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What is a digital contact center?

Learn more about the differences between digital contact center solutions and on-prem contact center solutions below. Or, get a hands-on look at Dialpad's AI-powered customer engagement platform by booking a demo with our team!


When people think of call centers, they might think of a bunch of agents wearing headsets, sitting in a room with rows and rows of computers. But these on-premises call centers are slowly being replaced by agents who work from home and handle live chat messages and other channels in addition to phone calls. No cables, no landlines, no desk phones.

That's because today, most businesses are running (or transitioning to) digital contact centers.

What is a digital contact center?

A digital contact center is a type of communications solution that’s designed to let teams like Customer Support and Sales handle high volumes of conversations with customers. These include conversations over the phone, live chat messages, SMS/MMS messages, email, and more.

Unlike traditional on-premises call center software or contact center software, digital contact centers can be set up remotely online, and can support distributed teams of agents who work from home. (Learn more about on-prem vs cloud.)

Digital contact center technology is also different from on-prem contact center solutions in that it’s generally much more flexible and scalable. Dialpad Ai Contact Center, for example, lets you set up new agents, add phone numbers, and more, right from an online dashboard:

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On a related note, digital contact center platforms are also more cost-effective, since you don’t need to maintain physical infrastructure or over-purchase to plan ahead for future growth. If you need to add more agents for a busy seasonal period, and then need to remove those agents after it ends, you can do that easily with a digital or cloud contact center solution.

Lastly, an advantage of digital solutions is that they often come with contact center AI (artificial intelligence), which can automate tasks for agents, provide real-time coaching, and uncover insights for supervisors.

For example, in addition to live transcription and sentiment analysis, Dialpad Ai can also automatically search all connected knowledge sources (even unstructured ones like PDFs and past customer conversations) to provide helpful information for agents live as they’re talking to customers:

Dialpad Ai Agent Assist for Sales

What are the benefits of having a digital contact center?

Compared to equipping your customer support and/or sales teams with a traditional on-prem call center solution, there are some important benefits of having a digital contact center.

Greater operational flexibility and scalability

One of the biggest benefits of digital contact centers is that they are more scalable and can be easily expanded to meet increased customer demand. With traditional call center solutions, adding agents required purchasing more equipment, setting up additional wiring and infrastructure, and was generally a complex and costly task. With virtual contact center solutions, this can typically be done easily with just a few clicks.

Ability to leverage AI

Another key benefit of digital contact centers is that they unlock artificial intelligence technology for agents and supervisors.

The benefits of AI itself are far-ranging. Not only can AI analyze call sentiment in real time, which lets supervisors monitor multiple active calls more easily:

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Dialpad Ai Contact Center can analyze calls for positive and negative sentiment live as they’re happening.

But some AI call center solutions can also uncover key insights in real time. For example, one of the biggest challenges with collecting CSAT scores is that not a lot of people actually fill out these surveys.

In fact (depending on the industry and specific business of course), we've found that on average only about 5% of customers actually fill out CSAT surveys. On a related note, usually only the angriest—and happiest—customers actually bother to respond, which means your CSAT answers are likely to be very skewed and not representative of how customers feel overall.

Dialpad's industry-first Ai CSAT feature is designed to solve exactly that. Not only can Dialpad Ai transcribe calls and analyze sentiment in real time, it can also infer CSAT scores for 100% of your customer calls thanks to its hyper-accurate transcription feature. The result? A much more representative sample size for CSAT scores, and a more accurate understanding of how satisfied your customers really are:

Screenshot of Ai CSAT dashboard

More real-time insights

On a related note, AI can also provide more insights and conversational intelligence, both live and after the call.

For example, if a manager wants to be able to see how often customers are asking for refunds, AI can help track how often this comes up in customer conversations.

This is what Dialpad Ai does—the manager simply has to create a “Custom Moment” and add the trigger words they want to track. In this refunds example, they can add “refund,” “money back,” and “cancel,” and Dialpad Ai will track every conversation where these keywords are spoken:

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If the supervisor notices any spikes or anomalies, they can easily pull up the transcript or recording to get more context into those specific conversations.

A better customer experience

Conversational AI can be a key contributor to an improved customer experience. If your hold times are on the higher side and your agents are overwhelmed by inbound calls and messages, your team will likely benefit from a better call deflection strategy.

One of the best ways to deflect more calls and reduce hold times is to have conversational AI on your website and digital channels (like WhatsApp and Apple Business Chat, if you’re using them). Much like how phone IVRs (interactive voice response) would try to answer common customer questions with pre-recorded menu options, conversational AI is the next evolution of that concept.

The difference is that it can answer a much wider variety of questions, since this AI can use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand the intent of questions, which creates a better experience for customers. With Dialpad Ai Contact Center, for instance, you can easily build conversational AI flows with the drag-and-drop builder, no coding needed:

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More effective supervisors

Supervisors are often busy. They’re overseeing teams of tens or even hundreds of agents, all simultaneously having conversations with customers. Not only that, they also have to handle off-call activities like performance management, updating training materials, and reporting on metrics.

Customer service AI tools can help them save time on almost all of these tasks. We already mentioned how AI can infer CSAT scores, but AI can also help with quality assurance (QA) by automatically checking transcripts for whether agents did all the items on the QA Scorecard.

Did the agent greet the customer at the start of the conversation? Did they let the customer know that they’d be putting them on a brief hold? Did they attempt an upsell or cross-sell at the end? Instead of a supervisor having to listen to every call recording from beginning to end and grading it manually, Dialpad Ai can do this for the supervisor and speed up this process significantly:

Dialpad Ai Scorecard showing which part of the call an agent met the criteria blog size

What are the best digital contact center tools for your business?

When it comes to managing a contact center team, there’s a wide range of customer service and sales AI solutions that each do very different things.

From providing real-time assistance to agents, to unlocking important customer feedback from the thousands of conversations a business is having every day, a good digital contact center platform can empower agents, supervisors, and business leaders to be more productive in their work.

See how Dialpad's AI-powered customer engagement platform is designed to let you do exactly this!

Set up your digital contact center in minutes

Book a walkthrough with our team to see how easy this is to do in Dialpad. Or, take a self-guided interactive tour of the app on your own first!