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What are the differences between a call center and a contact center?

What are the differences between a call center and a contact center?

There is a thin line between the definition of a call center and a contact center. This probably explains why many people, even today, use these two terms interchangeably. However, despite seeming similar, there is a world of differences between these two. In this post, we will not only understand the difference between a contact center and a call center but also look into the reasons why a business must invest in either of them.

What is a Call Center?

A call center is an important part of an organization that handles a large number of phone calls (both incoming and outgoing), especially the ones coming from prospects and customers. Call centers can be of three types –

  1. Inbound call center – Handles incoming calls
  2. Outbound call center – Handles outgoing calls
  3. Blended call center – Handles both incoming and outgoing calls.

 A call center typically manages the following type of calls – 

  • Technical support
  • Complaints
  • Inquiries about products or services
  • Lead generation
  • Telemarketing
  • Customer retention
  • Surveys

Fun fact: Did you know that there is a difference between BPO and call center too? The former focuses on back offices task like customer support or accounting while the latter focuses just on calls.

What is a Contact Center?

Like a call center, a contact center is also a department of an organization that handles communication across various channels. In other words, a contact center expands on the calling functionality of a call center to include other ways of communication modes such as online chat, social media, SMS, etc. The best part about the contact center is that it empowers your agents to personalize customer interactions so that they have a great experience with your brand.

Here is a sample workflow of a contact center – 

  • Order status updates are sent to a customer via SMS.
  • The details around an upcoming event are shared with the prospect via push notifications.
  • The reminder for the event is sent via email.
  • The feedback session for the sale is conducted via call.

Further reading: Cloud Telephony: A Beginner’s Guide

Call Center vs Contact Center: 7 Major Differences

As you can see from the above definitions, all call centers can be contact centers, but not all contact centers can be call centers. Let us now dissect the difference between call center and contact center.

ParameterCall CenterContact Center
Communication channelsVoiceVoice, email, SMS, social media, chat, etc.
Key GoalTo provide instant solutions to the customer in a language they understand.To enable customers to communicate with the brand on their preferred communication channel.
Skills needed for the agentOnly good communication skills are required.Communication skills + Writing skills, social media etiquette, multi-tasking.
Key metrics measuredAverage Call Abandonment RatePercentage of Calls BlockedAverage Time in QueueService LevelAverage Speed of AnswerVolume by channel first contact resolution by channel cost per contact by channel quality scores by channel customer satisfaction by channel available contacts by channel
Level of personalization in interactionsLowHigh
Volume of data collectedLowHigh
Complexity in operatingLowHigh

Reasons to invest in a contact center and call center solution

Now that you know the difference between contact and call center, the next thing to focus on is adopting a solution to run them efficiently. Remember – It doesn’t matter whether you choose a contact center or call center, it is important to invest in an appropriate tool to manage them. 

To the unversed, a call center solution is a software that helps agents to manage incoming and outgoing calls more efficiently. A contact center solution, on the other hand, helps agents to manage all sorts of communication happening in multiple channels effectively. With that brief introduction, let us understand the reasons why you must invest in either of these solutions – 

Why invest in a call center solution?

  1. Improves the efficiency of your agents: For the efficient functioning of a call center, agents must meet deadlines and offer instant solutions. This is made possible by a call center solution as it helps in keeping track of deadlines and schedules so that your agents can stay abreast with all the important things around an interaction or a deal.
  1. Captures key customer information: Customer conversations are nothing but a massive goldmine for your organization. The intelligence you gather from these conversations can help you personalize experiences for your future prospects and improve the chances of conversions. Many call center solutions come with an in-built analytics engine that not only records calls but also offers smart insights that can be used for improved decision-making. 
  1. Monitors agents: Without a call center solution, it’s impossible for managers or business owners to keep track of their agents. Without it, you will never know how your agents are interacting with the callers or how many calls they are making in a day, or how much time they are spending on a call. By monitoring these metrics and agents’ performance, you can provide timely help to them and resolve issues before they cause any major damage. 

Editor’s Choice: Cold Recruitment Calls Mistakes By Recruiters

Why invest in a contact center solution?

  1. Provides faster support: Let’s face it – today’s customers are highly impatient. They want solutions instantly. More importantly, they want solutions through the channel of their choice. This is where a contact center solution helps. It ensures that your team is available across all customer touch points and instantly responds to any queries, be it via mail or chat messages, or even phone calls. 
  1. Improved brand visibility: When you are available across multiple channels, people are bound to notice you. A contact center solution enables your agents to proactively answer customer comments and complaints across all touchpoints. When you do that, your brand will automatically earn the tag of being ‘customer-friendly.’ It will attract even prospects who didn’t have an intent to purchase from you.
  1. Improved sales: This is really a no-brainer. A contact center solution offers 360 deg intelligence of your prospects. Your agents will be in a better position to offer the right advice. They will be able to suggest the right solution that is tailored to their exact needs (thanks to the customer information they have). This can greatly increase the chances of conversion. 

Conclusion

Both call centers and contact centers are, without question, important for a business that indulges in a lot of interactions with customers. Whatever your choice, it is important to support your agents with a good solution that generates in-depth reports, sets up a routing system, schedules calls, etc. A platform like FreJun does much more than that. It offers many features that can power your calling process instantly. To know more about FreJun, click here.

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