Contact Center Love - Part One

The other day I ran into an old friend while traveling who I had not seen in more than 10 years.  As expected, we discussed all that had been going on in our lives for the past 10 years including our families, old friends, and inevitably our careers.

He’s in the banking industry and is doing well.  “I’m not surprised,” I said to him. He’d always been very bright and dedicated.  When I mentioned my work, a contact center professional of sorts, I got an all too familiar reaction.  My old friend grimaced at the thought of “those annoying phone menus” and then nodded.  He was not at all excited about my job.  It occurred to me then that other people probably are not excited about contact centers either. But I am. 

After that conversation, I questioned why I am so excited about contact centers.  Like an ugly old tee-shirt, I thought that maybe people just don’t understand its value or why it’s important.  I am one of the lucky ones that has the opportunity to live and breathe all types of contact centers on a daily basis.  Most people don’t know contact centers like I do.

The contact center was created for one purpose -  to allow you, their valued customer, a way to speak to and connect with their business.  When nurtured properly, a contact center is the most powerful tool a company can have to establish a customer relationship and create loyalty.

Before you gag, let me say that I know the adages about contact centers.  I am never surprised when I hear about the long hold times, terrible music, and maybe even a painful exchange with a service representative.  What may surprise you, however, is the enormous amount of time, money, and effort that goes into trying to prevent a bad experience and the reasons why companies invest so heavily in their own contact centers.

A contact center invests heavily in technology and the proper staff to “man the phones” and to ensure that you get the best experience they can give.  The contact center industry is over a $6 billion per year endeavor.  This means that companies of all sizes make significant investments to handle their customers’ phone calls, emails, and any other means of communication. 

A well managed contact center, technology included, is often the core of a company’s value proposition.  Contact centers matter and business owners would do well to remember that.  There are many examples of companies that understand this and have had tremendous growth and garnered loyal customers.

Understanding how important the role of a contact center can be is critical to any business that has customers that want to communicate with them and as a personal benefit maybe, just maybe, I won’t be met with that blank stare when I say I work with contact center technology.

My hope is to shed some light on the value of contact centers so please stay tuned to the rest of my series “Contact Center Love”.