipment with an informal contact center. It will also eliminate all overhead that would otherwise have to be spent on a physical, traditional contact center (like floor space, seats, utilities, and so on).
Keep Employees Connected With An Informal Contact Center
In a traditional contact center environment, dedicated agents handle most customer-facing interactions. Information is entered into a customer relationship management (CRM) portal, where it can then be exported to other teams like sales, marketing, and Research and Development. One of the downsides to a traditional contact center environment is that it creates a barrier—and a disconnection—between customers and employees. All too often, critical customer data simply goes unused. By allowing high-ranking team members to communicate directly with customers, it can serve as a valuable educational component that can lead to better products and services, and happier customers in the long run.
Improve Loyalty With Informal Contact Centers
Customers, of course, will appreciate connecting with experienced team members instead of part time call center agents. For example, imagine using a software as a service (SaaS) solution to run a business, running into a problem and contacting customer support—and instead of speaking with a regular agent, you connect with a lead developer who knows the ins and outs of the software better than anyone. This type of experience will foster feelings of strong brand loyalty—and it will reinforce the message that the company really cares about providing great support, to the point where workers will take time out of their busy day to help solve problems.