What’s the difference between Contact Centers and Call Centers? If you find your business is in the market to revamp how it interacts with customers, knowing the differences (and similarities) between the two types can be important.

A simplistic view of how they are different would be this:

  • A Call Center deals just with voice calls, whether inbound or outbound.
  • A Contact Center can be set up to handle voice calls, but it also allows for communications through other channels, such as SMS, email, chat, and social platforms.

Both offer benefits and have a place in today’s business climate.

So What More Does A Contact Center Do?

A few examples may help to underscore just how powerful a Contact Center can be:

  1. Let’s say a customer is having big-time trouble on an eCommerce website when she is actually trying to place an order. If Contact Center software is installed and enabled, it can alert an agent that someone is having trouble. This will prompt the agent to hop on the website chat platform and start a conversation with the customer. And if the customer picks up the phone because she is too frustrated to continue with the site, the right Contact Center platform will give the agent all the information they need to get up to speed as quickly as possible, including who the customer is and what problems they are having.
  2. When a customer calls their health insurance company and enters their member ID, often times if they are transferred, the next agent asks for all that information all over again. That’s extremely frustrating. The right Contact Center solution passes the member information to the agent before they even pick of the phone.

Contact Center features are endless. If you can think of a customer scenario, we can think of a way that a Contact Center can improve the customer experience. And they’re not just beneficial for customers. Here are some ways in which a Contact Center platform can help out a business:

  1. Manage employee schedules and tune them according to past analytical data, sick time, vacation, etc.
  2. Evaluate and score agents based on myriad data points. This can include call abandonment rate, customer satisfaction, and average call time.
  3. Predictively dial mass numbers of people, and compute on the fly how many calls to send out in relation to how many agents will be available.
  4. Completely automate the transaction. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solutions, like those provided by DiRAD, front-end call centers so that many calls never make it to the agent. If the customer can be helped by automation and they’re happy, you just saved a boatload of money on the most expensive component to running a customer service operation: people.

With all the functionality, tracking, and monitoring that a Contact Center offers, you can be sure that you will have access to access to a ton of new and useful data, both on customers and employees. Often times we hear that after switching to a robust Contact Center, a company generates more data than they used to get in a year. They can be set up to collect information such as:

  1. Who is calling or reaching out
  2. How often they contact you
  3. Reasons for each contact
  4. How long each interaction took
  5. How happy they were before the call and after the call
  6. Where they are calling from

This data is extremely valuable to a company looking to maximize the caller experience (CX).

How Else Are Contact Centers & Call Centers Alike?

In addition to both being able to handle inbound and outbound calls, there are other similarities between the two communication solutions. An important one is that both Contact Centers and Call Centers can be outsourced. If your business does not have the expertise, resources, or care to house a Call Center or Contact Center, it can partner with experts in the communications industry to provide your clients with a complete and effective customer journey.

My Call Center Works For Me – Do I Need To Upgrade To A Contact Center?

Sometimes, all you need is a Call Center solution. If your customers don’t regularly utilize channels like SMS, email, and chat set up, for whatever reason, then a Call Center is a perfect option. Someday you may find that you need more, but for now, you should be okay. If you are not sure, it would be a great time to survey your customers to see what their preference is in communicating with your business.

The bells and whistles a robust contact center offers may not provide the best return for you. It is best to evaluate your unique business resources, needs, size, and customer preferences before deciding to upgrade your call center. If you want to discuss whether a Call Center or a Contact Center is right for you, send us a note or give us a call at (518) 438-6000.

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