Every business thrives to become better, to evolve, to have a better service to its customers. However, with all the different privileges that are readily available due to the advancement of technology today; some companies find it difficult to decide which of these would most benefit their business. Almost all big corporations have invested in having a call center but with the new technology, there are options that you can take like advancing to a contact center instead of a call center. What is the difference between a contact center and a call center?
What is a call center?
On a more traditional note and longevity, call centers have been the foremost way of providing customer service and have proven to be effective. A call center has an office setting that mainly handles inbound, outbound, or a combination of the two calls. Main objectives of a call center include telecommunication, fraud prevention, collection, and information gathering but as we progress there have been changes to call centers such as having the IVR or interactive voice response which aids in pointing out the main concern of the call and distributes them to a specialty agent through the method called ACD or automatic call distribution to resolve it in a timely manner. Call centers’ main source of communication is through the phone and promotes customer service, sales, and telemarketing.
What is a contact center?
Contact centers are relatively new and not all businesses have transitioned from it but rather a progressive one. A contact center offers a huge range of services as of the typical call center, they are rather diversified and cloud base support, their services include VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol, email, phone, text, chat, social media and direct website interface. Contact centers provide a more omnichannel customer support to its consumers and can be operated by outside firms and rendering customer support for cases like billing services, telemarketing and debt. Contact centers have integrated some mathematical models like queuing theory and operations research, which helps them to have a larger scale to solve optimization problems. Contact centers maintain a brand image and continue to serve its consumers in any digital platform, a system that is unified and of the same system.
Contact Center vs Call Center: What Is the Difference?
Contact centers and call centers are two customer services that have infiltrated the businesses today and are used for different business objectives and to provide a different customer experience. Despite the similarities, they hold there are a couple of differences as well and it’ll be discussed further.
- Channels of communication
In terms of communication, contact centers provide a wider means of communication to the customers such as phone, social media, email, website, text, and many more while the call center’s main channel of communication is through the phone exclusively.
Phone conversations happen on real-time and each call takes a lot of time and keeps the agents from taking more calls and thus increasing the need for more manpower and taking a huge part of the operating cost.
While contact centers are more digitalize where they use email, phone, social media, website, text, and many more to reach their consumers leading to a wider range of engagement. In addition, agents can cater to two or three customers at the same time, thus solving problems faster and giving a shorter amount of waiting time for the consumers that will lead to having a better experience.
As technology advanced so does the public and with that in mind, brands have been given the opportunity of utilizing more digital ways to seek help or consult on any matter. With contact centers software, more engagement and interaction will occur to aid their consumers.
- Omnichannel queue management
In a call center environment all solutions and conversations are conveyed through the phone while as for contact centers, they communicate through several platforms thus having an omnichannel queue management is a necessity.
With the contact center software, an omnichannel queue management aids them to keep track of all the conversations and solutions that every consumer and agent has relayed in any platform. This also allows the admins to distribute each query to its agents equally and giving them a more balanced workload without compromising the quality.
- Traditional vs. digital
As time passes by leading businesses searches more ways to drive more sales and engagement to their consumers and to keep up with their customer’s demands. Retrospectively, the only way for consumers to reach out is when they encounter a problem that needs to be fixed. This leads to having them contact customer service and waiting for their call to be redirected to a specialty agent and wasting a lot of time.
As of today, companies are looking into predicting these common problems that their consumers might experience and readily giving them solutions without the need to call or asking for support reducing redundancy of support tickets in the future. With these readily available solutions, consumer’s queries are answered in real-time and with less waiting time thus having a more proactive customer service.
Proactive customer services are the highlights of today’s brands, not only do they reach more customers but also maintain a good amount of sales. With a contact center software, agents can provide a more proactive customer service by detecting customers’ frustration and aiding them right away without having to reach out. This gives them a huge advantage when giving customer service compared to the traditional call center.
- Self-service management
Contact centers offer a self-service portal, support chatbot, and community forums when handling queries as for the call center, it’s the first contact is through the interactive voice response (IVR). Although most of the call centers have a high volume of inbound calls and it usually takes a longer time to talk to a specialty agent which causes a great amount of frustration and is time-consuming to it
Today, consumers often prefer finding solutions on their own through self- service portals or FAQs that are usually found on a brand’s website. As communication evolved, emails are considered to be a more dynamic tool in asking for support on issues that are not answered by chatbot or the self – service portal. Having emails as a mode of communication lessens the consumers frustration and shortens waiting in line to talk to a specialty agent. Thus, creating a more relaxed way of attending to your customer’s immediate needs.
- Automatic ticket routing and automations
Contact centers use automations on ticket creation, updates, assignment, and time-based triggers while call centers don’t. In a contact center, they use automations to route tickets to agents based on their specialty, experience, and previous customer history. Through this system, contact center agents reduce resolution time to their customer’s queries and leading them into a streamlined experience. There are other ways in keeping a more organized system and that is also through automation, this is used to categorize tickets, update ticket properties, and for the most part, follow up and close the loop with its consumers. Contact center solutions also have features that aid their agent in having a well-balanced work environment and preventing any burnout. Features include canned responses, canned forms, and ticketing templates, reducing repetitive tasks and increasing more engagement for the agent and the consumer. Both leading to a healthier way of customer service or support which will lead to more productivity.
- Unified customer view
A call center main line of communication is through phone calls which means any inquiry or queries are only relayed through calling the customer support. This shows to have a bit of a disadvantage compared to contact center software where gives a 360-degree view of customers with integration. A contact center software provides services through all of its digital platforms and collates them into one platform where you have a more holistic view of each ticket and progress. Agents will have a more organized trend of conversations between its consumers and with each query. This also serves as a method to aid in gathering feedback on the service they provide as an agent and as a company.
As mentioned above, there are several differences a call center and a contact center share, it all boils down to which of the two would benefit your company the most or you can have both. There are no limitations to your choice but if you are still having second thoughts these are some of the features a contact center have:
- Advanced call distribution
Contact centers have established a queuing system which aids them in equally distributing inbound calls to specialty agents and decrease it’s waiting time. Systems like IVR are also included in contact centers, though IVR’s objective is to solve immediate concerns that would lead in reducing inbound calls however, there are some queries that limits this feature and needs to be assisted by a specialty agent.
Managers of a contact center can access their team’s workload and objectives providing them maximum efficiency and productivity as a group. They can share contacts and objectives as a team even though they are working individually. This allows us to have a tighter and stricter security details and secures data. The structure of a contact center is relatively flexible in order to adapt to high volume tickets and inbound calls.
Each contact center agent shares a script for all customer interactions. This helps in communicating concerns or rather asking the right questions and giving the right answers to each query. Scripts aids each contact center representative as what a checklist does to each individual as to be a reminder to check all the right boxes. There are moments where improvisation can be of great use too.
- Real-time reporting
As a way to monitor performance and customer satisfaction, analytics and multi-faceted are being collated and giving a hard and conclusive result for each agent and their performance. Focusing on Key Performance Indicators to help in your quality assurance and finding ways to improve your services as a contact center.
In conclusion, it all boils down to which of these would be the most beneficial to your company. Both are being used in today’s business its only a matter of cost and which weighs more for your own company.