Contact Center Services vs Call Center: A Guide for Managers

When determining which of the two can meet the needs of your firm, you have to first dwell on the differences between call center and contact center services. To offer you a thorough understanding of how these two systems operate and how you can manage them, let’s go over some of their fundamental distinctions. By the end of which, you’ll be able to determine what your organisation demands.  

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What Is a Customer Contact Center?

An organisation’s contact center manages multichannel communication. Contact centers receive and provide information via a variety of channels in addition to phone calls, including VoIP services, in-app chat, social media, SMS or push messages, email, websites, etc. In order to track each stage of the conversation, contact centers typically use CRM systems. Representatives in this standing may assist more consumers at once by utilizing different channels, which improves customer retention. However, implementing unique software programs or cloud solutions can be demanding for contact centers.

What Is a Call Center?

Call centers, as the name suggests, handle inbound and outbound calls to provide support to customers and market products or services. Phone calls are the only channel of communication in call centers, and the entire facility is set up to handle a large volume of calls per day. Within the organisation’s infrastructure, call centers are set up with all the required technology and software. However, as cloud computing has advanced, virtual call centers are also growing in popularity. 

Types Of Call Centers

Different types of call centers have distinct goals and positions in the business. The difference comes from the motive of the customer. This is why it is important to decide which of these models you can potentially use, and most importantly, how you can maximize its operation.

Inbound Call Centers

In a typical inbound call center, inbound calls are generated when customers need assistance in resolving a customer service issue or resolving any other service-related issues.

Outbound Call Centers

On the other hand, an outbound call center makes calls directly to customers on behalf of the organisation. Typically, the sales team relies on outbound call centers to make cold calls to potential customers about their offerings. Additionally, businesses may use outbound calling to draw in potential customers or gather market data.

Key Differences Between Contact Center and Call Center

From communication channels to use cases, from workflow automation to CRM, contact centers and call centers differ a lot. Here is a detailed breakdown of how they are distinct and what approach you should take to manage them. 

Medium of Communication

Call centers, only use a single communication medium. They receive or make direct phone calls to customers, and service agents provide information or solutions in real time. Unlike call centers, contact center services offer communication via a variety of channels such as chatbots, email marketing, and cold calling among others. 

Typical Use Cases

Call centers are more suitable for traditional customer bases, while contact center are the need of the hour for contemporary industries. For instance, customers in the banking, and financial sectors may prefer to seek support over the phone. A contact center, however, is more useful for the digital sector, since the majority of the clients might be of younger generations, and thus are likely to contact customer service by means they deem appropriate.

Managing Customer Queue

As call centers solely use phone calls for communication, they can install software to automatically allocate calls to available agents. However, this method does not always guarantee the best possible client service. On the other hand, a contact center can set up cutting-edge software to select suitable agents in accordance with the needs and activities of the client. For instance, if a customer prefers an agent who is an expert on the specific issue they need help with, the software can direct them to the appropriate representative in that situation.

Dependency on Manpower

At a call center, when communicating with a customer, each customer service representative has to give personal attention to the caller. The time taken by a single issue might take longer, as the agent would not be able to attend to other inquiries in the interim. The larger your customer base, the more human resource you will need to handle increasing support requests. A contact center support representative can, however, be in touch with multiple customers at the same time via various channels. For example, a customer can chat with an agent on a website, and the agent can still email another customer to address a different issue. Therefore, a contact center can be run with a lot less manpower. 

Support Type

Unless your customer’s call is directed to a call center agent, the representative might not be fully unaware of the problems the customers are experiencing. Thus, customer service at call centers is always reactive. However, consumer mobility can be tracked completely by contact center services. As a result, it is easy for an agent to have all user data at their fingertips and contact a customer in advance to provide support. This boosts credibility and client retention, particularly for digital products and services.

Self-Service Options

Though IVR systems in modern call centers allow customers to choose their services and receive assistance more quickly, being at the end of a long line can be aggravating for your clients.  As there is only one open contact channel, customers reaching out must wait for a long time to speak. However, contact centers use a variety of self-service solutions, including web portals, chatbots, and other tools, to help clients discover the right solution to their issues much faster without having to directly reach out to the organisation. This way, the wait time decreases for customers who are in need of individual assistance. 

Automation

In call centers, automation has a very constrained application. Modern software can only send automated voice mails or schedule calls, but contact centers use a lot of automation to speed up the workflow and reduce dependency on human resources. Advanced cloud-based software can filter queries and update status based on the actions taken from an agent’s side. As a result, it is considerably simpler for management to evaluate an agent’s performance or follow up with a client, if necessary.

Tracking Customer Movement

The bare minimum integration found in call centers may make it difficult for the agent to obtain sufficient client data. However, a contact center representative may be able to quickly locate any essential information by viewing the customer’s entire history with a few clicks. This in turn helps the agents offer efficient services to the customers. 

Contact Center vs Call Center: What Does Your Organisation Need?

You should take the following into account when determining whether your company requires a call center or contact center.

Market Type

Consider your market and clientele first. A call center can be a better option if you primarily need to provide technical help, billing information, or marketing offers. However, contact centers must be implemented for omnichannel communication if your firm is involved in sectors such as healthcare, tourism or eCommerce.

Clientele  

Call centers may be adequate if you only need to manage a small customer base. On the other hand, managing a massive clientele will necessitate all-around communication via multiple channels. A contact center will be more useful in such circumstances.

Resources 

Before establishing a call center or contact center, consider the available resources and necessary infrastructure. A virtual call center may also be a great alternative if you don’t want to invest in a call center site.

Information Circulation 

Determine the level of control you need over the general customer information flow through all channels. Call centers will only disclose a small amount of client information. However, contact centers will provide your representatives with a thorough overview of the clientele history.

Competitors 

Analyze what your competitors are doing. If a contact center is frequently employed in the sector you are in, you should choose one as well. In such circumstances, outdated call centers might not be a good fit.

Tips for Managers

You should be aware of the following guidelines before implementing a call center or customer contact center solution.

  • As call centers need a larger force than contact centers, you have to hire frequently. However, managing a contact center can be much easier.
  • Call center outsourcing can significantly lower operating expenses.
  • Utilizing cloud solutions might be an excellent approach to increase performance without incurring additional costs.
  • Skill-based customer care query distribution can shorten customer service spans and increase the number of satisfied customers.
  • IVR systems can assist in determining the customer’s intent without a human retort. 
  • For contact centers, introducing self-service through chatbots and other channels can be useful.

Despite the fact that the terms call centers and contact center services are sometimes used interchangeably, they have very different functions, standards, and ideologies. Understanding the distinctions between the two will enable you to decide which one your organisation demands and how to provide first-rate customer service using either one of them.

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