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Contact Center vs. Call Center: Why is it Important in 2024?

Call and contact centres are used interchangeably, given that both exist to address customers’ complaints and achieve customer success.

This confusion often gets triggered in the decision making phase to either to hire a call center or a contact center while addressing the customers’ queries.

In the coming section, we have discussed the differences, similarities and which one you should opt for.

Pro Tip: If you are thinking to achieve customer success, I have estimated that outsourcing customer support saves 81.65% of your costs.

Contact Center Fundamentals

What is a Contact Center?

A contact center is a customer service facility that manages customer support across different communication channels. This includes phone calls, emails, live chat, and social media.

This is known as omnichannel support and provides customers with a seamless experience by addressing customer queries throughout the different channels.

For example, present day businesses establish their presence across multiple channels that includes social media, website, phone call and much more.

A contact center makes sure that it provides support to the customers from all the platforms instead of being limited to a single source of contact.

What is a Call Center?

A contact center is a customer service facility that manages customer support across different communication channels, including phone calls, emails, live chat, and social media.

The unique differentiator of a call center is that it only relies on the traditional outbound (agent reaching out to customers) and inbound calls (customers reaching out to agents) to help the customers.

Modern customer support relies on multi-channel support to assist the customers, however, a traditional call center doesn’t provide these services.

Differences between call center and contact center

In the previous section, I have mentioned the differences while defining call centers and the contact centers. However, to discuss it briefly, I have mentioned all the differences in the coming section.

While I have elaborated some of the main differences in the coming section, however, following is the general overview about it.

DifferencesCall CentersContact Centers
Channels SupportedSingleMultiple
Supported infrastructureIVR, ACD, CTICRMs
Agent Skill Set RequirementsMedium Advance
Response TimeQueue DependentFast 
IntegrationsLimitedDiverse
Infrastructure CostLess Costly More Costly 
PersonalizationNoYes

1. Channels Supported

Call Centers

Call centers only focus on inbound and outbound phone calls, and the channels they utilize to help their customers are mostly traditional phones. 

Contact Centers

Since modern customers interacts with many channels and they may reach your customer support through any channel, contact centers rely on multiple channels to help users.

Some of these channels are:

  1. Website chats
  2. Emails
  3. Social media
  4. Video consultation
  5. Text messages

And much more!

2. Integrations

Call Centers

As I have discussed in the above section, since call centers mostly deal with the telephonic calls, they mostly rely on the following:

  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
  • Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)
  • Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)

These integrations can expand with the end goal of providing help to the customers using telephonic calls.

Contact Centers

Integrations in call centers are used to accommodate all the customer support channels (i.e., text messages, website bots, and social media) using a CRM. 

All of the support issues get managed using the ticketing system and prioritizing the urgent tasks to the related agents.

3. Infrastructure Cost

Call Centers

A call center has bear the following expenses:

  • Technological Infrastructure
  • Staff
  • Office Expenditures

While I cannot give you the exact cost because it depends upon the infrastructure you choose or the amount of money you are paying to your employees. However, call centers are less expensive than contact centers.

Contact Center

Since there are multiple modes of communication, contact centers use different software to keep all the hassle in check. 

Some of these include CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems, which collect customer data and history in one place. Whereas, modern AI chatbots, help customers with simple queries and tasks. Lastly, analytics tools, which enable companies to monitor performance, derive insights, and identify areas for improvement. 

Additionally, contact centers manage their workforce in a manner that optimizes the scheduling and training of customer service professionals. Such professionals are known as contact center agents.

In summary, a contact center goes through the same infrastructure processes in addition to CRM costs. However, as mentioned above, a contact center costs you more as compared to a call center.

Also Read: Can Artificial Intelligence (AI) Call Center Replace Human Agents?

Similarities Between a Call Center and a Contact Center

I have discussed almost all the similarities in the section below, however, I have explained some of the main similarities in the coming section as well. 

SimilaritiesCall CentersContact Centers
Customer FocusYesYes
Performance MetricsYesYes
Quality AssuranceYesYes
Compliances & RegulationsYesYes
Knowledge AccessYesYes
Performance FeedbackYesYes

1. Customer Focus

The end goal of both call centers and the contact centers is to focus on customer support. Both try to achieve customer satisfaction by resolving their queries and their agents share the similar roles.

2. Compliances & Regulations

Since both call centers and contact centers handle customer complaints, they have to rely on the compliances set by the governments.

For example, if you are operating inside the medical niche, you have to be HIPPA compliant while addressing the customers complaints. 

3. Performance Feedback

Both the call centers and the contact centers share almost the same KPIs. Since both rely on the customer satisfactions, they try to measure the customer satisfaction score with the help of standard scoring and feedback forms.

Also Read: 15 Ways to Increase Inbound Calls and Boost Sales

Contact Center or Call Center: Which is Better?

To answer this question, one needs to define “better” in the context of the specific business. 

Of course, contact centers are more comprehensive and offer a wider range of options, but if your business primarily needs phone-based support, then a call center might be the right choice for you.

In essence, it’s all about finding the sweet spot that balances customer expectations, business goals, and available resources.

1. Business Size and Needs

One size definitely does not fit all when it comes to choosing between a contact center and a call center. 

The right choice will depend on factors like the size of the company, the type of services offered, and the specific needs of the business. 

2. Customer Demographics and Preferences

Another factor to consider when choosing between a call center and a contact center is the target audience. 

Businesses need to understand their customers’ demographics, preferences, and communication habits to make informed decisions. 

3. Budget and Resources

Money matters and businesses need to weigh the costs and benefits of implementing a call center or a contact center.

That means you need to consider factors like staffing, infrastructure, and technology expenses. 

4. Integration with Existing Systems

Businesses also need to think about how a call center or contact center would fit into their existing operations. 

This could involve integrating new technology with current systems, training staff, or modifying workflows. The goal is to create a seamless transition that will improve customer service without causing major disruptions.

Conclusion

The main difference between a contact center and a call center is number of channels each utilizes to provide help to the customers.

If the primary purpose of reading this information was deciding either to hire a contact center or a call center, I’d suggest reaching out to the HiredSupport. They are the expert at providing the best customer support and have integrated both the call and contact centers.

And if you are undecisive about the decision to start spending the money while being in confusion, I’d suggest running a free trial with the HiredSupport. Save your money, and take the right decision for if you to hire a call center or a contact center.

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