Contact Center vs Call Center
The future of customer service is undergoing a digital transformation.
It comes as no surprise that this will have a direct impact on the way local and small businesses develop their customer experience. Customer satisfaction is being redefined due to the emergence of digital channels and omnichannel support provided.
But what does this mean for your local business and its customer communications?
It may mean having to adopt the use of contact centers and/or call centers. They are both designed to offer live support for a business, but they differ in the level of support, efficiency, and overall capabilities.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the key differences between contact centers and call centers, as well as their respective features that you can use to help you decide which is right for your business.
Contact Center vs Call Center
At a Glance
A contact center solution operates as a real-time omnichannel hub that provides support to customers, not solely through phone channels, but other communication channels like SMS and social media apps.
A call center is a centralized location in which call center agents/receptionists handle inbound and outbound calls from existing or potential customers.
Main differences between contact centers vs call centers
At a glance, these two might seem synonymous; both figure into a business’s customer relationship management (CRM) strategy and involve managing customer expectations.
However, closer inspection would show that contact centers and call centers have the following differences:
- A call center is a business that specializes in receiving and responding to telephone calls. Call centers are traditional in the sense that they are purely focused on the telephony aspects of CRM. They rely on VoIP technology to address voice calls and tend to focus on telemarketing tactics to address customer needs.
- A contact center is an organization that can provide customer service by phone, email, chat, or social media. Contact center agents often use contact center software that includes automation aspects to manage inbound calls. These softwares often use automatic call distributors (ACD) to help manage not just large call volumes, but routing customer contact requests from many different channels.
- Contact centers are usually larger than call centers because they have more employees who handle different tasks. Due to the various tasks and support channels that are involved, contact centers are typically a much larger operation and endeavor than call centers.
- Contact centers may be able to handle other business or administrative operations as well. This includes customer data analytics and the provision of self-service options for customers. Contact centers can help maximize the efficiency of the customer journey at various touchpoints compared to a traditional call center.
Features and Capabilities
Now that you know the difference between these two solutions let’s break down the features and services offered by each.
Contact center managers tackle a broader spectrum of customer support. The nature of incoming support requests can vary from simpler support queries like payment plans to much more complex topics like contract issues.
Thus, contact center agents are trained and often specialize in handling technical support requests across various channels, including phone calls, text messaging, social media, live chat, chatbots, and more.
Modern contact centers provide the following support features:
- Answer all incoming phone calls from existing customers, potential customers, and leads.
- Advanced analytics to help refine and develop more accurate customer profiles. With contact centers, there is a large amount of data coming in from various sources that can pave the way for sharper strategies in the future.
- Video conferencing to chat with callers that prefer a visual medium. This may also be used to demonstrate any physical issues with the product/service, depending on the customer and the nature of the work done.
- Social media communication, such as Facebook Messenger and other instant messaging platforms.
- Answer emails and SMS messages in real-time.
- Sales, payments, and account management is often integrated into contact center solutions and the larger CRM framework.
Call centers are the traditional solution for customer interactions. Here, agents often use call distribution strategies to provide technical support, answer customer queries, and more.
Call centers do not have as broad a focus as contact centers and are hyperfocused on the following service areas:
- Answer all incoming phone calls from customers, prospects, and other leads.
- Handle basic/generic support issues/tickets that can be addressed over a phone call.
- Escalate high-priority issues in real-time to the relevant teams, either through call forwarding or simply by alerting the team managers on the issues.
- Upload basic data into CRM systems which can be done through a combination of call center software and manual input. (However, data received here would be limited purely to the information derived from telephone support.)
- Basic administrative tasks (note-taking, etc.) are also often provided by call center agents trained for this purpose.
- Outbound telemarketing, including cold calls and following up on customer support issues by directly reaching out to customers via phone calls.
Best of Both Worlds: Signpost’s New Live Receptionist
Up to 96% of customers will stop engaging with a business that has poor customer service and support. Whatever size your business may be, you wouldn’t want your customers to join the ranks here.
If you’ve considered a contact center versus a call center, you’re probably looking for the best customer service solution for your business. Why settle for one when you can make the best of both services through an integrated solution?
Enter: Signpost. We offer a live receptionist service that blends everything you’d want from a call center, along with important contact center capabilities, including web chat response, scheduling appointments directly with your CRM, real-time notifications, and more.
Get started with our live digital receptionist today!