Call Center vs. Contact Center

SEPTEMBER 2013

What is a Call Center?

A call center is a centralized office that handles the inbound and outbound call traffic of a given business by means of a switched telephone network and several agents. It also administers a large number of calls simultaneously, given that it can put users on hold and give them service according to their position in queue.

What is a Contact Center?

A contact center is similar to a call center; however, the former expands the means through which a company can communicate with its clients, since it not only makes and receive calls, but also handles emails, faxes, instant messages, and circuit-switched or IP calls.

Around the last decade, call centers experienced a massive growth in almost every country in the world. Such growth has been boosted by information technologies and data transmission low costs. Therefore, companies consider it is profitable to provide customer and sales service through centers deploying remote technologies.

Studies suggest call centers have flourished almost at the same time in several countries (around the last 5-10 years). Call centers have come across as a paradigmatic case of work globalization due to the mobility of their operational processes.

 

CONTACT CENTERS VS CALL CENTERS, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

Although both concepts are used interchangeably, the difference between them is based on the services they provide.

A traditional call center handles inbound and outbound calls so as to sell products, conduct after-sales surveys, record tickets, provide technical assistance, etc.

Contact centers constitute the evolution of call centers, given that they provide clients with a service based on the present-day digital era. Said centers manage and process companies’ communication needs through multiple means: telephone, ordinary and electronic mail, live chat, and social networks (which are a growing trend nowadays).

Which are the pros and cons of each center?

Traditional call centers can lighten your company’s daily work load, since they enable you to focus on monitoring and carrying out your business’ main functions while you have phone conversations, record tickets, provide help desk service and technical assistance. The services provided by call centers are cheaper in comparison to those of their counterparts, and some companies may only require to be assisted with calls handling.

On the other hand, contact centers cover all areas. If your company has a large volume of ordinary and electronic mail, social media interactions and call traffic (both inbound and outbound), a contact center is well worth considering.

Why do live chat and social communication means are relevant?

Internet’s evolution never stops and the possibility of your clients phoning your company at any time of the day or night never fades away. Usually, providing real-time service is a crucial factor to dispositions related to customer satisfaction, hence live chat is a relevant part of your program for communicating or interacting with your clients. Contact center agents can monitor requests via chat, as well as posts in social networks twenty-four seven. As a result, agents become ‘virtual assistants’ that help clients to get the information they need without making time-consuming phone calls.

Why do people interchange or confuse these two concepts?

The vast majority of contact centers offer wide multi-level technical assistance. Therefore, the largest companies can hire them so that they process their calls or their every single communication need. On the contrary, call centers only abide by their experience as means for managing and distributing calls. Hence, all contact centers are call centers, but not all call centers are contact centers.

What is a universal agent or a shared services environment? Under which circumstances can they be beneficial?

A ‘universal agent’ and a ‘shared services’ environment are concepts referring to an agent that manages all the services provided by a contact center; he is a ‘multitask’ agent that provides different customer service modalities for one or several companies. In call centers’ world the aforesaid denomination implies that agents are well versed in handling clients’ calls, as well as in providing other services (such as interactions via live chat and social media, email transactions, technical assistance, data capture, etc.). Nevertheless, it is important to notice that not all call centers can function in accordance with a shared services environment, since sometimes they focus on one or two communication means, a modality known as dedicated model. Through a shared services environment your program’ costs can be divided between a larger platform, hence it is a more economical option in comparison to outsourcing a dedicated staff.

 

CenterWare Xion: contact center’s evolution

Telephone and data technologies breakthroughs are boosting the turning of call centers, which are based on a single communication means, into multichannel centers. Therefore, the way in which clients and companies interact with each other has evolved.

The complexity in handling multiple new communication means is boosting even more changes by enabling call centers to turn into multichannel contact centers. The challenge inherent in such switch is to build intelligent systems capable of interacting with clients and simplifying the operational processes of contact centers, along with the skills they demand.

CenterWare Xion benefits from the most advanced technology so as to integrate voice with data and consolidate several communication means through which all contacts can be consistently and cohesively managed. By means of its user-friendly interfaces, campaigns can be easily managed and clients can communicate through phone calls, chat and messages. Moreover, its innovative solutions offer a completely new user experience through scripting, surveys, IVR, chat, CRM, inbound and outbound calls, call and screen recording, and messages systems.