“Do I need a call center or contact center to handle client interactions in the company?” This question is quite popular among the customer service management, as it may seem that those terms are used reciprocally.
However, some differences between a call center and a contact center are essential to understand while creating an efficient customer experience. Call centers used to be the best way to communicate with clients, but new technologies have now changed the way many organizations provide customer service.
In this article, we will tell more about the competition between call centers vs. contact centers and their core peculiarities and business applications.
What’s a call center: definition and peculiarities
A call center is a department that manages inbound and outbound customer interactions. Inbound calls handle inquiries about service and products, finances, and technical support, whereas outbound calls target fundraising, debt collection, and customer retention. Call center service can be located within a company or outsourced to a professional provider, like WOW 24-7.
Call centers rely only on phone calls to communicate with customers. As conversations happen in real-time, they are often energy-consuming for the agent. There is only one way to deal with peak volume hours – hiring more professionals. Running a large team can be expensive, though, if you want to provide salaries and perks for the agents.
Modern SaaS call center software uses automatic distributors to direct incoming calls to the correct department, asking the client about the problem first. It helps agents improve their efficiency by having a valuable way to track and analyze their performance.
Workforce management is the main difference between a contact and a call center. Call center support services need to recruit more employees to keep up with the increase in incoming calls during a seasonal workload. Keeping a sufficient number of agents on call can be challenging, as they must change during the year. However, by expanding the channels and making them available as needed, call centers can handle more customers without the urge to hire additional agents.
Most call centers use Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems to provide customers with efficient self-service and analyze various data to improve customer experience. Despite the traditional call center approach, clients of different ages prefer phone interaction when solving service-related problems. However, having the possibility to handle the issue without the agent’s help makes the lives of customers easier.
Call centers can be applied in sales telemarketing industries and while solving technical support. It is an excellent choice for businesses where customers prefer a traditional communication channel. These companies usually include financial services, non-profit, and manufacturing organizations.
What’s a contact center?
A contact center is a department where customer service is managed across multiple channels, such as live chat, phone, social media, and chatbot. Customer-facing agents use contact center software as a united platform to manage interactions received through different channels.
Contact centers can develop more detailed customer profiles by combining data from various channels through which a client has contacted the company. These improved client profiles open the way to advances in predictive help, which contributes to a more efficient customer experience (CX).
Omnichannel queue management is a feature of contact center software that allows route customer questions from various channels easily. Modern cloud contact center software has comprehensive queue management capabilities that prevent chat interactions or emails from routing to busy agents. Contact centers use computerization to direct tickets based on keywords, previous customer inquiries, and agent abilities to shorten customer resolution time and provide an excellent experience.
Compared to having the phone as the only communication channel in a call center, using several channels allows companies to scale customer experience without recruiting more employees. Agents in the contact center can handle multiple chats and email interactions at the same time. It enables them to provide quick problem resolutions and maintain a high level of customer service even during peak periods.
In contact centers, a chatbot can be integrated into a self-service platform. Customers can immediately turn to a chatbot with their problems if they read a solution article and cannot find an answer on their own. If the chatbot cannot fix the problem, an agent can intervene and provide a solution. Customers can still have an efficient experience because the agent is aware of the problem, which is recorded as a ticket or a chat box in the contact center software.
Contact centers are used to provide multichannel customer support outsourcing and relationship management. Experienced digital professionals, who want to deliver a connected experience through different communications channels, choose this type of center. Therefore, contact centers find applications in the education, travel, healthcare, and hospitality industries.
Both call centers and contact centers provide unique benefits for different companies. The main call center and the contact center difference is that a call center specializes in receiving and answering customer calls. In contrast, a contact center handles client interactions through various channels. Contact centers usually employ more agents than call centers because they can perform other commercial or administrative activities. They involve analyzing customer data and providing self-service options to customers. Depending on your business’ needs and customers’ inclinations, you can determine who wins in a contact center vs. call center battle.
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