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Today’s customers expect to contact your company through multiple communication channels. Additionally, many companies benefit from proactive outreach across touchpoints like emails and texts. Blended contact center software provides these capabilities.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you should know about blended contact centers.


What is a Blended Contact Center?

A blended contact center is a communication system for inbound and outbound customer interactions. Usually a cloud-based software system, blended contact centers let agents connect with customers on multiple channels: voice calling, SMS texting, email, live chat, and social media messaging. Agents can manage all these inbound and outbound channels from one desktop dashboard.

Non-blended contact centers, called inbound or outbound, only focus on one call direction–making or receiving calls. Or, non-blended contact centers may only focus on one channel.


How to Set Up a Blended Contact Center?

Set up a blended contact center by subscribing to a hosted omnichannel contact center solution. Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) platforms offer single-channel call centers and omnichannel infrastructure, which combines all the communication channels into one dashboard.

Here’s a more detailed step-by-step breakdown:

  1. Subscribe to a contact center software: Select a hosted call center or omnichannel CCaaS platform, most of which are blended–combining inbound and outbound service
  2. Set up users and phone numbers: Once you install the software, invite agents by email and purchase phone numbers. When the numbers are activated, agents can make and receive calls through the desktop computer.
  3. Customize call routing: Set up IVR menus, virtual agents (IVA), and other call distribution (ACD) tools that automatically navigate inbound callers to the right agent. Call queues and ring groups help organize overflow callers.
  4. Connect with a CRM system: Link your CCaaS software with CRM systems like Salesforce and HubSpot, to leverage customer data for automations and better service
  5. Create automations and workflows: Create triggers that automate communications like proactive emails, sales campaigns, follow-up surveys, and more


Essential Features of a Blended Contact Center

A blended contact center bundles many communication channels, call distribution tools, queueing, analytics, AI support features, CRM integrations, workforce management tools, and more.

Here’s a breakdown of essential features to look for in a blended contact center:


Multiple Communication Channels

A blended contact center bundles dozens of communication channels: VoIP telephony, SMS texting, email, live chat and chatbots, video, and social media messaging across many platforms. Agents use these channels to initiate and receive customer communications through the software dashboard.


Call Routing and IVR

Call routing tools let you automate how your blended contact center handles inbound calls, messages, and tasks.

IVR menus greet callers with an automated self-service menu, presenting callers with options for different departments and agents that they can reach by pressing a button. Virtual agents, or chatbots, provide a similar service via messaging–they receive customer inputs and determine where to route the caller.


Call Queueing

Call queues organize inbound callers into hold queues so agents can manage overflowed calls. Each department and agent may have their own queue, so agents can see all the calls on hold. Many CCaaS software systems enable queue callbacks, allowing the customer to hang up and keep their place in line with a callback when the agent is available.



Blended contact centers track analytics: KPIs and metrics that monitor performance and customer service. Analytics cover agent activity, daily call volume, channel usage, and missed call percentage.

In recent years, AI and call transcription have unlocked deeper analytics: customer satisfaction score, query resolution rate, keyword usage, and the most commonly cited customer issues.

aircall analytics


Chatbots and Virtual Agents

Build automated intelligent virtual agents (IVA) that provide customers with self-service across digital channels. Embed chatbots into your website, or automate conversations on SMS and social media. Most blended CCaaS systems offer a drag-and-drop flow tool to customize and test these conversations.

IVA systems interact with customers naturally and can handle rich services: booking appointments, answering questions, routing tasks, and even handling payments.


AI Features

Today’s advanced call centers integrate AI across channels, to improve analytics and customer service. Natural language understanding (NLU) listens to calls and messaging conversations to provide transcripts and analyze sentiment. Machine learning helps chatbots become more conversational over time.

These features are why AI is expected to continue rapid adoption, with 80% of customer service organizations using AI in some capacity by 2025.


Auto Dialers

Outbound auto-dialers use lead campaign lists, such as from your CRM system, to automate the customer outreach process for sales teams. Sales agents no longer have to listen to rings, busy signals, or voicemails, since the auto dialer connects agents only when a real human answers the phone.


Benefits of Implementing a Blended Contact Center Model

Implementing a blended contact center leads to better customer service, stronger customer insights, and more sales opportunities. The dashboard also simplifies the agent’s and supervisor’s experience, leading to a more effective and happier staff.

Here are the benefits that a blended contact center offers over a traditional call center:


Channel Flexibility

A blended contact center lets you connect with your customers across multiple channels, providing added flexibility. While 76% of customers still prefer to contact customer support via the phone, many prefer the convenience of SMS or live chat.

You can connect with customers via your app or website, catching customers when they’re looking at products or services.


Self-Service and Customer Convenience

Self-service tools like chatbots and IVR menus offer customer convenience because customers can reach out to you whenever they want. The automated service lets customers skip hold queues for faster issue resolution. 87% of millennials say convenience is important to them.


Increased Sales

Tools like CRM integrations, workflow automations, and outbound auto-dialers identify when leads are ready to move forward in the sales process. Initiate proactive outreach like welcome emails, discounts, and outbound calls–increasing the number of converted leads and sales made.


More Effective Agents

The blended contact center dashboard leads to more effective agents, compared to a regular one-way call center. The blended omnichannel dashboard lets agents handle tasks across all channels, switching between them with one click. CRM integrations enable more customer context and capabilities, letting agents handle rich services like appointment booking and secure payments.

More efficient agents may allow companies to save money by reducing staff size, as AI is expected to catalyze a 20-30% reduction in customer support agents by 2026.


Deeper Customer Insights

Blended call centers provide a much deeper understanding of your customers and their needs. AI uses call transcriptions to identify how your customers feel, the keywords they use most often, the IVR decisions they make, and the reasons they call. CRM data helps you track each customer’s journey, noting patterns in their lead status and purchasing behavior.

These insights help you refine your staffing, customer service, and business decisions based on rich data.


Challenges You May Face with a Blended Contact Center

While blended contact centers offer more channels and task-routing workflows, they involve a more complicated setup than traditional contact centers. Setting up routing, configuring phone numbers, and connecting integrations can be a frustrating process.

Here are a few of the challenges you may face with a blended contact center:

  • IT requirements: Many blended CCaaS products require some coding and development experience to get everything set up, meaning you may need a developer on staff
  • Complicated setup: Due to the increased number of features and routing workflows, blended centers generally have a more complicated setup process
  • Learning curve: Advanced features like AI, analytics, and workforce management can often take several weeks for new users to develop fluency
  • More agent skills required: While one-channel or one-direction call centers enable agents to specialize in just a few types of interactions, blended CCaaS agents must be able to handle multiple channels and interaction types
  • Costly: Modern blended solutions include cutting-edge features like AI support and automated workflows. These advanced solutions can cost up to $100 more, per month per user, than traditional call centers.


How Blended Contact Centers Improve Customer Service

Blended contact centers improve customer service by providing more flexibility and convenience for your customers. This improved service is part of why the omnichannel market is expected to hold a 13.6% annual growth rate through 2030.

  • Multiple channels: With multiple channels, customers can reach out to you through the medium that works best for them
  • Proactive outreach: The proactive and outbound tools, like auto-dialers and automated surveys, help your company reach out to customers and leads with reminders and discounts that may benefit them
  • Workflow automations: Blended contact centers let you automate interactions like follow-up surveys, appointment reminders, welcome emails, and other notifications to serve more customers over time
  • Quicker service: IVR menus and virtual agents ensure that inbound customers reach the right department on the first try, regardless of the channel they use


Blended Contact Center Metrics You Should Monitor

When building and monitoring your customer service plan, track a few core metrics that indicate how well your contact center functions. Metrics like customer satisfaction score, call resolution rate, agent activity, and channel usage provide valuable insights about your level of customer service.

Here are the most important metrics to monitor within your blended contact center:

  • Customer satisfaction score: An advanced and AI-based metric, CSAT scores indicate how satisfied your customers are following their interactions with your company
  • Call resolution rate: Call resolution rate uses call transcripts and agent notes to determine the percentage of inbound customer issues that agents resolve
  • Daily call volume and channel usage: Tracking daily call volume and messages provides an overall picture of contact center activity, helping you track how well your company scales and how many agents you need to staff
  • IVR menu choices: Many analytics engines break down your customers’ IVR menu selections, displaying the popularity of each choice. This information helps you staff each department and queue, also providing insights about the issues causing your customers to call in.
  • Queue wait times: Queue wait times help you ensure that inbound callers receive service promptly. Long wait times lead to customer frustration and churn.
  • Agent activity: Monitor each agent’s daily channel usage and call volume to ensure that your ACD system is evenly distributing tasks, and to see which channels are most popular with your customers
  • Common interaction keywords: Another advanced metric, interaction keywords analyze call transcripts to tell you which phrases and topics are most popular with your customers. This data indicates common issues and problems that prompt their calls.


Case Studies/Examples of How Businesses Use Blended Contact Centers

Companies use blended contact centers for all use cases: customer service, sales, and marketing across all industries. Here are some well-known companies using blended contact centers to connect with customers.


Los Angeles Chargers

The LA Chargers use Dialpad’s AI contact center for customer support and sales. They use features like IVR and CRM integrations to give agents fuller context when they receive inbound calls.

The Chargers use Dialpad’s auto-dialer and automations features to contact potential Chargers fans about discounts, upcoming promotions, and other events. Sales reps use AI features to organize and log each outbound call they make to customers.


Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines uses Five9’s blended contact center to provide customers with omnichannel service. Their customers can reach agents through phone, SMS, or live chat, providing flexibility and convenience at scale–even when the volume reaches 50,000 calls per day. Workflow automations switch agents between channels as needed, in line with inbound contact congestion.



AlgaeCal’s previous contact center didn’t integrate with their CRM system or enable detailed customer journey orchestration, and they don’t have an in-staff developer. So, they went with Talkdesk’s CCaaS solution, taking advantage of the drag-and-drop workflow and routing customization tools the software includes. AlgaeCal integrated their contact center with Salesforce, building triggers based on customer data and events.