Although they tend to be used interchangeably, the terms “contact center” and “call center” refer to two different business models in regard to communication. The type of model you employ has a major impact on customer service. Below, we’ll discuss the differences between these two models and let you decide which one may better suit your business.
What Is a Call Center?
The primary purpose of a call center is to manage inbound and outbound calls. A call center agent is a customer service representative. They can take inquiries from customers. Whether based in-house or outsourced, a call center can handle other tasks, such as telemarketing, billing, sales, or debt collection.
A traditional call center is typically a busy space. Agents often occupy desks or cubicles placed side by side. They often communicate through headsets and take one call after another in a fast-paced environment. The speed at which each agent answers and the average time to handle calls are tracked closely to achieve efficiency goals.
What Is a Contact Center?
Also designed to handle inbound and outbound interactions with customers, a contact center supports multiple channels of communication. Agents can communicate via phone as well as through messaging, email, text, or social media. Web chat functions are often used too. All customer contacts are managed from a centralized location.
Representatives are trained to use each channel most effectively. Individual channels have best practices that agents must follow. An organization may also adapt performance metrics to suit each channel, as each has its own functions and capabilities. For example, average handle time may be measured for traditional calls but, for mobile messaging, a different approach is needed to measure performance.
While a contact center can generally handle large call volumes, it is structured to provide a more omni-channel experience for the customer.
Similarities Between Call Center and Contact Centers
While they do have their differences, here are some of the things call center and contact centers have in common:
- The ability to gather data to create a customer profile and create a personalized experience based on their preferences and behavior.
- Agents share objectives and a list of contacts, thereby working as a team; assignments are interchangeable, which adds flexibility.
- Call scripting provides agents with a framework to manage callers’ needs and be more effective at providing support, driving sales, etc.
- Real-time reporting and data analysis are used so you can both track and manage customer satisfaction and agent performance across each individual channel.
Other features of both call centers and contact centers may include:
- Automated call distribution, which analyzes incoming calls and distributes them based on the number dialed and other factors.
- A centralized knowledge management system agents can search to find the information they need to best serve the customer.
- Computerized workforce management for setting agent schedules and managing their performance based on specific metrics.
What Is the Difference Between the Two?
A contact center vs. call center experience may seem indistinguishable at first, as both are focused on customer service, but there are some technological differences. A call center is only set up for agents to handle calls. The phone system is integrated with the computers that they use to follow phone scripts, process messages, and leave notes on accounts. On the other hand, a contact center computer must be set up with all the right software to handle email, chat, and social media interaction at scale.
Cloud call centers and cloud contact centers have grown in popularity, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. This is one technological area where the two cross paths. The ability to serve customers remotely has improved worker safety, and advances in technology allow agents to provide the same level of service as if working on-premises.
However, another major difference is how contact center software and customer relationship management software can be integrated. Interactions can be closely monitored, and the customer experience can be integrated with social media for a more customized and effective approach. Agents can work directly with the caller to reach the intended objective.
In fact, contact center technology is becoming more and more integrated with social media platforms, mobile communications, and even popular video telephony platforms like Skype. Face-to-face interactions may shape the future of contact centers, while technologies such as speech analytics can aid in employee training and predicting customer behavior.
What AnswerMTI Offers
AnswerMTI offers full-featured flexible inbound call center services focused on customer support and other functions. Therefore, business owners can focus on tasks that help their companies grow while saving money on operational costs. Our services are tailored exactly to each client’s unique requirements. From the start, our account specialist learns about your brand, challenges, and goals, as well as who your customers are.
Call scripts help in relaying information to callers and obtaining data needed to assist them in the best way possible. Our service is available 24/7, everywhere in the U.S. Our agents are also U.S.-based and trained to answer calls quickly, provide the proper assistance, and deliver messages promptly.
With AnswerMTI, all your call center infrastructure and processes are outsourced at a low monthly price. Your staff may not be able to help every client due to a high call volume, a busy schedule, or having gone home for the day. In any case, we’ll manage calls for you. Some of the services we can handle include:
- Appointment Setting: No matter how busy your daily schedule is, we can schedule appointments with clients and manage your calendar.
- Bilingual Answering: Our professional staff of bilingual receptionists are fluent in English and Spanish, which eliminates language barriers and allows your business to serve a more diverse audience.
- Business Answering: Our services are suited for any size of business, from startups and small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations.
- Emergency Answering: If the caller has an emergency, we can instruct them accordingly and notify the appropriate personnel, or we can provide call support if your office is closed due to, for example, a natural disaster.
- Sales: Our agents can process sales orders, invoices, and payments to ensure transactions are seamless even if someone at your company isn’t available to answer the phone.
- Call Patching: A virtual receptionist is trained to screen and transfer calls to the right department or individual within your company; they can filter unwanted calls too.
- Technical Support: AnswerMTI has a team of help desk agents who handle tier 1 tech support calls. More complex tickets are triaged and escalated according to your preferences.
Contact Us Today
AnswerMTI offers a 24/7 call center service with no long-term contracts. Our services are available through month-to-month pricing, but you can test out our capabilities with a free one-week trial. Our agents are trained to handle any call your business would take and leave an impression that’s favorable to your brand.
To learn more about what we can offer your business, and to set up your free trial, call 844-798-1027.