Contact Centres vs Call Centres: What Is A Contact Centre? | illation (2023)

Contact centres lie at the heart of business-to-customer communications. In any contact centre setting, multiple agents attend to customer enquiries, ensuring effective dialog between brands and their patrons. It’s easy enough to understand the basic concept of what a contact centre is. However, as CX requirements become more demanding, modern contact centres are becoming increasingly complex. Understanding the difference between contact centres vs call centres is one important part of understanding modern business-to-customer communications.

Understanding the functionality of modern contact centre solutions allows for a better understanding of what a contact centre truly is in today’s world.

Contact Centres vs Call Centres: What’s the Difference?

Although contact centres vs call centres might sound like the same thing, there are some important differences.

Call centres, as the name implies, are customer service centres that operate mainly on voice communication. In a call centre setting, agents are focused on receiving inbound calls while making outbound calls. Call centres can be used to facilitate either sales or customer service. Regardless of the goals, however, there’s one common denominator between all call centres – voice.

Contact centres are like call centres in that voice is often a popular communication channel. However, unlike call centres, contact centres allow for communication via a variety of channels other than voice, such as text, social media and email.

Contact Centres vs Call Centres: What Is A Contact Centre? | illation (1)

Essentially, the main difference between contact centres vs call centres is simple. If communication is available on multiple channels other than voice – it’s a contact centre.

(Video) Contact Center vs Call Center: What’s the Difference?

That said, there are other differences. Most contact centres are more advanced – allowing for improved functionality as opposed to call centres.

What Is A Contact Centre? The New Standard for CX

The current CX landscape is demanding. Now more than ever, customers expect to communicate with brands in a way that is highly accessible and more convenient than ever before. Contact centres are at the forefront of delivering stellar CX.

To keep up with customer demands, contact centre technology is constantly being improved to ensure a better, more streamlined customer experience.

Omnichannel Service Delivery

As mentioned, contact centres allow for communication across many different platforms. These platforms could include email, social media, instant messengers, text and web chat.

The ability to offer communications via multiple channels is called omnichannel service delivery. If a company uses an omnichannel contact centre solution, agents can easily receive customer communication via any channel.

With an omnichannel solution, companies can stay on top of customer communication, regardless of where customers choose to interact with them.

Comprehensive Customer Journey Tracking

In a traditional call centre setting, customer service agents had no way of tracking customer interactions with businesses. This led to unfavourable situations, where frustrated customers had to repeatedly explain their problems to oblivious service agents.

(Video) Contact Center vs. Call Center: Key Differences

Customers that don’t feel understood aren’t usually satisfied. This is why modern contact centre solutions track each user’s interactions with a business. Whenever a customer connects with a company, service agents are able to view a comprehensive history of previous times that particular customer contacted the business.

Agents can view information regarding the customer’s previous enquiries on the same issue and even see if a customer used multiple channels to communicate in the past. This means customers no longer need to repeatedly explain their issues to service agents.

Improved Self-service Options

Self-service options can go a long way in decreasing contact centre load while also improving efficiency.

IVR is perhaps the most well-known self-service option, seeing as voice traditionally dominated customer service centres. An IVR, or interactive voice response, is an automated telephony system where an artificial assistant interacts with callers. Customers can react to prompts, leading them to the correct service agent or department for their particular enquiry.

However, IVR as a self-service option is limited, as it only automates the process of routing calls correctly.

Modern self-service options include fully automated options, such as AI web chatbots and FAQ interfaces that can respond to common queries.

Many contact centre solutions are also able to track customer interactions with self-service channels. If self-service options fail to resolve a customer enquiry and it’s escalated to an agent, the agent will have access to see what self-service options a customer used before escalation.

(Video) Differences Between Call Center and Contact Center

Analytics for Proactive Customer Service

With enhanced customer tracking across a variety of digital channels, another important aspect of modern contact centres is the ability to offer proactive service.

Advanced analytics allows for companies to gain better insight into common customer queries and complaints – as well as other behaviours. One way this can be used for proactive customer service, is by offering answers to common questions through self-service options such as FAQ interfaces.

Another potential benefit of implementing proactive service based on analytics, is the ability to predict demand for agent skills and upskilling contact centre staff accordingly.

Advanced Automated Routing

Routing is an important aspect of ensuring prompt resolution of queries. Quite simply, correct routing directs customer queries to service agents most competent in dealing with them.

Automations for routing can be specified based on a number of guidelines, such as customer language preferences, or the category of a query based on its nature.

Remote Work Capabilities

Though not a standard expectation for contact centres yet, the ability for staff to work remotely is becoming increasingly important. While interest in remote work peaked as a result of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, crisis management isn’t the only reason to enable remote work.

Remote work offers exciting benefits. For instance, not being constrained to physical locations can help companies expand their talent pool for potential staff when looking to hire new agents.

(Video) Contact Center vs Call Center

Workforce Management

Workforce management, or WFM, is a way in which businesses can optimise their contact centres. This is done by analysing and then predicting contact centre workload. Once businesses are able to accurately predict workload, it’s easier to predict how many agents need to be available at different times.

While this might sound like a simple process, there are many factors that must be considered for efficient workforce management.

Firstly, not all service agents have the same skillsets. In a contact centre environment where agents have different skillsets, predicting the demand for specific skills is important in ensuring customer satisfaction.

Furthermore, contact centre load can also increase based on certain events – such as product launches, for instance.

Workforce management software (which can be integrated into modern contact centre solutions) uses AI and machine learning to accurately predict workload and calculate staffing requirements.

This allows workload to be distributed among agents in the most efficient way possible and takes the guessing work out of managing staff schedules.

Choosing A Contact Centre Solution

When it comes to contact centre requirements, every company is unique. Customers drive contact centre requirements, and customer profiles vary widely from one company to another. For instance, customer preferences dictate what channels a company will use to communicate with its customers. A business with a youthful customer base might communicate via channels such as Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp, whereas an older customer base might prefer voice, email and Facebook, for instance.

(Video) Call Center vs Contact Center

Another important aspect of determining contact centre requirements is complexity. Some companies can require more complex contact centres, seeing as they have different departments to deal with a variety of customer queries.

The ‘right’ contact centre solution for one business, might be the wrong solution for another. That said, an important consideration in choosing a good solution is scoping both current and future requirements. Based on these requirements, every company will be able to most accurately choose solutions catered to their specific needs.

FAQs

What is difference between call centre and contact centre? ›

A call center, as its name suggests, focuses on customer service over the phone. A contact center handles a variety of channels for customer service. For many companies, a contact center may be a better option.

What does contact center mean? ›

A contact center supports customer interactions across a range of channels, including phone calls, email, Web chat, Web collaboration, and the emerging adoption of social media interactions, and is distinct from telephony-only call centers.

What are the 3 types of call center? ›

The three most common types of call centers are inbound, outbound and blended call centers.

What are the two types of call center? ›

An inbound call center receives incoming calls from customers. Support teams typically monitor inbound centers since the calls tend to come from existing customers with issues or questions. An outbound call center, on the other hand, makes outgoing calls to shoppers.

What is contact center job description? ›

A Call Center Representative is in charge of answering customer calls, listening to their concerns and solving problems. They handle both inbound and outbound phone conversations with clients to make sure everyone quickly gets the help they need.

What are the 4 elements of contact center? ›

5 Crucial Contact Center Components
  • #1: Emphasis on Top-of-the-Line Phone Communications. ...
  • #2: Capacity for Email and Text-based Communications. ...
  • #3: Cutting-edge Technology: Hardware, Software and Security. ...
  • #4: Tech-savvy IT Personnel and Customer-friendly Agents. ...
  • #5: Data Tracking, Reporting and Performance Monitoring.
29 Aug 2019

What is the work of contact center? ›

By definition, call centers are places where agents work to answer customers' questions and solve their problems over the phone or via other means of communication. Agents may ask customers questions, take orders, or arrange things like insurance.

What's another name for a call center? ›

Another Name for a Call Centre

Contact Centre. Customer Centre. Customer Support Centre. Customer Service Centre.

What makes a call center? ›

A call center (sometimes called a contact center) is a department, office, or team that handles incoming telephone calls from new and existing customers looking for answers to their questions or solutions to their problems. In the past, call centers even carried out telemarketing and conducted market research.

What are the 3 most difficult things about working in a call center? ›

What Are The Most Difficult Things About Working In A Call Center...
  • Outdated technology‍ Behind the scenes, contact center agents often play a juggling act between disparate backend systems. ...
  • Pressure to perform‍ Everyone faces pressure from above. ...
  • Internal policy‍

How do I describe my call center experience on a resume? ›

Call Center Resume Skills
  1. Outstanding Communication Skills. ...
  2. Learning Proficiency. ...
  3. Problem-Solving and Troubleshooting. ...
  4. Close Attention to Detail. ...
  5. Strong Organizational Skills. ...
  6. Empathy. ...
  7. Ability to Stay Calm in Emergencies. ...
  8. Persuasive Selling.
12 Apr 2022

What are the five pillars of contact centre? ›

The 5 Pillars of the Modern Contact Center
  • Omnichannel Capabilities that Makes Customer Service Seamless. Today's customers communicate across channels and platforms. ...
  • On-Demand Self-Service Model for Customers. ...
  • Advanced Tools for Agents to Provide Better Support. ...
  • AI & Predictive Analytics. ...
  • Scalable Infrastructure.
31 Mar 2020

What makes a great contact centre? ›

The top attributes of a good contact centre

Ensuring customer loyalty is all about process. Create a seamless experience for your customers from first engagement, through the sales process and into after-care, and your business will reap the benefits of a loyal and satisfied customer base.

What makes a contact center successful? ›

The building blocks of a successful call center are well-known: (1) The team that makes the work happen, (2) the technology that supports them, and (3) the customers they interact with.

What is the job title of someone who works in a call centre? ›

Alternative titles for this job include Contact centre operator, call centre assistant. Call centre operators answer enquiries from customers by telephone, email, webchat, text and post.

What are people who work at call centers called? ›

Other names for Call Centre Agent include:
  • Associate.
  • Officer.
  • Communications Professional.
  • Customer Account Manager.
  • Customer Advocate.
  • Customer Experience Advisor.
  • Customer Champion.
  • Customer Service Representative (CSR)
11 Jan 2017

What is your job title at a call center? ›

A Call Center Representative, or Call Center Agent, takes calls from customers answering questions or addressing any concerns they may have. Their duties include handling many inbound and outbound calls to and from customers, listening to customers needs or issues and providing helpful solutions to their problems.

How do you run a contact center? ›

How do you effectively manage a call center?
  1. Hire the best employees. ...
  2. Provide comprehensive training and onboarding. ...
  3. Cultivate a coaching culture. ...
  4. Communicate with employees regularly. ...
  5. Ensure proper scheduling. ...
  6. Balance workflow to meet demand. ...
  7. Use data to make sound decisions. ...
  8. Use call monitoring tools.

What skills do call centers need? ›

Let's face it: being a call centre agent is a tough job.
...
What attributes should a call centre agent have?
  • Tenacity. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Process oriented. ...
  • Problem-solving personality. ...
  • Good communications skills. ...
  • Genuine empathy. ...
  • Consultation.
27 Aug 2020

What is your weakness Best Answer call center? ›

I am a team player, and I get along with people very well. Those are my strengths. As for my weaknesses, I guess my biggest weakness is working too much and not knowing when to stop. I would say that this is a weakness because sometimes, I would render too much over time that it becomes detrimental to my health.

What is the biggest challenge in call center? ›

Table of contents
  • Common call center problems and solutions in 2022/2023. Lack of engagement. ...
  • Tools to identify contact center problems.
  • Challenge #1: Poor customer satisfaction. ...
  • Challenge #2: High agent attrition. ...
  • Challenge #3: Lack of budget. ...
  • Challenge #4: IT issues. ...
  • Challenge #5: Low employee morale. ...
  • The LiveVox solution.
4 Sept 2022

What are the most common call center interview questions? ›

Classic call centre interview questions include:
  • do you have any experience in a call centre?
  • why do you want to work for us as a customer service advisor?
  • do you enjoy communicating with people?
  • how would you deal with an irate customer on the phone?
  • how would you tell a customer something that they will not like?

Is contact center a BPO? ›

Call Center is mainly focused on resolving customer's queries, it is a subset of a BPO company and usually involves only phone work. BPO on the other hand, includes Call Center in its services and other outsourced back-office tasks.

What is the role of call center? ›

A Call Center Representative, or Call Center Agent, takes calls from customers answering questions or addressing any concerns they may have. Their duties include handling many inbound and outbound calls to and from customers, listening to customers needs or issues and providing helpful solutions to their problems.

What are the 4 key features of a contact center? ›

Contact center evolution is explored through four key features, identifying how contact centers have changed through the past, present and future.
  • Technology. Where contact centers were. ...
  • Communications channels. Where contact centers were. ...
  • Self-service. ...
  • Data analysis.
19 Jul 2016

What is the difference between CSR and BPO? ›

A Customer Service Representative is a person employed to answer the customer, either by phone or by instant messaging, social media or by email. Customer service representatives may also be called contact centre advisors or call centre agents. A CSR meaning BPO are the frontline staff in the call or contact centre.

What are the branches of call center? ›

Types of call centers
  • Inbound call centers. An inbound call center receives calls coming into the company. ...
  • Outbound call centers. ...
  • Automated call centers. ...
  • Multichannel call centers. ...
  • Omnichannel call centers. ...
  • Virtual call centers.

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