When considering managing customer interactions for your enterprise, the first question is whether your business requires a contact center system or a regular call center. Although often used interchangeably, these terms have critical differences in their business communication models. To ensure a good-quality, differentiated customer experience for your business, you must have clarity regarding your unique requirements and the differences between a contact call center and a traditional call center.
Call centers were the pioneers in organizational customer interactions with their agents, focusing on handling vast volumes of customer calls simultaneously. The modern customer service contact centers do the same with critical differences leveraging the latest communication technology and analytics.
The traditional call centers typically handle all customer interactions with only voice calls. In the case of limited multi-channel customer service, the individual channels work in silos lacking in providing clarity regarding the customer journey. On the contrary, modern VoIP contact centers use multi-channel, well-designed, and integrated customer interactions with enhanced visibility of the entire customer journey. This enables an optimized customer experience for businesses investing in contact call centers through greater operational KPIs and enhanced agent productivity.
What is a Contact or Call Center?
A contact call center is usually an organization's department that handles inbound and outbound customer interactions. Contact call centers could also be outsourced to a partner instead. These could be physically managed centers or virtually hosted contact centers with agents using multiple communication channels, like text messages, phone calls, emails, and social media, to contain customer interactions.
On the contrary, a call center only provides customer services via inbound and outbound calls. Besides handling customer inquiries, customer service representatives in a call center are involved in billing operations, telemarketing, debt collection, and other customer-related functions. Just like contact call centers, traditional call centers may work either as a department or as an operation outsourced to a partner.
What Does a Customer Contact Center Do?
A contact call center handles customer interactions for a business leveraging multi-channel pathways, cutting down response time, and helping customers find solutions faster. A contact call center is a step from traditional call centers, incorporating advanced analytics and leveraging self-service to filter callers with more complex issues.
Contact call center software aggregate data from multiple interaction channels used by a customer to contact the company. This data generates detailed customer profiles that improve predictive support and customer experience. The findings of these comprehensive analytics are presented in an easy-to-analyze format, such as data visualizations. Remote contact centers are also growing in popularity for companies that want to offer flexible schedules for employees and reduce operational costs.
With the growing availability and use of the internet, most customers can seek answers to their problems without requiring the help of contact call center live agents or chatbots. Due to their multi-channel approach, contact centers can leverage customer self-service, which is one of the best customer contact center features for business. Once customers are past the point of solving their issues, the problems they contact an agent for are often more complex and require additional expertise.
Many contact call centers seek help to solve these complex problems through assisted service techniques. These techniques use a blend of the knowledge of broad databases and the communicative skills of live contact center agents to deliver an overall satisfying experience to calling customers.
Is Contact Center a Call Center?
No, although quite similar to a call center, a contact call center offers added functionalities. A contact call center could be a department within an organization or outsourced to a partner, managed physically or virtually as a cloud-based contact call center. Agents in modern hosted contact centers use multi-channel, well-designed, and integrated customer interactions with enhanced visibility of the entire customer journey. Besides phone calls, contact center agents use several other communication channels like text messages, emails, and social media to manage customer interactions and obtain the benefits of contact center workforce optimization with automation and workflows.
The traditional call centers typically handle all customer interactions with only voice calls, while some have minimal interactions within individual channels. Another difference between the two is that while agents working at a call center only provide customer services via calls, those working for contact call centers also handle customer inquiries, billing operations, debt collection, and other customer-related functions.
What is the Best Contact Center Software?
Comparing the best contact center software for your business can be cut short by clarity in your business needs and a well-informed approach to knowing critical features offered by contact call center software solutions.
The best contact center features for enterprises focusing on voice communication provided by contact call center software are caller validation, call forwarding and tracking, call scripting, outbound calls, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), warm transfers, and CRM software integration.
However, numerous leading contact call center vendors offer many workforce optimization features to equip team leaders to analyze and track agent performance conveniently. These features include call recording, inbound call routing, predictive dialing, real-time reporting, historical reporting, quality monitoring, and customer interaction analytics across multiple channels. There are pros and cons to enterprise contact centers, so comparing leading vendors is a great way to understand features and pricing.
That said, some of the top-rated contact call center software include:
If your business requires a contact call center software that offers the latest omnichannel support features and predictive analytics, then only consider vendors are providing such functionalities. Many leading contact call center software vendors now offer intelligent call routing, digital agents such as chatbots, multi-channel integration, and AI-enabled predictive assistance for live contact call center agents.