Contact center is a facility used by companies to manage all client contact through a variety of mediums such as telephone, fax, letter, e-mail and increasingly, online live chat.
Distinct from call centers, that purely handle telephone correspondence, contact centers have a variety of roles that combine to provide an all-encompassing solutions to client and customer contact. Contact centers along with call centers and communication centers all fall under a larger umbrella labelled as the contact center management industry. This is becoming a rapidly growing recruitment sector in itself, as the capabilities of contact centers expand and thus require ever more complex systems and highly skilled operational and management staff.
The majority of large companies use contact centers as a means of managing their customer interaction. These centers can be operated in two major ways, the first, by having an in house department responsible for the day to day communications with customers, the second to outsource customer interaction to a third party agency.
Contact centers can also offer a number of different services. One of the most popular is the support or help desk, which regularly answers technical questions from customers and assists them using their equipment or software. Frequently, support desks are used by companies in the computing, telecommunications and consumer electronics industries.
Equally important are the customer service contact centers that answer specific queries relating to customer issues, in the banking and utility sectors these are frequently used to answer customer questions relating to their account or payments, this type of service may even be used to respond to customer complaints and undertake retention strategies for dissatisfied customers.
Finally there are contact centers that carry out sales and marketing activities; these can be performed through cold calling strategies and increasingly through live chat applications on company websites.