Call Center vs Contact Center – 1 Simple Difference
- Contact Center
- BY Eddie
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Call center vs contact center, what are the differences? When you think of contact centers, do you automatically assume that they are the same as a call center, just named differently? If your answer to this is yes, I am sorry to say that you are wrong. Yes, they both have similarities. I.e., they are
Call center vs contact center, what are the differences? When you think of contact centers, do you automatically assume that they are the same as a call center, just named differently? If your answer to this is yes, I am sorry to say that you are wrong. Yes, they both have similarities. I.e., they are both for customer service, and they both involve phone calls.
Only the people that are directly involved in the industry are likely to know what the differences are. However, if they have never worked in both, then even they may not know. Therefore, in this article, we are going to take a look at what those differences are.
Call Center Vs Contact Center
The main difference between a call center and contact center is that a call center focuses on both inbound and outbound calls, while a contact center is designed to handle other electronic forms of communication. That does not mean that one is better than the other, though. It just means that they are set up for different things, targeting different people who have specific requirements.
When you think about the different demographics of people, you will see that there are a lot of ways that people like and dislike communicating. In the days of switchboards and the like, there were only two types of communication available. Writing a letter and using an operator to make a phone call to talk to someone. For people raised in those times, and some others, speaking directly to a person, on the phone, is the preferred way of communication.
Now, with the revolution of the internet and electronic communication, things have changed. There are a lot of people who do not like talking directly to someone over the phone. That is where the different requirements come into play, and contact centers aim to fill that void.
Call Center Vs Contact Center – Phones First
With operators working in switchboards being the initial starting place for mass phone contact, it was only natural for the industry to move into call centers. And that has worked very well for many years. It still works very well today with the right planning. So well, that even with the appearance of contact centers, I see no slowing down for the need for call centers. There are two main categories into which a call center will fall:
- On-Site Call Center. – On-site call centers are all based in the same offices as the main section of the business. All of the hardware, routers, and servers are in the same building, with dedicated employees using and maintaining them.
- Off-Site Call Center. – Usually, a cloud-hosted service, off-site call centers are maintained and ran by the service providers themselves, not the company that uses them. That leaves you and your company free to run your business without having to take extra time and resources out for the upkeep of the call center too. Much like outsourcing QA, off-site call centers are becoming more common, and it is likely that eventually, there will be no on-site call centers at all.
Either way, both of the above categories of call center work predominantly with phone calls. They are ideally suited for the people who would rather speak to someone on the phone instead of any other means. That leads us to the next question. What is a contact center?
Call Center Vs Contact Center – Initial Contact
The development of contact centers have, in more recent years, had the “new-age” people in mind. They are people who use technology a lot, and would rather not sit on the phone talking. They would rather have other ways of communication instead of phone lines.
Contact centers have been developed to incorporate electronic means of communication, such as emails, web chat services, cellphone texts, forums, and social media interactions. They are often available for more extended periods than a call center. Even when there is no operator on the other end of the communication, you can provide your query at any time of the day or night and get the response when an agent becomes available.
They are particularly useful for very busy people and on computers for extended lengths of time. Myself for one, I am a massive fan of using web-based chat services. They allow me to open a webchat window, type my question, go back to work, and then get notified when an agent responds to me. Whereas, while on the phone on hold, I feel unable to work until the call has ended. Also, web-based chats, emails, and other electronic communications allow you to see what the operator has written, keep records, and send links if you need to giving you a chance to re-read answers without having to ask for them again.
At first glance, there is little difference between a call center and contact center. However, when you dive into the facts, you can see that there is a dividing line between the two. However, one thing to note is that the more call centers that cross over into the cloud-based category, the more they will start to integrate contact center principles. That dividing line will probably blur until it is not there anymore. However, there will still be a requirement for both of the categories, their skills, and their abilities.