The outsource contact centre model; the call centre has moved on
Contact centres and call centres are often confused. Many people mistakenly use the two phrases interchangeably due to a lack of understanding of their services. In fact, they provide very different facilities and benefits.
Call centres have been around in one form or another since the 1960s. Their purpose will be one or more of the following:
- answer inbound calls
- make outbound calls
- answer and deal with customer enquiries
- process orders
- process data
- cover overflow calls on behalf of businesses
- transfer calls to departments or third-party companies
- take messages and pass those messages on
SMARTstrat have always offered a more personalised equivalent of call centre services, but more recently have moved towards the versatility of the contact centre model in response to clients who acknowledge that customers want to communicate through a variety of platforms quickly and efficiently.
Contact centres are now the central hub for customer contact, telemarketing, enquiries and order processing. The difference to call centres is that these engagements are being processed not only on the telephone, but also through the likes of email, web chats, online order forms and SMS messaging.
SMEs need to offer the same range of contact platforms as the larger players
Customer demand is now very instant, and small to medium sized businesses need to keep up. Of course, most SMEs don’t have the capacity or budget for a call centre to handle so many streams of communication, so opt to outsource.
At SMARTstrat we offer the same outsourced service as larger contact centres but on a much more personal scale. Our non-call centre environment makes the caller feel that they are being dealt with directly by the company they have called while still receiving a highly responsive service.
The increase in web chats is in response to instant customer demand
Web chats are an increasingly popular alternative to holding on the line for an agent for what often seems like a lifetime. The SMARTstrat PAs handle web chats on behalf of our clients, answer the enquiry and take whatever action is required through our own or our clients’ Customer Relationship Management systems (CRMs).
We’re all consumers and know how frustrating it can be when the delight at spotting a web chat turns into disappointment when we’re told there is no-one available. As a 24-hour provider, the SMARTstrat service avoids irritating potential customers and instead offers a seamless service.
Likewise, consumers expect to be able to contact a company via email but often get frustrated when an email isn’t answered quickly. Larger businesses will respond saying that the consumer will receive an answer within a certain number of working days. By that time the consumer can easily find someone else to buy from. SMARTstrat PAs can respond immediately, handle the enquiry by getting the required answer and get back to the consumer quickly.
Outsourcing contact centre services is the answer for SMEs
As an outsource provider, SMARTstrat become our clients’ first point of contact for every inbound lead. Not only do we ensure that every enquiry is answered, we only send qualified leads on to the clients which saves them having to deal with time-wasters.
By providing clients who are self-employed, partnerships and SMEs with the facility to open their enquiries to a wider range of platforms such as web chat, email and online forms, SMARTstrat are offering a more level playing field to those businesses that don’t have the resources to do it themselves.
If you would like more information on how SMARTstrat can help your business, get in touch with our Wigan office on 01257 429 677, or our Newcastle-Under-Lyme office on 01782 635 004, or by email. One thing is for certain; we will deal with your enquiry quickly and professionally!