The term Customer Experience (CX) has become commonplace at a time when every organization knows the only way to get ahead of the competition is to delight its customers.
For most companies, the “call center” has evolved as digital transformation alters how organizations and clients connect. The term “call center” no longer applies in a space where consumers increasingly use various communication methods to reach companies, from messaging and video to SMS. The terminology changes in the landscape have understandably created confusion, with some terms often being used interchangeably.
For instance, many business leaders still assume a “CX platform” is the same as a “contact center,” particularly as CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) platforms become increasingly advanced. However, there are some significant differences between contact centers and CX platforms tech buyers need to consider when investing in their customer service strategy.
What Is a Contact Center?
The contact center as we know it today is a comprehensive platform with much more than just an environment where team members can monitor and manage calls. Today’s contact center solutions come in various formats, from on-premises technology kits to cloud-based services.
The modern contact center, in most cases, is a comprehensive solution designed to empower employees to manage conversations across many channels. They include access to telephony services but also support communication across text, social media, live chat, and chatbots.
While the exact functionality of a contact center platform can differ depending on the vendor, the primary purpose of this tool is to enable communication. Contact center solutions have routing capabilities, IVR systems, and often in-built tools for recording and monitoring discussions. They align multiple contact methods into a single interface so that team members can deliver a consistent level of service across all channels.
What Is a CX Platform?
So, if a contact center is a solution designed to support communication across various channels, what is a CX platform? Like CCaaS and contact center solutions, CX platforms can differ in functionality, depending on the vendor the company chooses to work with.
Its focus is the primary difference between a contact center and a CX platform. While a contact center enables and supports communication across multiple channels, a CX platform unifies all the tools a company needs to enhance the customer experience. Though a CX platform often includes access to contact center tools, it provides organizations with various solutions for mapping the customer journey, generating insights, and unifying teams.
A customer experience platform will usually include:
- Artificial intelligence: Intelligent bots and virtual assistants designed to deliver self-service solutions to customers and support agents. AI services built into a CX platform can automate tasks like routing calls and managing customer queries. They can also automatically translate and transcribe conversations for compliance and training.
- CRM technology: Most CX platforms will include Customer Relationship Management tools, offering a behind-the-scenes insight into customer interactions, experiences, and sentiment. Some platforms feature proprietary CRM solutions, where teams can create and monitor user profiles and manage leads. Others will integrate naturally with pre-existing solutions from leading vendors, such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.
- Collaborative tools: A CX platform can make it easier for team members to collaborate on complex customer queries and issues with built-in collaboration features. They make it easy to transfer calls to other staff members with additional context and connect with supervisors, subject matter experts, and other professionals in real time. These tools help unify the workforce and empower teams to work more effectively.
- Analytics and reports: Most CX platforms include embedded tools designed to help business leaders capture more insights from the conversations they manage every day. End-to-end analytics solutions can collect valuable information about the customer journey to assist with mapping interactions. They can also leverage artificial intelligence to detect the sentiment or intent of a customer through each stage of their journey, allowing for a greater level of personalized, consistent service.
- Workforce management: CX platforms may also feature tools that help organizations to make the most out of the human resources in their team. Workforce management and engagement tools can assist with everything from forecasting demand, scheduling employees, and tracking team engagement. They can also help keep staff members on the same page by providing insights into to-do lists and leveraging gamification features.
Most CX platforms are also highly customizable, allowing business leaders to leverage integrations, add-ons, and other toolkits based on their specific strategy for customer experience. Leading CX platform vendors work with partners to create unified solutions to bring everything employees need to offer amazing customer service into one ecosystem.
The Difference Between Contact Centers and CX Platforms
Simply put, CX platforms take a broader approach to managing, understanding, and optimizing the customer service journey than contact centers alone. While innovative CCaaS platforms and solutions can provide businesses with many ways to connect with their audience and deliver customer experiences across multiple channels, CX platforms go further.
Enhanced with automation, artificial intelligence, and complementary tools like CRM systems and workforce management and engagement tools, CX platforms unify everything companies need to delight their audience into one ecosystem.
With a comprehensive CX platform, business leaders can seamlessly connect their UC, CRM, CCaaS, and other essential tools into one convenient space, boosting team productivity. At the same time, embedded analytics and insights make it easier for every organization to make the right decisions on improving customer experience. CX platforms combine people, processes, partners, and technology to transform a company’s CX strategy.
Genefa Murphy, Chief Marketing Officer at Five9 explains: “A CX platform focuses on the broader customer and employee experience eco-system and empowers businesses to deliver fluid, context aware CX across every touchpoint in the customer journey. A platform also enables CX and EX data to be shared across the journey via shared services, including APIs, reporting and analytics, helping to break down the data silos that often hinder CX success.”
Learn more about Five9#s CX platform here.