Formerly referred to as a “call center”, a contact center is defined as a place where contacts are made and received. It is often the “front door” to a business and is the place where most crucial customer interactions take place. Therefore, its effective and efficient operation is a key ingredient to the overall success of any organization.
The definition of a contact center increasingly includes mention of the handling of various types of interactions in addition to telephone calls which include email, webchat, fax, etc. As a result, the industry has evolved and now more commonly uses the term “contact center” to refer to the place where these transactions take place.
In addition to defining a contact center as a place for customer interactions, it is important to denote what makes an entity a contact center and not just a place where telephone calls are answered. A contact center is typically defined as an operation where more than one person is responding to contacts and where an interaction can be handled by anyone within a group.
The contact center profession employs a large number of employees. Studies from The Call Center School using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate that approximately 4.5 million frontline agent positions are active today. Approximately 3 million of these positions are filled by full-time staff and the remaining 1.5 million positions are shared by part-time staff. These millions of contact center employees represent approximately 2% of the total U.S. population and about 3.5% of the working population.