To many, call centers seem like relics of the past. After all, most people remember the frustration of calling a company for service; you’d ring up and then wait on the line forever! Or maybe you could only call between nine and five. Today, you have so many different options for getting in touch, you might wonder who even uses a call center anymore.
The answer is most businesses still use call centers. However, they might be called “contact centers” instead. They’re still the number-one way for customers to get in touch with a firm. And when it comes to delivering superior customer experience, the call center is your frontline.
The Age of Customer Service
Some people have said customer service is the last frontier where businesses can truly differentiate themselves. The result has been an increasing struggle among firms to deliver the best service for their customers.
It’s not misguided: More than three quarters of customers say they’d leave a company if they received poor service. With that in mind, more and more firms are attuned to how they deliver customer service—and how they can do it better.
The Call Center’s Role
In the battle for customers, call center customer service becomes front and center. If you’re still picturing a call center from the late 1990s or early 2000s, it might be difficult to imagine how it can play such a vital role in delivering a great experience for your customers.
The call center has evolved so much over the last two decades, however, it’s virtually unrecognizable from its predecessors. Today, call centers might still use telephone services, but they also employ email, webchat, texting, and social media services to stay in touch with your customers. Now customers don’t need to wait on the line with you; they can fire off an email and get a response in 48 hours.
Service around the Clock
With advances in technology, customer care has become truly 24/7, and the call center reflects this change. Just like your customers no longer need to call you on the phone, they no longer need to send their emails between nine and five if they expect a response. Multiple centers and follow-the-sun strategies allow call center customer service to be delivered anytime the customer needs assistance.
This is an important development in a globalized world. Your customers could live anywhere in the world, or they might move around a lot. They may need assistance when they’re in a different time zone, or they might work night shift or afternoons. Call center customer service puts the customer in charge when it moves to a 24/7 paradigm.
Why Is It Important?
The initial question lingers: Why is call center service so important? In most cases, it’s because the call center is your first—and potentially only—contact with the customer. Customers might purchase products from your online store, but you’re not necessarily interacting with them. They could hit your website, decide to buy, and even make their purchases—all without ever talking to a customer service rep.
They might have a good customer experience if the transaction is smooth and easy to complete. But have you really delivered exceptional customer service? Not in the slightest! And since making your business stand out hinges on your ability to deliver the best customer service, you’ve missed an opportunity.
Call center customer service becomes so important when it’s the only contact your customer has with your reps. That’s why you need to deliver: When customers call in, you don’t want to greet them with a poor experience—especially not if it’s their first contact, or potentially their only contact.