What is the difference between a call center and a contact center? In everyday usage, these two terms are often used synonymously and interchangeably. This is not surprising, as both call centers and contact centers perform the function of communication with customers. When choosing an outsourcing company for customer service, order processing, information about products, services, or promotions, clients find proposals from both call centers and contact centers. So, what is the difference?
Call Center vs. Contact Center: Why is it important for businesses to understand the difference?
Understanding the distinction is crucial for businesses due to the evolution of customer interaction. In the modern multichannel environment, it is essential to meet customer expectations, as they prefer various communication options. Companies need to adapt to this change.
The answer to the question “What is the difference between a call center and a contact center?” is necessary for optimizing operations and resource allocation. Understanding this difference helps organizations wisely invest in technologies, training, and infrastructure to align their communication strategy.
Essentially, understanding the differentiation between a call center and a contact center is important for companies aiming to provide an exceptional customer experience, stay competitive in the face of rapid technological changes, and strategically allocate resources for optimal efficiency and performance.
What is a Call Center?
A call center is primarily a center for processing telephone calls. It can be an in-house department of a company or outsourced. Essentially, a call center is an office equipped with conventional or VoIP technology where operators handle calls.
Due to the active interaction of modern businesses with their audience through phone conversations, the volumes of inbound and outbound calls are significant. Therefore, there are two types of call centers: those specializing in outbound calls and those focusing on inbound calls.
In a call center, the voice channel is the main and usually the only means of interaction with customers within defined functions.
Functions of a Call Center
Today, the functionality of call centers has significantly expanded. Among the services offered, the most common include:
- Hotline: used for consultations, customer support, product information, etc.
- Information service
- Telemarketing, selling products and services
- Servicing customer databases (informing about news, promotions, discounts)
- Cold calls
- Debt collection calls
- Analytics, marketing research, data collection (surveys, questionnaires, etc.)
- Creating and updating databases, and much more.
A call center may encompass the entire spectrum of these services or only a part of them. If a call center is an outsourcing solution, a business can order specific services separately or as a package.
Inbound call centers are mostly oriented towards customer service, solving their problems, responding to complaints, and addressing support service inquiries.
Outbound call centers focus on telemarketing, market research, surveys of the target audience, and more. Often, outbound and inbound centers are two different departments within the structure of a single call center.
What is a Contact Center?
Now that we know what a call center is and what functions it performs, let’s move on to defining a contact center.
A contact center is an omnichannel communication center with customers. Obviously, technological development dictates its own rules. Customers are moving away from phone conversations if it is easier or more convenient for them to ask questions in an online chat or on social media, receive feedback via email, or make a call in one of the numerous messengers. A contact center ensures seamless omnichannel operation, allowing companies to interact with customers through their chosen channels. This flexibility increases customer satisfaction and creates stronger communication with the business.
Contact centers pursue the same goals as call centers: sales, customer support, research, but they offer more communication options, and the efficiency of the services they perform is higher.
Functions of a contact center
Outsourced contact centers provide businesses with a ready-made set of omnichannel communication solutions. Functions performed by a contact center include:
- Integration with CRM systems and integration of all available communication channels;
- Reception and processing of customer inquiries through any channels;
- 24/7 customer service on working days, weekends, and holidays;
- Providing information about products and services;
- Monitoring the level of customer service;
- Analysis and optimization of the customer service process.
Therefore, a modern contact center is an advanced multichannel structure that provides a comprehensive customer interaction service. The main advantage, compared to call centers, is that communication with the target audience is supported in a way that is convenient for them.
Call Center vs. Contact Center: what to choose?
We have clarified the differences between a call center and a contact center. But which communication method to choose for business? Here it is simple. If a company needs the processing of phone calls, calling the customer database, debt collection services, or one-time or periodic services (such as ordering marketing or sociological research over the phone), then outsourcing call center services is sufficient, as payment is made only for the service provided.
Businesses should choose a contact center when they want to provide customers with a comprehensive multichannel experience. If interaction with customers goes beyond traditional voice calls and includes emails, online chats, social media, etc., choosing a contact center is crucial. This choice is particularly relevant in the modern digital era, where customers expect seamless interaction on various platforms.
Why opt for outsourcing a call center or contact center?
As we mentioned in our material on business process outsourcing, it is crucial to understand the delicate balance between economic efficiency and service quality. Global Bilgi is an expert in providing professional call center and contact center services.
The advantage of outsourcing a call center or contact center is that there is no need to spend money and time developing a development plan, interaction strategy, recruiting personnel, or creating technical infrastructure. As our experience has shown since 2008, over 80 international clients have benefited and experienced economic growth through collaboration with Global Bilgi.
Contact center 24/7 with multilingual professional agents
Outsourcing a call center and contact center requires a comprehensive approach, and we know how to provide the best solution for your business. Our specialists can develop individual response scenarios, emphasizing the aspects you need: customer service quality, cross-sales, technical expertise, or complexity. We have our own developed corporate contact center platform, Sirius, which allows agents to work 24/7, record all calls, use advanced IVR or Auto Dialer, and control service quality. We regularly provide detailed reports and quality assessment updates to our clients.
Contact us, and we will not only answer the question of how call centers and contact centers differ but also find an effective solution according to the scale of the company, budget, frequency, and extent of using specific services, and development prospects.