Contact Center vs. Call Center: What’s the Difference?

While many people use the terms ‘contact center’ and ‘call center’ interchangeably, there are a few key differences that set them apart. In this contact center vs call center comparison, we explore those differences.

Both contact centers and call centers are dedicated to customer service. Providing a great customer service experience is one of the most important aspects of your business. According to research from Talkdesk, customer expectations continue to rise. Your business needs to offer the right kind of customer service to keep your customers happy.

Keep reading and learn more about the distinctions between these two customer service options so you can choose what is best for your brand.

Key Takeaways

  • Call centers only use phone support while contact centers use a variety of communication platforms.
  • Data shows customers still use phone calls as the most common method to contact customer service.
  • Contact centers are a more modern approach to customer service and let customers communicate with businesses on their terms.
  • Choosing the right customer service option is crucial to customer satisfaction.

What Is a Call Center?

A call center is a traditional customer service center that relies solely on phone support. Call center agents receive incoming support calls and may also make outbound calls to continue customer service requests. Agents might also provide support for telemarketing, debt collecting, and billing.

Most call centers are large office spaces filled with cubicles. Each agent has an assigned station with a headset and continually takes calls throughout the day. However, some call centers have transitioned to home office settings.

In a call center, management will look at KPIs such as the average hold time, length of call, and how many calls were resolved. The goal of many call center agents is to quickly resolve as many issues as they can.

Call centers have some unique benefits:

  • Ability to handle a high volume of calls
  • Offer reliable phone connection
  • Affordable support option
  • Ideal for small businesses
  • Can be in an office or remote setting
  • Access to voice analytics

What Is a Contact Center?

A contact center is the modern iteration of a call center. It offers customers a wide range of communication options including phone support, live chat, email, SMS, and social media communication.

This type of customer support is usually preferred by most modern customers and is used by many businesses, especially those with omnichannel experiences.

However, the 2020 Contact Center Satisfaction Index shows that most customers still use phone calls as the most popular way to contact customer service.

Phone calls are still the most popular contact method for customer service

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Contact centers also have some benefits over a call center:

  • Ability to gather more data
  • Create a log of all customer interactions from all types of communication
  • Contact center software offers a complete view of the customer’s information
  • Customers get a personalized service experience through their preferred communication method

Key Differences: Contact Center vs. Call Center

While the main job of contact centers and call centers is to support customers, they go about it differently. Here are some of the key differences between these types of customer support centers.

1. Types of Communication 

Call centers rely solely on phone calls to support customers, while a contact center uses a wide range of communications options like email, text chat, and phone.

2. Types of Agents 

Depending on the call center, the agents may only accept inbound calls. Some call centers also place outbound calls with “blended agents” managing both types of calls.

In a contact center, agents specialize in one type of communication, such as text chat, or theymanage all types of communication. Contact centers may also use AI chatbots to support some customer concerns.

3. Types of Technology 

Since call centers only use phone communication, they don’t have as many technology resources as a contact center. Call centers rely on technology like PSTN and VoIP telephony. They also likely use a computer customer interface to keep track of customer data and call information.

In a contact center, they will also use the phone technology in a call center while adding email, text chat, fax, and web calling capabilities. Some contact centers also use automated self-service options and RPA technology for customers, including chatbots.

4. Purpose 

The main purpose of call centers and contact centers is customer support. However, call centers usually serve as a last resort option for customers since they may have to navigate through confusing phone menus and wait in long phone queues. In contrast, contact centers are focused on personalized service, quick responses, and fast results through whatever channel the customer chooses.

Contact centers typically focus more on the quality of the service rather than how many customers they can respond to each day. Because of this, they will use different performance metrics than a call center.

This video offers a clear example of the differences between a call center and a contact center.

Choosing the Right Customer Service Solutions

Offering top-notch customer service is critical to the success of your business. Happy customers give you more of their business and are more willing to share their positive experiences with others. Recent data shows that 77% of consumers have shared a positive brand experience with friends, family, or online.

77% of consumers have shared a positive brand experience online or with someone.

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Making it easy for your customers to contact you and responding to them quickly is a simple way to keep your customers satisfied. You need to compare the benefits of each type of customer service center and decide whether a call center or a contact center is the best fit for your business.

Expand Your Customer Service Options with Televerde

Giving your customers as many support options as you can helps them feel more satisfied and will help you be more successful. If you are ready to add more customer support to your business plan, Televerde is here to support you.

We are experts in customer service solutions and would love to partner with you. We have been reinventing the customer lifecycle for over 25 years.

Excited to learn more?  Click here to see if outsourcing your contact center is right for your business. 

Contact us today to learn how to get started.

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