What is the Difference Between a Contact Center and a Call Center?

Understanding the difference between a contact center and a call center can help determine which customer service provider is best suited to your business's needs.

Articles published November 21, 2019

omnichannel contact center

The importance of customer service cannot be understated. More specifically, providing quality customer service is important. Because no matter what your product or service is, you’re in the business of building relationships. Customer service — or rather, the customer’s experience — is foundational to those relationships and essential to building brand loyalty.

If you are outsourcing your customer service to a third party, you are trusting them to serve as your brand ambassadors. But what exactly are you looking for in a third-party provider? Are you in need of a call center? Or do your needs better align with a contact center?

Is there a difference? Yes, and distinguishing between the two services can help you determine which type of customer service provider best serves the needs of your business.

What is a call center?

Call centers are true to their name. Their focus is on handling incoming and outgoing voice calls for their client companies. The level of service provided will vary from client to client but can range from customer service and billing inquiries to tech and product support.

Call centers can function as a cost-effective sales team, conducting telemarketing calls. They can also assist in fraud prevention, following up with customers on purchases and transactions. Companies have also been known to use call centers for information-gathering purposes. Call centers can reach out to customers and present them with a brief survey.

What is a contact center?

Contact centers serve a similar purpose to call centers, but the breadth of their services is greater. Whereas call centers are limited to voice calls, contact centers provide flexible support options across a variety of channels. 

A multi-channel solution, like the one Aureon utilizes, is capable of handling customer communication through their preferred channel, whether voice calls, emails, chats, or social media.

Offering multiple channels makes it easier for a customer to contact you at their convenience. If a potential customer prefers to speak over the phone, that option should be available to them. If they’d rather chat online while visiting your website, afford them that opportunity.

Being able to chat conveniently with a representative about a product or service can frequently be the difference for a customer who is on the fence about making a purchase. If you are a business that offers your customer multiple points of contact, you need representatives who can field inquiries from each of those avenues. 

Another benefit of contact centers is that they function as a direct extension of the client. Contact center representatives are expected to be subject matter experts who can speak to their client’s products or services with authority.

Consider the Customer Experience

Call centers and contact centers are both in the business of providing customer service, but your priority should be the customer experience. When weighing whether to partner with a call center or a contact center, consider which service is best equipped to meet and even exceed the expectations of your customers. Contact centers, with their larger scope of services, may have more capacity to provide efficient and reliable customer support and a truly first-class customer experience.

Remember, the goal is for the employees of the call center or contact center to be indistinguishable from the members of your in-house team. If you’re not completely comfortable with a service provider, you can’t expect your customers to be, either.

Ready to partner with a contact center or a call center? Connect with Aureon and connect with customer service solutions.