Four features of contact center evolution | TechTarget (2023)

Contact center evolution is explored through four key features, identifying how contact centers have changed through the past, present and future.

Four features of contact center evolution | TechTarget (1)


Published: 19 Jul 2016

(Video) The Contact Center Evolution: Omnichannel vs. Channelless

Call centers were created to provide an efficient way for customers to contact a company when they have questions regarding its products and services.

During the past 40 years, call centers have evolved tremendously becoming contact centers; today's capabilities weren't on the radar even 10 years ago. Who can imagine what a contact center will look like in another 10 years? Here we take a look at contact center evolution by examining where contact centers were, where contact centers are and where contact centers are going in the following key areas:

1. Technology

Where contact centers were. Contact centers used separate on-premises-based systems, each performing specific functions. Organizations were responsible for integrating their Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) with a separate workforce management system with a separate call recording system. Each system had its own licensing requirements, and all systems had to be integrated seamlessly to function properly. Especially when problems arose, working with multiple vendors was not an easy task.

Where contact centers are. Currently, various providers offer integrated contact center software technologies, especially in the cloud environment. A single solution provides an integrated suite of features including workforce optimization, call recording, analytics and more. There is no longer a need to work with a variety of vendors paying multiple invoices and integrating different platforms.

Where contact centers are going. The integration of software will continue to be a part of the contact center evolution, especially as it relates to contact center software and CRM technologies. Currently, some contact center software can track the history of customer interactions. Some "intelligent" CRM solutions can route contacts to agents. It is only a matter of time until a single set of integrated software technologies can improve the customer experience and drive operational efficiencies.

2. Communications channels

Where contact centers were. For some time, the only way to reach out to a contact center was by making a phone call or sending a letter. ACD technology was and did an effective job of routing calls to agents. Mail involved a host of problems, including illegible handwriting as well as letters being misplaced (sometimes purposely -- remember finding stacks of letters in agents' desk drawers?) and never being processed.

Where contact centers are. Currently, customers can reach out to a contact center via a variety of communications channels: voice, chat, email and social media. This variety of channels provides customers with options and -- depending on their preference and what they are trying to say -- allows the customer to select the most appropriate option. This expansion of channels of communication has created many challenges for organizations in assuring they have the tools and staff in place to respond to each of these channels.

(Video) The future digital contact center

Where contact centers are going. Looking ahead, channels of communication are going to continue to expand. Video chat provides great opportunities for customers to interact with organizations and see visual demonstrations on how to use a product. SMS is another channel that has huge potential for growth as we see Millennials constantly using this channel to communicate. As these channels expand with contact center evolution, organizations will continue to be challenged in assuring they can respond effectively across all channels and provide an outstanding customer experience.

3. Self-service

Where contact centers were: For a long time, interactive voice response (IVR) was the primary technology that organizations implemented to support customer self-service. The primary reason IVR was implemented was to deflect calls from the contact center with the goal of reducing overall costs. The success of IVR was measured by the number of calls that could be handled without having to transfer to an agent, with minimal focus on the customer experience.

Where contact centers are. Throughout contact center evolution, self-service has expanded with customers being able to self-serve via phone, web, mobile and more. Organizations have become more aware of providing an "acceptable" customer experience, and many organizations have implemented best practices -- e.g., limited menu choices and customer-friendly scripts, among others -- for the self-service experience.

Where contact centers are going: Self-service will expand with the growth of collaboration among users of a company's products and services. Customers will not have to reach out to an organization to get questions answered. Instead, collaborative forums will be available -- they are available to some extent today -- where customers can reach out to fellow customers to find out the best ways to use a product or service.

4. Data analysis

Where contact centers were. As a result of having standalone systems, contact centers produced mounds of reports focusing on individual pieces of data, primarily from ACDs, including how quickly a phone was answered, the average length of a phone call, etc.

Where contact centers are. Currently, contact centers use balanced scorecards. These scorecards can be at an agent, team or department level, and display, in a single place, the results of key metrics including: service levels, quality results, -call , customer satisfaction and more. The balanced scorecard attempts to balance the reporting of key metrics across the spectrum of efficiency, effectiveness and customer experience, among other things.

Where contact centers are going. Looking ahead, organizations will provide information on how the results of transactions in the contact center impact customer behavior including items such as: repeat purchasing, retention and more. Instead of relying on asking customers about their potential purchase behavior following a transaction, organizations will provide follow-up reporting to determine if customer behavior matches the intent stated during a survey.

Contact center evolution has expanded tremendously over the past 40 years, with contact centers performing functions that were never dreamed of in the past. It is impossible to predict what the next 40 years hold, but in the short term, we can imagine where contact centers are going. From there we can only imagine where contact centers will .

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Next Steps

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Dig Deeper on Customer service and contact center


What are the 4 key features of a contact center? ›

The modern Contact Center consists of four main features.
  • Telephone. ...
  • Messaging and Mobile Apps. ...
  • Web Conference/Video Calls. ...
  • Customer Data Analytics.
1 Dec 2021

How are call centers evolving? ›

Studies show consumers are evolving. Around two-thirds of consumers prefer to look for solutions to problems themselves before contacting customer support. Around 70% of customers also say they prefer to use various channels when seeking answers.

What are the main functions of a contact Centre? ›

A contact center is a central point from which organizations manage all customer interactions across various channels. Their primary purpose is to offer customers efficient and effective technical support, customer service and sales assistance.

What are the components of contact center? ›

Core components and features of a typical contact center software include;
  • Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) ...
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR) ...
  • Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) ...
  • Outbound dialer. ...
  • Real-time call monitoring. ...
  • Reporting and analytics. ...
  • Multi-channel integration. ...
  • Workforce management (WFM)

What are the five pillars of contact centre? ›

The 5 Pillars of the Modern Contact Center
  • Omnichannel Capabilities that Makes Customer Service Seamless. Today's customers communicate across channels and platforms. ...
  • On-Demand Self-Service Model for Customers. ...
  • Advanced Tools for Agents to Provide Better Support. ...
  • AI & Predictive Analytics. ...
  • Scalable Infrastructure.
31 Mar 2020

What are the key factors that make a call center successful? ›

The building blocks of a successful call center are well-known: (1) The team that makes the work happen, (2) the technology that supports them, and (3) the customers they interact with. Here's why putting these three elements first leads to increased success.

What are the advantages of a call center? ›

Advantages of A Call Center
  • Reduced Costs. ...
  • Increased Customer Satisfaction. ...
  • Increase Sales. ...
  • Competitive Advantage. ...
  • Saves Money. ...
  • Get Started by Contacting ListenTrust Today!
4 May 2021

What makes a call center great? ›

Effective communication is the key to success in a call center, so managers should check in regularly with agents to make sure they're happy. Giving constructive feedback is essential, but so is listening to feedback from employees.

What is the most important aspect of a contact center? ›

Communication skills: Agents need to not only understand customers and the company's offerings, but also have the ability to convey that information in an effective manner. Efficiency: Contact centers are fast-moving places, and agents can only thrive if they are efficient in their customer interactions.

What are the different types of contact center? ›

The 6 types of contact centers
  • Inbound contact center. ...
  • Outbound contact center. ...
  • Multichannel contact center. ...
  • Omnichannel contact center. ...
  • On-premises contact center. ...
  • Cloud contact center.
30 Nov 2021

What are the top three primary functions that call centers perform? ›

Its primary responsibilities include fielding incoming calls, making outgoing calls or otherwise receiving and transmitting emails or web chats. Other services provided by a call center may include performing surveys for research, finding sales leads and helping to organize phone communications for a company.

What are contact center technologies? ›

CTI is a type of technology that enables computer and telephone systems to interact together. Contact centers implementing CTI can use computers to manage all telephone calls, which in turn leads to increased efficiency and better results.

What is contact center system? ›

A contact center system is a computer-based system that provides call and contact routing for high-volume telephony transactions, with specialist answering “agent” stations and a sophisticated real-time contact management system.

What is a contact center model? ›

A call center staffing model is a framework to determine how to add staff depending on call volumes and how long customers can be on hold. It often takes into consideration after-call work (ACW) and mandatory breaks.

What is the 4 components that to get the customers buy? ›

The four Ps of marketing: product, price, place and promotion
  • Product: The goods and/or services offered by a company to its customers.
  • Price: The amount of money paid by customers to purchase the product.
  • Place (or distribution): The activities that make the product available to consumers.

What are the 4 pillars of engagement? ›

The study lists four “key pillars” of employee engagement: Connection, meaning, impact and appreciation. Employees want to feel connected to their colleagues and managers, to feel their work has meaning and impact on the company, and to be appreciated for the work they do.

What are the four pillars working with people? ›

To do this leaders must emphasize the four pillars of integrity, accountability, learning and communication.

What are the 3 most common challenges call centers face? ›

Table of contents
  • Common call center problems and solutions in 2022/2023. Lack of engagement. ...
  • Tools to identify contact center problems.
  • Challenge #1: Poor customer satisfaction. ...
  • Challenge #2: High agent attrition. ...
  • Challenge #3: Lack of budget. ...
  • Challenge #4: IT issues. ...
  • Challenge #5: Low employee morale. ...
  • The LiveVox solution.
4 Sept 2022

How can the efficiency of a call center be improved? ›

One of the best ways to improve call center efficiency is identifying instances where a specific set of agents need more call center training to better manage customers and build lasting relationships. Sometimes, you'll find that agents are not able to solve a particular problem or take too much time to solve it.

What are the 5 benefits of customer service? ›

Five benefits of good customer service
  • Customer loyalty. Loyal customers have many benefits for businesses. ...
  • Increase profits. These long-term customer relationships established through customer service can help businesses become more profitable. ...
  • Customer recommendations. ...
  • Increase conversion. ...
  • Improve public image.
28 May 2021

What are the pros and cons of a call Centre? ›

The pros of working in a call center environment.
  • Honing transferrable skills. ...
  • Impressive compensation, benefits and overall earning potential. ...
  • The option to work from home. ...
  • Agent burnout. ...
  • High turnover rates. ...
  • Repetitive tasks and demotivation.
19 Oct 2021

How can I improve my contact center? ›

10 Strategies to Improve Call Center Agent Performance
  1. Create a detailed SOP. ...
  2. Offer a clear career path. ...
  3. Empower your agents with the best technology. ...
  4. Create detailed call scripts. ...
  5. Use Skill-Based Routing and IVR to segment customers. ...
  6. Record and monitor calls. ...
  7. Re-examine your metrics and KPIs to make data-driven changes.
2 Nov 2022

What are the 7 qualities of good customer service? ›

7 Must-Have Qualities of a Stellar Customer Service Rep
  • Problem-Solving Skills. The number one skill you need to excel in for good customer service is problem-solving. ...
  • Clear Communication. ...
  • Friendly Attitude. ...
  • Empathy. ...
  • Business Acumen. ...
  • Product/Service Knowledge. ...
  • Strong Time Management.

What are the 3 main criteria that you think a good contact center agent should pass? ›

Agents need to be able to keep up with a fast-paced environment, work with several types of customers, and stay calm, flexible, and friendly under pressure.

Why is quality important in a contact center? ›

The benefits of quality assurance. When done well, a call center quality assurance program has many advantages. As well as increasing efficiency, reducing costs, and boosting revenue through customer retention, it helps you create an environment where both managers and agents are happy in their work.

What is difference between call center and contact center? ›

Like call center services, contact centers operate within an organization or may be outsourced to a partner. But unlike call centers, contact center agents interact with customers across multiple channels, such as messaging, phone, apps, text, email, social media and web.

What are the three main parts of a call? ›

The three essential components of any call:
  • The inbound component. (how you want your call answered)
  • The call handling component. (how you want your call handled)
  • The message delivery component. (how you want your captured information delivered)

What are the 2 types of call centers? ›

In-House vs Outsourced

All call centers fall under one of two categories: in-house or outsourced. A company can own and operate a call center themselves, which is called in-house. The purpose may be to provide service to existing customers and/or make calls to acquire new ones.

What is contact center modernization? ›

Digital Contact Center Modernization solution enables organizations to transform a call center into intelligent engagement center to enhance customer, agent, and supervisor journeys with Happiest Minds digital disruptors.

What are the example of contact center services? ›

A contact center is an organization's business division that handles customer queries and interactions. It manages inbound and outbound services over multiple communication channels. This includes telephone, live chat, email, messaging apps, social media, etc.

What is a contact strategy? ›

Refers to the effort taken to better interact with customers once the company has undertaken a journey mapping effort. Usually a segmentation has been completed using the customer data, so that the company can be strategic in how it targets its communications efforts going forward.

What are the key factors in effective call centers? ›

The building blocks of a successful call center are well-known: (1) The team that makes the work happen, (2) the technology that supports them, and (3) the customers they interact with. Here's why putting these three elements first leads to increased success.

What are the contact management features? ›

What are the key features of a contact management system?
  • Import and export contact information. A contact management system collects information from different sources—email, business cards, spreadsheets, and more—and stores it all in one database. ...
  • Record notes. ...
  • Set reminders. ...
  • Use search and filter options.
29 Jul 2021

What makes a great contact center? ›

Call centers need people with a natural ability for customer service, good listening skills, effective communication skills, an excellent memory, and an enthusiastic attitude. It's the intangibles like enthusiasm and ability to listen that often make the best employees.

What are the benefits of contact center services? ›

A contact center provides more robust customer support across many channels, including voice, text, web chat, email, social media, and more. Contact centers also have technological solutions to streamline systems and operations, provide quicker and more optimized customer support and strengthen customer engagement.

What are the different types of contact centers? ›

The 6 types of contact centers
  • Inbound contact center. ...
  • Outbound contact center. ...
  • Multichannel contact center. ...
  • Omnichannel contact center. ...
  • On-premises contact center. ...
  • Cloud contact center.
30 Nov 2021

What are the 5 benefits of quality management in the call center? ›

Benefits of Quality Management in the Call Center
  • Improve Customer Service. ...
  • Increase Customer Retention. ...
  • Understand Agent Interactions. ...
  • Improve Employee Experience. ...
  • Agent Training Opportunities. ...
  • Identify Key Agent Characteristics.

What is CRM in contact center? ›

Call center customer relationship management (CRM) refers to a software tool that call center agents use to enhance the customer experience and increase efficiency. Call center CRM systems store records about customers, such as account information and contact history.

What are contact strategies? ›

Refers to the effort taken to better interact with customers once the company has undertaken a journey mapping effort. Usually a segmentation has been completed using the customer data, so that the company can be strategic in how it targets its communications efforts going forward.

What is contact management process? ›

Contact management is the process of recording contacts' details and tracking their interactions with a business. Such systems have gradually evolved into an aspect of customer relationship management (CRM) systems, which allow businesses to improve sales and service levels leveraging a wider range of data.


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