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A Better Answer Blog

Glossary of Customer Service Solutions

Call Center - Basic Customer Service Solutions Over the Phone

What it is: A call center is something we all know about, but might not be able to define. The basic definition of a call center is a place to outsource your basic call needs such as:

  • Information gathering
  • Call handling from advertising
  • Conference registrations
  • Retail ordering

Call center reps are professional and can help your customers with easy tasks, offering customer service at any time of the day and sometimes in multiple languages.

A call center offers you 24/7 availability or backup for your own customer service after hours or during lunch breaks. The employees are reliable and you don’t need to worry about the staffing and training.

When it’s best suited for you: If you need to expand your ability to provide customers with the basic services they need while being cost-efficient. Call centers are best when your needs are more straightforward, complicated requests or urgent calls require expanded services such as an answering service.

Answering Service - Handles Complex Customer Service Needs Over the Phone

What it is: Answering services are an extension of your business and handle complex customer phone calls. Often these matters can be much more urgent than ones handled by a call center, these calls require empathy and an understanding of your business to find a solution, or to get the caller on the phone with the right person to find the solution to their need. Unlike a call center, operators for an answering service must handle decision making and are trained in your industry.

When it’s best suited for you: This service is great for complex businesses such as restaurants, medical and law offices. When your industry is more complex, training costs rise and the need for professional customer service staff is important. Answering services provide a cost-effective way to add a team of customer service representatives and handles the training and staffing for you. If your calling needs are more complicated than a call center, an answering service may be right for you.

Contact Center - Customer Service Through Multiple Digital Channels

What it is: A contact center still offers phone answering but takes it a step further by offering more ways to answer your customer service needs through:

  • Emails
  • Social Media
  • Live Web Chat
  • And More

As customers are looking for more ways to interact with companies, contact centers are becoming important for those looking for fast responses across multiple channels. From answering simple requests through multiple channels to creating meaningful interactions that help build loyal customers, a contact center has you covered.

When it’s best suited for you: This is best for companies where customers want a lot of ways to contact, with enough demand it becomes difficult to keep up with all of the requests. Chains of restaurants, retail locations, and generally B2C companies with a large footprint are good candidates for a contact center as opposed to a call center. Once customer interaction becomes complicated an answering service is your best bet, where you need more dedicated answering staff to handle more complex and urgent interactions, where social media, chat and email won’t cut it.

Virtual Receptionist - an Off-Site Receptionist

What it is: A virtual receptionist is simply an off-site receptionist. This service is an efficient way to make sure that your customers aren’t calling in and having to leave you a message if there is no one available to answer the phone. It’s a cost-effective way to add another staff member to your team that already has the training to handle your services. Whether you need someone to take messages or want a live person to help ensure that the customer ends up on the phone with the right person, a virtual receptionist can help bolster your customer service.

When it’s best suited for you: If your customer service needs are basic, a virtual receptionist is right for you. They don’t replace a customer service representative, they put a more personal spin on your main (or only) business line. Virtual receptionists are great for small businesses and can be used in conjunction with a call center, answering service or contact center.

Chatting Services - Digital Chat Customer Service with Live Reps

What it is: Chatting services are ways to reach customers that can’t talk on the phone at the moment or prefer a different method of communication. Generally, chat services offer an efficient way to help your customers on-demand, it’s low commitment for them and is easy to use when multitasking. Chat services have taken many forms over the years, you can use them in-house or outsource to reps trained to help customers. Often chat services cover basic to complex tech support, sales inquiries, product questions and more.

When it’s best suited for you: Chat services are great for companies that create and support technical products in hardware, software and services. It’s a great way to answer questions customers may have if your product isn’t overly complicated, or requires a little more of an investment from your customers. You can help close sales, keep customers happy with support and guide customers to the right solutions for them.

The Growing Industry of Chatbots: Chat services are currently evolving thanks to new innovations in artificial intelligence. Chatbots offer automated chat services that learn over time. They come with a basic to sophisticated array of answers and solutions for your customers but will adapt the more they interact with your customers. When they don’t have the answers your customers need, they can transfer them to a live customer service rep. Chatbots are making it easier to add a chatting service to your website and one day it may be possible they can be automated for the majority of customer needs.

All of this is great information as you search for a customer service solution for your company. We at A Better Answer can help you with any of these solutions, and more.

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Topics: Answering Service Customer Service