3 Considerations for Small Contact Centers

What if I told you that your four-person real estate office is a call center? Or that three insurance agents dedicated to inside sales function is a call center? If directly interacting with customers is your top priority, then you might be a call center, and you can benefit from the same software solutions the big boys use.

It's easy to think of contact centers as employing anywhere from 100 to 5,000 contact center agents spanning multiple locations. Yet, according to 2013 data from Pelorus Research, there are approximately 56,000 contact centers in the United States that have between five and 75 contact center agents. These smaller centers make up 88 percent of the businesses that define themselves as a contact center.

But what about those that don't define themselves as such? Take a look at these forward-facing businesses that interact with customers daily. Perhaps your small business could be added to the list:

  • Public safety entities
  • Real estate offices
  • Insurance agencies
  • Health service organizations
  • Help desks located within larger organizations
  • Delivery services
  • Car dealerships
  • Small, independently owned retailers

Thinking of your business as a contact center is mainly about changing your mindset and committing to customer service as a primary objective of your organization. Setting up systems and procedures to improve customer interactions and, perhaps, putting a contact center solution in place, can help you better meet customer needs, encourage customer loyalty, and grow your business.

Voice of the customer data, the information you need to help understand and improve the customer experience, floods into your organization every time someone speaks to a customer on the phone or interacts with them via chat, email, or social media. Each of those interactions provides critical data regarding customer habits, preferences, and desires. Any business, large or small, can use this information to tailor products and services to the needs of its customer base.

All businesses with customers need contact center tools and technology solutions to further customer service. Businesses of any size that regularly service customers who contact them via a communication channel can benefit from the same procedures and systems that the larger, established contact centers follow.

While the majority of companies are beginning to recognize the importance of gathering voice of the customer data, many still believe that they can't afford the tools to help gather it.

Cost is one of the biggest barriers to deploying an enterprise-class workforce optimization system for small contact centers. Traditional systems often require expensive hardware and software that the small contact centers cannot justify. Another barrier to adoption is that these systems often take internal resources that require months of preparation, implementation, and training that make it too difficult to deploy quickly.

There is hope. More and more solutions are becoming available that are affordable, don't take a long time to implement, and are easy to maintain. Here are three options to consider when thinking about the right contact center solutions:

The Cloud

A cloud-based contact center solution is secure, reliable, and cost effective. It eliminates the need for significant ongoing investments in hardware and IT infrastructure. By placing your contact center in the cloud, you can reduce costs by eliminating unnecessary staff and equipment and streamlining IT processes, among other variables.

SaaS Model

Instead of putting up a huge outlay of cash up front, businesses can pay for services on a monthly basis. You'll never have to purchase more infrastructure or licenses than you need, because solutions scale easily as your organization develops and grows. And if you have a seasonal operation that needs to ramp up staff during a particular time of the year, this solution is ideal.

Desktop Applications

Look to solutions that remove the complex, time-consuming project hassle with multiple hardware requirements, servers, etc., that cause implementation times to escalate. Downloadable desktop applications can be quick and easy to install and can be updated without any downtime.

Implementing a contact center solution that provides the functionality you need, is easy to deploy quickly, is easy to use and maintain, and that can change with your business means you'll see a return on your investment much more quickly.

So, if you are sitting there not thinking of yourself as a contact center, think again, and remember that your goal of providing the very best service to your customers to make their experience better is a universal goal that contact centers of any size should be striving for.