Call center and contact center sound similar, however, their functions and purposes are very different. Without further ado, let’s break down the differences between the two!
A call center is a business that employees agents to handle inbound and/or outbound phone calls.
Call centers usually integrate an IVR system in order to save money, increase productivity, expand call capacity, and stop missing calls. The call center industry is changing with emerging trends like omnichannel communications, therefore, having tools like an IVR system will help your business adapt easily.
A contact center will handle business communication between a customer and a business. The business is able to use the contact center to handle the communication with their customers, so they can focus their time on other tasks. This communication would include phone calls, emails, chatbots and social media. In fact, since contact center agents have many forms of communication the managers prefer to use VoIP calls because they are inexpensive, scalable to company size, and offer flexibility that other phone systems can’t offer.
The main difference between a call center and a contact center is the methods used for communication and the customer experience. While one tends to focus more on quantity, another focuses more on quality. Let’s get into the 6 main differences between call centers and contact centers to better understand the benefits and downsides.
Call centers’ only form of communication is through phone calls. Agents at the call centers answer calls on behalf of another company and then relay that information to the company who hired them.
Contact centers have many forms of communication, including: chatbots, phone calls, emails, SMS, social media, etc.
While call center agents are required to handle inbound and outbound calls, a contact center must be able to handle all forms of communication. Both positions require fast learners and the ability to work in a fast paced environment, however, much more skills are needed to work in a contact center.
Agents of contact centers will be more selective because they don’t typically focus on quantity of calls, they focus on quality of communication in all forms.
Call center agents are in much higher demand because the centers need many agents to handle the call volume. Also, many call centers have software that helps conduct the call, by providing scripts, and instructions. Therefore, the agents need less skill sets for this type of position.
Automation is incredibly valuable to both a call center and a contact center. By using automation the agents are able to focus their attention on time sensitive tasks, while still getting daily tasks done like sending out pre-recorded voicemails.
Call centers will typically use automated dialer software, because that helps the agents to make calls, take calls, set appointments, make notes, and send information quickly. This type of software automates the tedious daily tasks in order to maximize the agent’s time and increase efficiency.
Contact centers will use omni-channel contact center software like a power dialer with click-to-call and an integrated CRM. This would allow the agent to automate responses and answer questions in many channels of communication. Having automation software for a contact center is key to freeing up the agents time to give a better customer experience.
Contact centers have the advantages to give better customer experience because they have multiple forms of communications, they have software that creates detailed customer information profiles, and the agents know how to serve the customers better based on the data they have on the person.
With the newest types of call center technology there are built in tools, so management can observe and teach the agents. For instance, most power dialers offer silent monitoring and whisper coaching. Those allow the manager to listen in on calls and even speak with the agent during a live call. Another notable management tool is reports created by power dialers. Reports are automatically created based on the criteria that you wish for the monitor or measure. Having these reports helps you understand what is working and what is it, so you can make a plan geared towards your goal.
The KPI’s can vary depending on whether or not its a call center or contact center but here are a few general ones that most businesses used in the telecommunication industry:
Some metrics are harder to measure than others simply because there aren’t numbers to indicate the success rate. In situations where KPI’s cannot be measured by numbers, having quality assurance teams, customer surveys, and calls disposition according to the agent, will need to be used.
As with any business, you will face difficulties in running a call center. One difficulty is being bombarded with excessive tools and technology in order to turn your call center into a contact center. Luckily, there is a cloud-based Telephone Answering Service solution that combines every product into one!