Contact Center vs Call Center: What is the Difference?

Does your business require a contact center or a call center?

Even though the terms “contact center” and “call center” appear to be interchangeable, there are some significant distinctions between the two. Despite the frequent interchangeability of these terms, these prevalent business communication models have some significant distinctions. Building an effective, distinctive customer experience requires starting with a clear understanding of the distinctions between a call center and a contact center and how they relate to your business needs.

In this article, we’ll compare the key distinctions between call centers and contact centers. Additionally, we provide specific justifications for why your call centers ought to transform into omnichannel contact centers and discuss why contact centers are ultimately better for both your business and your clients.

Without further ado, Let’s dive in……….

What is call center?

Customer service specialists who answer incoming and outgoing calls are referred to as “call center agents.” In a traditional call center, customer service representatives answer questions from customers. They may also perform telemarketing, debt collection, billing, and other customer-related tasks. Agents who answer incoming calls assist clients with account questions, appointment requests, technical support issues, complaints, and inquiries about goods and services. Outbound calls, on the other hand, concentrate on telemarketing, fundraising, lead generation, scheduling, client retention, and debt collection. Call centers aim to deliver dependable and prompt customer service via a historically dependable channel—the phone—and can therefore enhance CX. Call center operations may be housed within a company or outsourced to a professional partner.

What is contact center?

A contact center is a division in charge of both inbound and outbound customer interactions. Like call center services, contact center operations can be carried out internally or by a partner. However, unlike call centers, contact centers use a variety of channels to interact with customers, including messaging, phone, apps, text, email, social media, and the web. In addition, if you’re wondering what contact center software is, let me clarify that they are very similar in terms of functions but not in terms of integration.

A call center is a common component of contact centers, but they also manage communication via text, email, social media, voice over IP, live chat, and chatbots. With multiple channels, businesses can gather more marketing data and give customers more convenient ways to communicate with them.

Top 6 types of contact centers

  • Inbound contact center
  • Outbound contact center
  • Multichannel contact center
  • Omnichannel contact center
  • On-premises contact center
  • Cloud contact center

Major differences between a contact center vs a call center

1-  Communication channels

Contact-center: Phone, social media, email, live chat, and more

Call-center: Phone

The primary distinction between a contact center and a call center—as was already mentioned—is the customer engagement channels they employ. As their name suggests, call centers only communicate over the phone. Since phone conversations occur in real-time, a call consumes all of an agent’s bandwidth. Therefore, staffing up for peak volume hours is the only way to manage peak volume hours. Running a large team, however, can prove to be quite expensive.

In contrast, contact centers engage with customers through digital channels in addition to the phone, like live chat, social media, and email. Utilizing multiple channels of communication rather than just the phone allows for faster delivery of solutions and improved customer experiences.

Customers actually use the internet for six hours on average every day. Brands have increased their support across a variety of channels in order to keep up with the changing expectations of their customers. Customers now have the freedom to voice their concerns and request assistance on whatever platform they choose. With the right contact center technology, brands can effortlessly interact with customers and provide an omnichannel experience. For instance, you can more effectively distribute the workload among the team when using email. Additionally, agents are able to manage three or more chat conversations simultaneously, which lowers staffing and workloads.

2-  Usage

Contact center: Customer service and customer relationship management

Call center: Technical support, telemarketing, and sales

Customer relationship management and omnichannel customer service are provided through contact centers. Contact centers are preferred by digital natives who want to offer connected experiences across platforms. Therefore, contact centers are used in sectors like healthcare, education, travel, and hospitality that demand multichannel communication.

Call centers are frequently used to place both inbound and outbound calls because they are solely focused on phone-based customer communication. For example, in addition to technical support, they are used to manage telemarketing and sales.

Industries where consumers prefer a conventional channel, like the phone, are ideal candidates for call centers. These sectors include manufacturing, non-profit, and banking and financial services.

3-  Data

Contact centers are able to gather more customer data than call centers because they provide more channels for communication. Additionally, they can strengthen customer profiling, enabling businesses to offer individualised customer support to enhance CX. Call centers use speech analysis software to scrutinise calls and gain insights into a customer’s personality and preferences. Contact centers do the same, but their omnichannel approach enables more opportunities to collect data. For instance, contact centers can use information from social media, such as likes and follower counts, to identify the affiliations and attitudes of customers that might not be clear over the phone.

4-  Queue management

Contact center: Omnichannel queue management across channels

Call center: Call distribution

To manage the flow of customer inquiries coming in from various channels, contact centers use omnichannel queue management software. Advanced queue management is a feature of contemporary cloud contact center software like SAN Softwares SanCCS, which can stop emails or chat conversations from being forwarded to agents who are already on a call. In order to speed up customer service and provide a seamless experience, contact centers also use automation to route tickets to the appropriate agents based on keywords, previous customer history, agent skills, and channels.

All customer interactions take place over the phone in a call center. Therefore, a modern call center solution uses automatic call distributors to route incoming calls to the appropriate agents rather than an omnichannel routing system. Additionally, these benefits call center managers in enhancing their operational effectiveness.

5-  Customer self-service

The majority of call centers offer customer self-service through interactive voice response (IVR) systems, which are automated phone assistants that respond to voices and keypad inputs. IVR systems can direct callers to the appropriate agents and carry out straightforward tasks, but they can also irritate customers with long menu options that don’t cater to their needs. Customer self-service tools available through a contact center go beyond IVR and include chatbots, FAQ pages, online knowledge bases, and forums, all of which can assist customers in independently locating the answers they need. Mobile applications that allow users to place or modify orders, as well as automated text messages that confirm or reschedule appointments, are additional examples of contact center customer self-service.

6-  Workforce management

Contact center: Reduces dependence on agents

Call center: Requires high dependence on agents

Call centers rely heavily on human resources. Call center agents’ entire bandwidth may be consumed by talking to people on the phone because phone conversations happen in real-time. Therefore, adding more staff is the only way to manage peak volume times. The seasonal workload can occasionally include some outsourcing as well. Some companies choose to employ seasonal workers. But both of these options could raise the cost of providing support. Using multiple channels rather than just the phone as the primary means of communication enables businesses to scale customer service without necessarily scaling their workforce. Agents working in contact centers can manage multiple chat and email conversations simultaneously. This lessens the need to grow your team and enables agents to deliver quick resolutions at scale without sacrificing the customer experience.

7-  Proactive vs reactive

Contact center: Proactive and reactive support

Call center: Reactive support

In the current environment, proactive customer service is very important because consumers tend to stick with companies that consistently provide positive experiences. After just one negative experience, the cost of poor customer service can be as high as losing one out of every three clients.

When it comes to providing proactive support, contact centers have an advantage because they operate in the digital sphere. Cloud-based solutions’ accessibility and wealth of data allow for a complete depiction of a customer’s journey. A few brands that have embraced a proactive customer service strategy include Amazon, Netflix, and Slack. Call centers may not be able to accurately predict problems as easily as contact centers because they only use the phone channel for communication. If data is collected, it typically does not offer the right insights for a proactive support strategy and only represents one aspect of this bigger picture.

8-  Workflow automation

Contact center: Ticket creation automation, assignments, updates, and time-based triggers

Call center: Automations on voice mails, outbound dialling, and call routing

Automation is used in contact centers to categorise tickets, update ticket properties, and most importantly, follow up and close the loop with customers, in addition to routing tickets. There are also features in contact center solutions that are specifically intended to increase agent productivity. By eliminating repetitive tasks, features like canned responses, canned forms, and ticketing templates give agents more time to interact with customers. This lessens the possibility of burnout and keeps agents active. On the other hand, call center software provides automation that increases productivity, such as power dialers to automate outbound dialling and options to customise voicemail greetings, route calls made outside of business hours to voicemail, and drop voicemails.

Call Center And Contact Center Similarities

Call centers and contact centers both offer inbound and outbound customer service, despite their differences. They both employ agents as well as a number of the same technologies. Depending on its unique requirements and priorities, a company may choose to use a call center or contact center. Call centers can be cost-effective for businesses whose customers they mostly deal with over the phone.  A contact center may be useful for companies that experience high levels of digital engagement or want to stay on top of emerging technologies.

3 Reasons A Contact Center Is The Better Solution 

Customer experience delivery is the key distinction between a contact center and a call center. Today’s digital world goes beyond providing good customer service. To stand out and keep customers, brands need to go above and beyond to provide exceptional customer experiences. In contact centers, you can increase the likelihood of delivering fantastic customer experiences by:

  • providing customers with a variety of contact options.
  • putting the customer first and being proactive
  • having conversations that are entirely focused on the needs and problems of the customers.

However, in call centers, clients do not have a positive experience because they

  • need to wait in long lines to speak with an agent.
  • frequently diverted to alternative teams and agents.

While call center solutions aid in the execution of your support activities, contact center solutions go a step further and aid in the development of your customer support team.

Conclusion: Get started with SanCCS

Choosing between a contact center and a call center comes down to what will work best for your company’s size, activity, and objectives. It’s a decision whether or not to offer support through various channels. You can, however, decide how to carry out that strategy. And SAN Softwares SanCCS is your best bet if you’re looking for the best call center software solution. Numerous features offered by SanCCS make it genuinely indispensable. It is just as simple to install as it is to manage, which will help you increase productivity, boost customer satisfaction, save time, and more.



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