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Know the Difference between Call Center and Contact Center

15 October 2021

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The call center is a department that serves incoming and outgoing customer calls. Call center agents to become customer service representatives who handle customer inquiries. It usually also provides other services such as remote marketing, billing, and other customer-related functions. Call center operations can be in-house or outsourced to vendors or external partners who are experts in their fields.

Meanwhile, the contact center is a department that handles incoming and outgoing customer interactions. Like call center services, contact centers operate within the organization or can be outsourced to partners. However, the difference is that contact center agents interact with customers through various channels, such as messages, telephone, applications, text, email, social media, and the web.

Communication channel used
Historically, a call center was a service designed to serve as many customers as possible in the shortest time possible through a single channel, namely voice calls. In many cases, customers call the business the last resort. In contrast, contact centers are designed with the understanding that customers expect fast responses, personalized interactions, and timely results from the channel of their choice. So, the main difference between the two lies in the customer service channel used.

However, adding more channels to a call center does not make it a contact center. The contact center is the central point for managing all customer contacts. This requires coordination and integration of human resources (HR), processes, and technology across the business. Contact center agents, for example, need to be trained on the best practices of each channel to increase customer engagement.

Information about problems facing customers
The call center is a customer service that focuses on answering incoming requests as the only means of communicating with customers. This makes the call center only able to collect various information about the problems faced by customers based on incoming calls that are not necessarily comprehensive.

On the other hand, the contact center is more integrated with the help of software and history from various channels. This factor allows agents to maximally know the specific problems or complaints of each customer so that they can solve problems easily.

Implementation of self-service procedures
Most call centers and contact centers use automation through Interactive Voice Response (IVR). IVR is a feature of an automated business phone system that interacts with callers and gathers information by giving them choices via menus. IVR performs actions based on the caller's response via a telephone keypad or voice response.

Both use IVR, the difference is that the call center has an IVR design that tends to be complicated so that customers cannot easily talk to agents directly. Meanwhile, contact centers design IVR with brands and customers in mind which helps predict caller intent and directs it to the best agent. Sometimes, the needs of the caller can also be resolved without human contact.

Implementation of self-service procedures is also provided at the contact center via keyword-based two-way text messages or by chatbots. Regardless of the method used, the implementation of this self-service procedure serves to reduce the time agents spend on the phone thereby minimizing costs and waiting time.

Access to customer profile data
Both contact centers and call centers are services that can track customer profile data collected from each time a customer contacts your business. However, the digital channels used by the contact center make it much simpler, not to mention the software used can collect all customer data from all channels into one customer display.
All that customer profile data is used by businesses to offer predictive services or suggest new products.

Compared to call centers, contact centers generate more data thanks to the use of multiple channels. Your business can provide outstanding service during interactions with customers because various customer data are available every time a customer connects to the company's contact center.

Easy routing to the right agent
The last difference between a call center and a contact center is the ease of routing to the right agent. Directing customers to the most appropriate agent is done by utilizing various customer information obtained from each channel.

Call centers can actually direct customers to the most appropriate agent, but contact centers are easier to do this routing because of the use of software that pulls data from various channels, making it easier for the contact center to predict the destination of calls, texts, webchats, and so on.
All customers don't want to spend extra time explaining their problem, so it's important for your business to make sure the customer is connected to the right agent for faster troubleshooting. In this case, the contact center is superior because its software allows business routes to be faster and more accurate.

By now, you have learned that a call center is a department that handles incoming and outgoing customer calls, while a contact center is a department that handles incoming and outgoing customer interactions through multiple channels. Both are equally important to support your business's customer service. To make it more optimal, equip your contact center agent with customer service support software such as those made by VADS Indonesia.

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