What’s the Difference Between a Contact Center and a Call Center?

Many professionals use the terms “call center” and “contact center” interchangeably. However, there is a world of difference between the two. Having the right type of center for your business can dramatically improve your level of customer service and your ability to reduce customer turnover.

Call Centers Based on Old Technology

Call centers have been around since the 1960s. They are spaces where trained customer service agents field incoming calls and work to provide immediate solutions to customers. Many call centers are still using automatic phone call routing systems that still function the same way as these systems did twenty and thirty years ago.

Some call centers do use more advanced software to handle call routing and customer service management, but the function of the call center is still to handle incoming customer complaints.

Contact Centers Optimized for the Future

Contact centers are the next generation in customer support and service. These centers offer multi-channel support, meaning they can handle incoming phone calls, online chat, and other digital options.

They are more flexible than call centers and can offer proactive customer support and not just reactive customer service.

How Contact Centers Better Serve Customers

Call centers are often designed with automated systems that work to try and keep the caller from talking to a real person as a way to reduce costs. This is a horrible customer service model.

Contact centers are designed to help the customer get the support they need in whatever form works best for them.

A real person handles the customer issue, over the phone, over a webchat, or whatever digital channel the customer has chosen to engage with.

But, the real advantage of contact centers is their proactive functionality. Software can alert agents that a customer appears to be having an issue. Agents can then contact customers through a webchat or an email to see if the customer would like some assistance.

Have you ever been trying to find an item in a physical store, only to wander down several aisles? It’s frustrating, especially if you can’t find an employee to assist you. But, have you ever been in a store looking for an item and had a friendly employee come up and offer to help at just the right moment?

That difference between these two experiences illustrates the differences between call centers and contact centers. Call centers require the customer to seek help every time, and it may be hard to get the help they need in a timely way.

But, contact centers allow your team to reach out to customers while they are struggling on your website. You can offer to help before the customer gets frustrated.

Benefits of a Contact Center and CCaaS

The secret sauce of any successful contact center is the software behind the scenes. Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) allows companies of all sizes to have their contact center remotely hosted and managed.

This reduces the costs of both setting up a contact center and the regular maintenance costs of running the center. The right CCaaS will help you efficiently serve your customers with as small of a team of customer service representatives as possible—all without compromising the customer experience.

CCaaS makes it easy to serve customers across multiple digital and voice channels. Call centers were the gold standard of remote customer service in the 1960s.

However, in the 21st century, the most successful businesses with the happiest customers use contact centers to personalize customer service. With their flexibility and scalability, contact centers are better for your customers and for your bottom line.