differences between call center & contact center

Call Center Vs Contact Center: What Are The Important Differences?


20 December 2022

Does your company require a contact center or a call center? Despite the frequent interchange of these terms, there are significant distinctions between these prevalent business communication models. Starting with a clear understanding of the differences between a call center and a contact center and how they relate to your business needs will help you build an effective, unique customer experience.

In this article, we compare and contrast contact centers and call centers. We also go over specific reasons why your call centers should become omnichannel contact centers and why contact centers are ultimately better for your company and your customers. This entails enhancing operational effectiveness in terms of first contact resolution and average handle time, boosting productivity through intelligent automation to do away with tedious tasks, and equipping agents with customer insights and recommendations for the best course of action.

However, it's crucial to comprehend the distinctions between a call center and a contact center before we can explain why contact centers produce better customer and employee experiences.

As the name implies, a traditional call center offers inbound, outbound, or blended voice calls. The interaction is limited to voice and the call center would not be offering any other way of interaction. Some call centers do provide case management or ticket creation over email. On the other hand, a modern contact center, as the name suggests, enables customers to contact a company through any channel of their choice instead of just calls.

Additionally, intelligent routing both within and between channels is a feature of a well-managed omnichannel contact center, allowing for visibility of the entire customer journey. Customer experience, agent effectiveness, and operational KPIs all improve as a result.



1. What is a Call Center?

2. What is a Contact Center?

3. What distinguishes Call Centers from Contact Centers?

4. Contact Centers: Present and Future of Customer Service

5. Contact center or Call center: It Is Your Call


What is a Call Center?

A call center handles both inbound (incoming) and outbound (outgoing) phone calls from prospects. Customer service representatives, often known as call center agents, handle tech support and customer service concerns. Additional services like billing, debt collection, sales calls, or telemarketing are also offered by a call center.

Call centers prioritize KPIs like Average Speed of Answer (ASA) and Average Handle Time (AHT) by employing telephone calls as their only customer service channel.


What is a Contact Center?

The term "contact center" acknowledges that there are now numerous alternatives to the telephone for communicating with customers. The long-established, conventional call center model has changed as a result of rising customer expectations and more recent technologies that enable numerous communication channels. Businesses want new ways to enhance the customer experience, and consumers want more ways to contact businesses.

While call center employees typically concentrate on incoming and outgoing calls made over conventional phone lines or using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), they also deal with a wide range of communications.


For instance, in a multichannel contact center solution:

• Technical support is provided via video chat within the application.

• SMS is used to deliver order status updates.

• Push notifications are used to advertise events.

• Facebook Messenger is used to distributing surveys.

• Email-received sales inquiries are forwarded directly to a representative for follow-up by phone.


Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are typically integrated with contact centers, making it simple to track, plan, and manage all interactions between the business and the customers. The complexity of the components that make up contact centers can be a problem because it depends on the ecosystem and infrastructure. This can aggravate when businesses buy pre-built systems or a highly customized network of technologies from various vendors. Even though some businesses may use a few cloud-based solutions, the contact centers are still isolated from the rest of the business's systems and are unable to communicate with one another.


What distinguishes Call Centers from Contact Centers?

Call Center

Contact Center

Single channel at customer support

Omnichannel customer support

Communication Channels: Includes inbound & outbound customer phone calls only.

Communication Channels: Includes everything from the phone to live chat, email, video, messaging services, social media, etc.

Self-service is limited to IVR

Self-service channels include IVR, chatbots, a FAQ website, a knowledge base online, etc.

Depends solely on agents

Comparatively, less agent involvement required

Call center agents only get little access to client data.

Provides personalized data thus better insights.

Majorly used for Sales, Telemarketing, and technical assistance.

Majorly used for Customer relationship management and customer service.

1. Communication Channels

The most noticeable distinction between call centers and contact centers is the primary communication focus. While contact centers may use other media, call centers typically keep to phone-based communication. Call centers have not fallen behind even though contact centers often set the standard for strong software integrations and assistive technology. The majority of call centers combine advanced Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technologies with conventional phones and track and analyze a wide range of metrics to gradually raise the level of service quality. As per a 2020 report, most organizations engage with customers via 8 different channels, and 23.2% say an omnichannel approach is the driving force behind the customer journey design strategy.

With multi-channel support, the advantage is that you have more possibilities to assist your customers as you are meeting them where they are. By removing the need for customers to look up customer service contact numbers, you are saving them time and letting them get in touch with your business easily. More and more businesses nowadays are realizing how important it is to provide their clients with multichannel assistance.


2. Self-Service

Customers can use an automated menu or an interactive voice response (IVR) system to find solutions to their issues without having to speak to a live agent when you integrate self-service options into your inbound call center. Giving clients the option of self-service can lower call volume directed to live agents, improve customer satisfaction, and lower operating expenses.

In the case of a contact center, their multi-channel strategy helps them excel in the field of self-service. However, once customers feel the need to call, their problems frequently become more complicated and require more knowledge from customer support representatives to resolve. Many contact centers use aided service approaches to deal with the callers' increasingly complicated questions. These combine the effectiveness and in-depth understanding of vast databases analyzed by AI with the communication skills of human employees to provide callers with a better overall experience. In some circumstances, this entails initially sending clients to self-service choices and then elevating problems that require specialized support to human agents.


3. Agent Productivity

Agents are more productive in contact centers as they have access to customer information from several channels.

Additionally, the likelihood of errors is decreased by employing IVR and Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) systems to assign the appropriate queries to the appropriate agent. In reality, it improves the operational effectiveness of your agents and business. An effective contact center employee may deliver exceptional service and satisfy customers with the help of the right tools and technologies.

Your operational costs that arise from a high agent turnover will be decreased because contented agents are more likely to stay with you for a longer period. However, this is exactly not the case in a call center. Since the whole system solely depends on a call center agent, productivity is comparatively hard to improve.


4. Data Insights

The gathering, measuring, and reporting of performance indicators within a call center is referred to as call center analytics. It monitors call information and agent efficiency when attending to incoming or outgoing calls. Average handle time, call volume, customer satisfaction, and hold time are examples of common analytic categories. But call times are only one aspect of call center analytics. To affect how calls are handled, including the customer experience itself, it takes the human element into account.

Call center managers can typically retrieve this data and analyze it with analytics software. However, only team leaders and supervisors get access to this call center data. Agents in more up-to-date contact centers have access to this real-time data so they can manage rising call volumes. However, call data may help you deliver a remarkable customer experience, increase brand loyalty, and raise productivity all around with the correct tools and approach.

A consistent experience across interaction touchpoints has gotten difficult to maintain as the number of consumer engagement channels and contact center volume both increase. Your organization must more effectively connect the dots between channels to boost business results because these negative customer experiences and channel breakdowns can have a significant negative impact on turnover and consequently, revenue.


5. Usage

Call centers aim to give clients a reliable communication channel for learning about a certain product or service. Customers can inquire about the same from the comfort of their homes rather than sending a lengthy email or physically visiting the store. Since they receive individualized services easily and without much difficulty, most individuals favor such support services over other channels for connecting with a business. Since customers typically prefer direct conversations, support via telephone is one of the crucial duties performed by a call center agent.

Contact centers enable agents to be more approachable and help customers find a solution more quickly. Users can send an instant message to a brand through their website or on their favorite social networking platform instead of dialing a toll-free customer service number and waiting on hold for the next agent, allowing them to multitask while they wait for a response. Customers can also plan a video conference session or send an email for non-urgent inquiries. When backed up by the right contact center solution, companies can add convenience to their list of competitive advantages.


Contact Centers: Present and Future of Customer Service

Today, contact centers are displacing call centers as consumers have access to so many more alternative channels. This trend is here to stay, even though it frequently necessitates more complex workflows for contact center teams.

Organizations must adopt forward-thinking strategies if they want to engage with customers across multiple channels and see their behaviors across various touch points. Because of this, we believe that contact centers will develop into more all-encompassing, digitally-focused omnichannel contact centers.

So, unlike a multichannel contact center, an omnichannel contact center provides the agent access to all the touchpoints/channels through a single interface. So, it is very much convenient. But more than that it provides the agent the complete insight into customers’ past interactions in a timeline. So, even though the agent had not done previous interaction with the client but she can know her concern by glimpsing over the timeline and providing proactive support.

Contact center teams may require instant and SMS messaging, email, live chat support like web chat or WhatsApp, social media messaging, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more in addition to a telephony solution. Definitely, with the comprehensive, all-in-one omnichannel contact center, customer engagement can be enhanced. This may lead to better customer satisfaction and retention too.

A fantastic tool to look into is the C-Zentrix Omnichannel Contact Center solution. It also has a fully functional video chat feature, enabling contact center teams to communicate not only with customers but also to meet virtually with one another.


Contact center or Call center: It Is Your Call

When should you opt for a Contact Center?

1. Your company wants to increase engagement across all channels

2. Your customer base prefers Omni Channel communication over telephone communication.

3. Automated chatbots can help your agent’s productivity


When should you opt for a Call Center?

1. Majority of your clientele prefer telephony.

2. You don't want to overburden a small workforce with too many channels of contact.


However, choosing between a call center strategy and a contact center solution, or vice versa, without having a clear grasp of your company's needs can be quite thoughtless. Not every firm will have the same demands. To achieve the best results, it is crucial to critically prioritize performance, profitability, and customer experience. C-Zentrix can assist you in finding the ideal solution. To learn more, get in touch with us.


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