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' needs.

Articles published November 21, 2019 by Bobbie Jo Barry

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 different channels. Omnichannel platforms, like the one Aureon utilizes, are capable of handling voice calls, emails, chats, and social media.

Contact centers function as a direct extension of the client, and their employees are expected to be subject matter experts who can speak to their products or services with authority.

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. It’s also about 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.

When it comes to customer service, provide it by whatever means are necessary.

Customer experience over customer service

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.

Remember, the goal is for the employees of the call center or contact center to be indistinguishable from the members of your own staff. 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.

About The Author

Bobbie Jo Barry

Bobbie Jo Barry has more than 19 years of contact center experience in multiple areas, including designing client facing solutions, managing day to day operations of two contact centers, leading workforce management and contact center managers to success, managing client relationships, and provid ... read more

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