Definition

contact center infrastructure

A contact center infrastructure is a framework composed of the physical and virtual resources that a call center facility needs to operate effectively. Infrastructure components include automatic call distributors, integrated voice response units, computer-telephony integration and queue management.

Because contact center infrastructure often crosses many different communication channels and technology systems, including phone, email, social media platforms and live chat, companies need to be able to integrate the customer data that is generated in those channels. This integration is important for creating a positive customer experience in which customers don't have to repeat information as they go between channels. Agents, sales reps or other company workers have the same view of the relevant information to provide the customer with seamless customer service.

Technologies such as interactive voice response (IVR) push customer service calls to an agent who is available and knowledgeable about the product or issue can help create this positive experience. So do knowledge bases that enable customer service reps to look up necessary product, service or customer information to best serve a customer. Outbound automated technologies can also help contact centers reach customers and prospects efficiently.

Self-service technologies have also become part of the modern contact center infrastructure, enabling customers to handle some lower-level issues on their own before needing to work with an agent. Contact center infrastructure often involves integration between CRM, marketing and service databases as well as integration with other systems, such as ERP, financials and so on. In some cases, call data is also integrated with social media platform data, generated through social media monitoring technologies.

Speech analytics and other intelligence applications are also essential to contact center infrastructure, enabling companies to analyze the productivity and effectiveness of contact center operations, from call quality and time elapsed to other metrics, such as first-call resolution rate and other key performance indicators for call centers. Analytics applications and video analytics help identify situations in which customers and/or agents are getting frustrated and the situation needs to be diffused or, alternatively, situations in which customers are pleased with the interaction.

This was last updated in November 2016

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