What is the Difference between a Call Center and Contact Center?

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Manager and executives with headsets using computersCustomer service representatives typically work in either a call center or a contact center, but few people truly understand the difference between these two environments. The terms are often used interchangeably, despite referring to different things. While there is a lot of overlap and similarity between call centers and contact centers, understanding the difference can ensure you make the right choice when choosing your own customer service option.

What is a Call Center?

Call centers are a more traditional customer service option, having been in use since the 1960s. Call centers interact with your customers or the public specifically through phones or voice communication. They handle both inbound and outbound calls. Call centers will occasionally have dedicated agents for each type of call, but they can also have their agents deal with all calls.

Call centers are able to handle the most common customer-service-related functions. These can include customer complaints and inquiries, as well as sales and follow-ups. Call centers can also handle billing, ordering, and processing services.

In the past, customer call centers could typically fulfill all the needs of most companies. However, with the advent of the Internet and digital media, contact centers have increasingly become a popular option.

What is a Contact Center?

Contact centers are similar to call centers, but they handle customer service through a wider variety of means. This can include online chats, e-mail, and web interfaces, along with the outbound and inbound calls that call centers handle. This means that contact centers can deal with a much greater variety of services and technology than a call center can.

From a customer’s perspective, contact centers offer the most choice and freedom. They present a variety of methods through which your company can be contacted, allowing your customer to choose the method they like best. If a person does not have access to a phone or only wants a simple question answered, then a text chat or e-mail can be a much more efficient method of communication than a phone call. As well, with Millennials and younger generations preferring online communication, using these methods for your customer call service can be more desirable.

Contact center agents typically handle all manners of communication, including both calls and online services.

Choosing a Call Center or Contact Center

The terms “call center” and “contact center” are often used interchangeably, even by companies and individuals in the industry. In fact, nowadays, some call centers offer many services that technically make them contact centers. This means that it is important to look at exactly what a company offers when making a selection.

As the leading provider of outsourced call center solutions, 3C Contact Services teaches its partners the necessary customer service skills needed to engage and retain customers. Contact us today for more information.