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Contact Center vs. Call Center: Here’s How to Choose

Contact Center and Call Center – Everything you need to know 

Businesses used to communicate with their customers solely through voice calls placed through call centers. Today, customers can contact a company via various communications channels, such as email, social media, chatbot, and so on, all of which are managed through contact centers.

Call centers and contact centers revolve around providing support to customers. However, there are differences between them that can impact your company’s efficiency and how satisfied your customers feel with the communications experience overall. The key difference between these two models lies in how they approach customers and where those interactions take place. Understanding these two models will help you build better relationships with those who use or interact with your services.

In yesteryears, call centers were the primary means for handling customer inquiries. The focus was on processing large numbers of customer calls at once. Today, contact centers accomplish the same goal while incorporating a few essential modifications to utilize new communications and analytics possibilities better. This article will explore the key differences between call centers and contact centers. We will also discuss factors you should consider when deciding on either.

What Is a Call Center?

A call center is a customer service center that handles inbound and outbound customer calls. Businesses commonly use call centers to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as to increase sales. In many cases, call centers are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide customer support around the clock. Call center services can include answering customer questions, troubleshooting technical issues, and providing information about products and services.

Call centers must have well-trained and professional call agents who can provide high-quality customer service to be successful. In addition, call centers must have efficient call management systems in place to minimize wait times and maximize call resolutions. Call centers can be either in-house or outsourced, and they can specialize in various industries such as healthcare, telecommunications, insurance, and retail.

What Is a Contact Center?

Contact centers are the more modern adaptation of call centers and offer an array of customer service channels in addition to phone calls. Recognizing how important it is for customers’ needs to be met across all devices and timescales (not just during business hours), contact center employees help via multiple modes, including:

  • Voice;
  • Email/chat forums on social media websites such as Facebook or Twitter;
  • Web chats where questions are answered live online;
  • SMS sending text messages directly to customers’ phones.

Contact centers are the new way for businesses to reach their customers. Customers nowadays expect to communicate with companies through the channels they use every day, such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, email, and SMS. Contact centers provide more engagement points and a centralized system that can help with an omnichannel strategy.

Their focus is not limited to voice calls, so contact center agents can multitask, handling numerous consumer interactions. As a result, they are more productive.

Key Differences Between a Call Center and a Contact Center

The following are the key differences between call centers and contact centers:

  1. A call center uses only voice to converse with customers, while a contact center uses multiple communications channels, including voice, email, web interface, and text messages.
  2. Contact centers are more likely to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In contrast, call centers are typically available only during business hours.
  3. Contact centers are more likely to employ agents trained in multiple customer service channels, while call centers typically use agents who specialize in handling phone calls.
  4. Contact centers can manage multiple customer interactions simultaneously and help customers via numerous communications channels. On the other hand, call centers tend to be more specialized and focus solely on voice calls.
  5. Contact centers focus on customer relationship management and customer service, while call centers are often limited to technical support, sales, and telemarketing.
  6. Call centers often require more staffing since phone calls happen in real-time and take up an agent’s entire bandwidth. On the other hand, contact centers can take some load off agents by deflecting conversations to digital channels or providing self-service options. The agents often handle more than one conversation via the multiple digital communications channels available.

Contact Center Vs. Call Center: Factors That Should Inform Your Choice

Now that we know the critical differences between a call center and a contact center, it’s time to understand how to decide which one is best for your business. Here are some factors that you should consider:

Your business needs

The first thing you need to do is analyze your business needs. What kind of customer support do you need to provide? Do you need to be available 24/7? What kind of channels do your customers prefer to use? These are some of the questions you need to answer to understand which type of customer support operation would better suit your business.

Your budget

Call centers can be more expensive than contact centers, as they require more human resources and specialized equipment. If you’re on a tight budget, a contact center might be the better option for you.

Your customers’ needs

What kind of support do your customers need? What kind of interactions do they prefer? Answering these questions will help you understand which type of customer support would be more beneficial for them.

Your company size

If you’re a small business, a contact center alone might suffice because it is more cost-effective. However, if your company is large and you are looking to scale, you might need both a contact center and a call center.

Contact Centers Are a Better Solution Overall

Contact centers are an opportunity for businesses to offer the best possible customer experiences by, among other things:

  • Offering your customers multiple channels through which they can contact you
  • Adopting a proactive instead of a reactive approach to solving customer problems
  • Offering better context in conversations leads to a better understanding of customer issues

To further improve the customer experience, contact centers incorporate advanced analytics into their operations. By analyzing customer interactions and employing machine learning, contact centers can predict customer needs and proactively provide the necessary support. Additionally, advanced analytics can help identify operational inefficiencies and help managers make better decisions. Overall, the incorporation of advanced analytics is helping contact centers become more efficient and provide a better service to their customers.​

Signalmash CPaaS solutions

If you’re looking for a way to improve your customer support operation, whether it’s a contact center or a call center, Signalmash can help. We’ve partnered with HoduSoft, a leader in the Unified Communications software market. They’ve built an innovative software suite for contact centers, business process organizations and service providers. We have a unique understanding of the complex and every-changing voice and messaging business processes through our years in the telecommunications industry. So we can offer you an omni-channel approach that you can use to build lasting connections with your customers. 

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you improve your customer support operation.

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