Contact Center vs. Call Center: What are the Differences?

There’s an increase in demand, specifically for large businesses and corporate enterprise organizations, for an easy and reliable solution to centralize communication channels and client touchpoints into one location. Contact centers are on the rise as a viable solution to provide what is known as omnichannel client support. However, they may not be the best solution for your business. Let’s discuss.

There is a misconception that contact centers are significantly different from a traditional call center. However, there are only a few differences. The end game for both is to meet any client’s communication needs efficiently and affordably.

The terms contact center and call center are frequently used interchangeably. This is a matter of semantics. They essentially do the same thing, which is to enhance customer service and support.

Contact centers have emerged in the past few decades as communication centers that encompass every communication channel, hence the term omnichannel.

Contact Centers and Call Centers are both used for customer service and involve answering calls. Depending on the telephony platform, call centers like AnswerPro can provide the same benefits as a contact center but is much more affordable.

What is a Contact Center?

Contact centers provide customer support through automated chatbots, which has unfortunately replaced the human connection and personal customer interaction.

The best way to describe a contact center is as a call center that handles a wide variety of digital communication channels and telephone support. They often have support for SMS, Live Chat, Web Portal for on-call reporting, and call tracking — just like AnswerPro offers.

Both can assist businesses with improving their ability to communicate in real-time. This helps in maintaining a high level of customer support across a variety of channels.

Contact centers can acquire and store massive amounts of data. However, many industries have been slow to make the switch from call centers to contact centers. Centralized communication centers are still reasonably new, so some enterprise businesses and other large organizations still see call centers as a better solution for their needs.

What is a Call Center?

Call Centers primarily focus on phone call channels that are staffed with live agents. This way, the human connection isn’t lost, and agents can provide efficient, personalized service and support. Using advanced call center technology such as Amtelco, call centers can manage heavy call volume just as a contact center does.

A call center primarily handles both inbound and outbound calls. This two-way option enables businesses to communicate with customers, leads, or even in-house staff.

There are two main types of technologies powering call centers, and they are:

  • VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is the perfect example of a new technology that uses different equipment. Specifically, VoIP call centers rely on an Internet connection only, rather than a strong cellular connection. This lets the VoIP call centers establish different locations and use remote agents.
  • PBX (Private Branch Exchange) is typically found within a traditional call center and relies on hardware (desk phones and wires) to function. However, this option can only work if set up in an office.

One of the best things about using a call center is that it can become a professional first point of contact for any business, such as medical facilities, contractors, emergency responders, and other companies requiring 24-hour support.

Benefits of Contact Centers & Call Centers

Below, we are listing the benefits of both Contact Centers and Call Centers. As mentioned before, both of these options offer viable solutions to optimize customer service.

Benefits of a Contact Center

  • Data Mining: Contact centers typically store more data compared to call centers. Data mining allows clients to have visibility to detailed information about potential leads and prospects. Details can include demographics, socioeconomic status, address, email, phone number, etc. Data mining is used to support extensive marketing campaigns because of the level of detail that can be gathered.
  • Improved Customer Satisfaction: Centralized client communication through multiple digital channels. This is where contact centers excel and can provide a high level of customer service. The result is reduced wait time and quicker response to service issues.
  • Effective Support for Marketing and Promotion: As briefly mentioned above, an omnichannel contact center offers more flexibility for marketing campaigns than a call center. If your company launches a new campaign, they can acquire more information and build a prospect list of those interested in your promotion, product, or service.

Benefits of a Call Center

  • Ability to Handle High Call Volume: Call centers are equipped to handle high call volume. They are typically staffed with a blend of in-house and remote call agents. With VoIP technology, call centers can bring a more responsive customer support level, including enhanced business continuity.
  • More Affordable Than Contact Centers: Traditionally, the types of tools and functions in a call center is narrower than in a contact center. That being said, a call center is a popular option for smaller businesses that require slightly less functionality.
  • Less Risk: The use of VoIP technology enables effective call taking outside of traditional phone lines. Internet connectivity provides more flexibility, and there are no IT skills that are required to set up. In general, business communications are easier to handle, offer less risk of missing calls, and you’re able to improve your customer service level by offering a human connection.
  • Access to Call Analytics: Call Centers can easily track the history of calls and the steps taken for message delivery and dispatch. This data is usually visible through custom reports which AnswerPro offers.

Does My Business Need a Call Center or a Contact Center?

This is a common question that many owners and managers want to know the answer to. While contact centers are typically more hi-tech than call centers, both of these solutions cater to different groups, especially in the corporate world.

For instance, call centers are perfect for remote teams because they work with VoIP systems that are ideal for office, home, or co-working spaces. When employees have autonomy in terms of where they work, a system like this is excellent, especially in an era where everyone is embracing remote work.

On the other hand, a contact center is best for mid to large businesses. Since call centers primarily focus on inbound and outbound call services, contact centers can help large companies support their clients across multiple platforms. They can also store more data about potential leads and existing clients. Also, call distribution is more effective, and customer service is usually better when it is part of an omnichannel environment.

Final Thoughts

Contact centers and call centers have more things in common than they have differences. Both are meant to serve customers and help them resolve issues, give answers, and deliver excellent customer service.

AnswerPro provides the best of all three of these worlds from contact center services, call center solutions and even traditional answering services. Fully customizable and affordable.

The decision to enlist a call center’s support or a contact center for your business is always yours. However, you should know that the focus should always be on human interaction rather than chatbots and that your customers expect you to help them across a variety of channels and platforms.

AnswerPro gives you various options to communicate with your callers, including SMS, email, secure medical messaging, and many other channels. We are unequivocally the best solution to assist you in scaling your business.

Contact Center and Call Center Solutions

As we said before, the decision between choosing a call center or a contact center is entirely yours to make. Generally speaking, call centers deliver a better ROI than contact centers because they provide virtually the same service offerings that are much more affordable.

For more information on how we can help and become your front line of support, contact us today via phone or email!

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