A lot of people don’t know the difference between the call center and contact center, and they often think that these are the same thing. However, call centers and contact centers are two different models even though they’re both used for business communication. Overall experience is different, but the biggest difference is in the method of communication. Let me help you understand what these terms really mean.
An office space where agents deal with outbound, inbound or blended calls is a call center. Ever since the first ACD (automatic call distribution) systems, inbound calls are allocated to several agents depending on expertise and availability. Many of these call centers use IVR (interactive voice response) systems.
Contact center also deals with outbound and inbound phone calls, but digital service channels are also used to serve customers. These centers have all the benefits of call centers, but they often use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and cloud services to let people choose the channel they wish to communicate in. These are often digital options such as email, webchat, and texting.
Here are all the differences between the call center and contact center
1. Digital service channels
As you have already learned, the difference between the call center and contact center is mostly in the channels of communication. While you can only communicate by phone in a call center, you can use email, social media, texts, video chat or webchat, and other digital service channels in a contact center. Most of the differences between these two centers occur due to this fact, and you’re about to learn why.
2. Proactive communication
Not a lot of people pick up the phone when an unfamiliar number is calling, and they might not be home to do it anyway. This is a big problem with call centers that doesn’t occur with contact centers. Communication over digital service channels is much easier and more proactive. Agents can easily prepare the answers to customers’ questions, and it’s easier to reach out to the customers in the first place.
3. Less time spent on individual callers
Thanks to IVR services which most contact centers and call centers use, less time gets spent on individual callers. However, the difference between a call center and a contact center is that self-service can be done through a chatbot or keyword-driven texts and contact centers take advantage of this fact. This means that the wait time and the costs are reduced since even less time gets spent on individual callers.
4. More enjoyable experience
Agents in call centers often have to deal with rude comments and shouting. The difference between a call center and a contact center is that communication through different channels makes the conversation more enjoyable for both the customers and the agents. Agents have more time and options to find the right answers, and customers are less likely to get annoyed when they can pick the channel they want to use.
5. More customer data
Any customer that contacts your business shares personal information regarding their behavior and preferences. An agent in a call center can try to keep track of all that data, but it’s much simpler to do this by using digital channels. Contact center software can compile the customer data into a customer view that businesses can use to suggest new products and offer predictive service. More channels mean more data, and all of this data gives agents more information about the customers.
6. Fast transfers to the right agent
The customer data that I mentioned earlier makes it easier for the callers to be transferred to the right agent. No one likes to repeat their problem to several agents and get transferred a couple of times during a single call. While routing customers to the appropriate representative can be done in both call centers and contact centers, this is much easier with the use of digital channels and software that gathers more customer data.
Ultimately, the difference between the call center and contact center is in these channels of communication, but as you have just learned, they change a lot. With a contact center, you can keep in contact with customers through any of the possible customer service channels. The call center, on the other hand, only allows the customers to call. It makes much more sense to use contact centers now that people prefer to communicate in other ways than by using the phone. It makes everything easier for both the agents and customers, so it’s definitely the right choice if you want to start a business or improve an existing one.