What is the difference between a call center and a contact center?

Call center vs. contact center: What's the difference?

What is the difference between a call center and a contact center

Contact Center vs. Call Center: Which Does My Business Need?

The needs of customers and their touchpoints are becoming more complex. To be successful, brands need to take advantage of the channels that customers are using and go beyond to deliver unforgettable experiences. This is why the customer services departments of companies have developed beyond traditional call centers. Contact centers have become commonplace, and they allow businesses to be accessible and available to customers.
What is the difference between a call center and a contact center? We explain the definition of a call center as well as what a call center is, and look at the advantages and disadvantages of each to help choose which one is best for your company.

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What is the difference between a call center and a contact center?

What is the difference between a call center and a contact center? The major distinction between a contact center and a call center is the methods they employ for interaction with their customers. A call center is focused on customer service through the phone, whereas the contact center manages many channels like email, phone and text messages, live chat as well as social media.
This table summarizes the major differences between call centers as well as contact centers:
Feature Call Center Contact Center
  • Channels
  • Phone
  • Phone, email, live chat, text messages, social media
  • Focus
  • Customer service
  • Customer service and outreach
  • Customer expectations
  • Personalized experience
  • Omnichannel experience
  • Technology
  • Legacy phone systems
  • Cloud-based contact center software
  • Workforce
  • Inbound and outbound agents
  • Inbound, outbound, and blended agents
  • Analytics
  • Limited data
  • Comprehensive data

Defining call center and contact center

While many people refer to the terms call center as well as contact centers interchangeably they have distinct distinctions that decision makers must be aware of.

What is a Call Center?

A call center typically is a workplace where many agents offer customer service via the phone. Call centers that are inbound receive calls from customers for support, and often act as a knowledge base for technical support, billing issues, and so on. They are focused on speedy resolution times as well as agents’ productivity. In call centers, outbound agents take calls instead of receiving calls. They could be calls for sales or marketing offers surveys, requests for fundraising or debt collection, for instance.

What is a Contact Center?

The phrase “contact center” reflects that there are a variety of ways to interact with a client today other than via phone. Higher expectations from customers and modern technology that allows for a variety of communications channels have led to a change from the old, dated model of a call center. Customers want more options to connect with businesses, and companies are seeking innovative ways to enhance customer service.

Contact Center and Call Center Similarities

While there are differences between call centers there’s certain similarities between them. Here are a few similarities between call center and call center:
  • They both provide customer service. The principal objective of both contact centers and call centers is to offer outstanding customer service. This means responding quickly to inquiries from customers, solving problems swiftly and efficiently and delivering a pleasant customer experience.

  • They both use agents. Both call centers employ agents to communicate with customers. Agents typically are educated in customer service, and they are in charge of dealing with customer queries and solving problems.

  • They both use technology.  Both call centers utilize technology to assist in providing customer service. This can be done through telephone systems as well as software for contact centers and CRM systems.

  • They both have metrics.  Both contact centers are equipped with metrics are used to monitor the effectiveness in their operations for customer services. These metrics could include things like the rate of abandonment of calls and handle times, and scores of customer satisfaction.
Contact Center and Call Center Similarities
Overall, contact centers as well as contact centers both are vital elements of the customer care landscape. Both play an important role in providing exceptional customer service. They each employ agents and technologies to help in achieving this goal.
There are a few other similarities between call centers:
  1. Both are typically situated in a central location.
  2. Both have a set timetable.
  3. Both have a set of guidelines and guidelines to handle questions from customers.
  4. They each have a staff of managers who manage the operation for the call center.
It is nevertheless important to be aware that the distinctions between call centers are getting increasingly obscure. Since customers are seeking more options to reach businesses, contact centers are introducing more channels to their menu. With the advancement of technology and call centers become more advanced and capable of handling a greater variety of interactions with customers. In the process, it’s becoming more and more common for companies to employ hybrid models that blend the advantages of both call centers and contact centers.
Key characteristics of a Contact Center and Call Center

Key characteristics of a Contact Center and Call Center

In the world of customer service, two terms often used interchangeably are contact centers and call centers. While both are integral to fostering positive customer experiences, they exhibit distinct characteristics that merit closer examination. Understanding the key features of contact centers and call centers is essential for businesses aiming to refine their customer communication strategies.
Here are the most important features of both contact centers and call centers that can aid you in separating the two.

Contact Center

  • Multichannel Communication:  Contact centers are distinguished by their capacity to interact with clients through various communication channels. This includes email, phone chat, chat and social media, among many more. They allow customers to pick their preferred method of communication.

  • Omnichannel Integration: Within the contact center, customers’ interactions seamlessly integrate across channels. Agents are able to access the complete history of all previous interactions with customers, which ensures an identical and personal experience no matter which channel is chosen.

  • Customer Experience Focus: The primary goal of contact centers is providing an outstanding customer experience. They focus on offering consistent and effective service across all channels. They emphasize how important it is to build customer loyalty and satisfaction.

  • Enhanced Analytics: Contact centers typically utilize advanced analytics to get insight into the behavior of customers and their preferences. This approach is based on data and allows for more informed decision-making, better customer service, and more personalized interactions with customers.

  • Versatility: The agents in contact centers are generally trained to handle a broad variety of interactions with customers that range from phone calls, to text-based chats as well as social media requests. This allows them to be flexible to changing customer demands and the latest trends in communications.

Call Center

  • Phone-Centric Communication: Perhaps the most distinctive characteristic of the contact center’s main dependence on phones to facilitate customer interactions. Call center employees manage outbound and inbound calls, and assist customers with queries, issues or information requests via the phone.

  • Specialization: The call centers usually focus on specific tasks like technical support sales as well as customer care. Each department is focused on a specific aspect of interaction with customers that allows for specialized knowledge in the particular specific area.

  • Efficiency Metrics: The call centers are built with efficiency in the forefront of our minds. Metrics such as average Handle Time (AHT) along with first Call Resolution (FCR) are essential for assessing the performance. The aim is to manage the volume of calls efficiently and quickly.

  • Limited Multichannel Support: Although some call centers include additional communication channels such as chat or email but their main focus is only on voice interaction. These channels are usually considered to be supplementary instead of essential components of their business.

Contact Center vs. Call Center: Which One to Choose?

The words “contact center” and “call center” are frequently used interchangeably, however there’s a distinct distinction in between them. Call centers are a place that manages outbound and inbound phone calls. On the other hand, a contact center is able to handle many ways of communicating like telephone or live chat, email, social media, as well as text messages.
Which one is best for your company? It’s all dependent on your particular needs and objectives.
If you are only required to take care of inbound calls or inbound calls, then a call center might be adequate. However, if you wish to give your customers the ability to communicate with you via the preferred method and then a contact center is the best alternative.
Contact Center vs. Call Center - Which One to Choose
Here are some things to take into consideration when choosing among a contact center or one that is a contact center:
  • Customer expectations: Customers of today want to communicate with businesses through the preferred method which could be email, phone or chat media. If you wish to be able to meet or exceed customers’ expectations, then you have to establish an effective contact center that is able to manage several channels.

  • Your budget: The budget for your call center tends to cost more to build and operate as compared to call centers. This is due to the fact that they require higher-end technology and more the training of agents.

  • Your internal resources: If you’ve got the internal resources required to run the contact center, you could consider an internal solution. If, however, you’re not able to devote the time or experience to manage a contact center, then you may need to outsource your call center to a third party service.
In the end, the best way to determine the best option between a call center and the contact center is to take into account your particular needs and objectives. If you’re looking to offer your customers the most enjoyable experience possible and service, then a contact center is the best way to take.
Here are a few additional factors to take into consideration when selecting the right contact center
  • The complexity and size of your company It is a matter of size and complexity. If you run a small-sized business that has a smaller amount of customers, an easy call center might suffice. However, if you are an extensive business with a diverse customer base, you might require a more advanced contact center solution.

  • The kind of customer interactions you must handle: You must manage outbound or inbound calls or both? Do you also have to manage chat, email and social networks? If you have more platforms that require handling, the more complex your solution for contact centers will need to be.

  • The level of service that you are looking to provide How fast do you need to respond to customer questions? How important is it for you to provide a personal service? The quality of service you intend to offer will also determine the kind of contact center solution that you require.
After you’ve considered all these elements and have weighed them all, you’ll be in a better position to select the best contact center software for your company.

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact centers, also called a customer contact center, or even a contact center is a central department or facility within a company that is specifically designed to handle customer inquiries as well as interactions through various channels of communication. Contact centers are the primary customer contact point for customers who need help, find information, solve issues, or interact with a company.

Contact centers are specific departments or units within an organization primarily responsible for managing customer interactions through different communication channels.

Here are some suggestions for improving your soft skills at the call center:

  • Inbound Call Centers: Call centers that are inbound focus on receiving incoming calls from clients or customers needing assistance, information, or support or resolution of particular problems.

  • Outbound Call Centers: Outbound call centers however are focused on making calls outgoing to prospects or customers for a variety of reasons. 

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