Technology has empowered consumers to take more control when researching brands and making purchasing decisions. As a result, their expectations of the companies they interact with are at an all-time high. According to surveys, 54% of customers have higher expectations of a business to provide satisfactory customer service than just one year ago. Businesses striving to meet the expectations of their customers need effective and affordable communication solutions.
For many businesses, meeting customer demands and updating communications efforts means investing in a call center or a contact center. However, these two communication systems aren’t the same. To help your clients determine which option is best for their business, consider the differences between a contact center vs a call center and what each has to offer.
The Importance of Accessible Communications for a Contact Center vs Call Center in Modern Business
As a communications solution reseller, it’s important to understand the pain points of businesses striving to meet consumer needs. Modern consumers spending their hard-earned money on products and services expect the companies they interact with to deliver a seamless and pleasant experience. If a brand can’t meet these expectations, customers are likely to find a company that can.
This type of churn even occurs with customers who were previously loyal to a specific brand. Even after just one negative experience, 32% percent of customers surveyed would stop doing business with a brand they love.
So, what are modern customers looking for? According to a Hubspot survey, brands should meet these essential customer expectations.
- Make customers feel heard, appreciated, and valued
- Provide a simple process that’s free of friction
- Offer personalized experiences designed for the specific needs of customers
- Offer multiple options for customer service, including self-service options
- Provide convenient channels for communications
A transaction isn’t just a transaction. It’s an opportunity for a business to go the extra mile and provide an ideal customer journey, free of frustration and disappointment. While meeting these needs, businesses must also consider the cost-effectiveness of communication solutions and the overall return on investment (ROI) of the products they invest in.
Contact Center vs Call Center: What’s the Difference?
Meeting modern customer service expectations requires seamless communication channels that deliver convenience and personalization. Call centers and contact centers are two of the most common ways businesses meet the demands of customer communications. While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, call centers and contact centers represent different models of interaction and engagement.
What Is a Call Center?
A call center is an on-premise or remote office where multiple agents provide customer service over voice. Based on a company’s needs, services may include inbound and outbound calls to take care of technical support, billing questions, appointment setting, issue resolution, and more. Outbound calls may also be used to handle tasks like sales calls, marketing offers, surveys, and debt collection.
The goal of a call center is to handle customer concerns as efficiently and effectively as possible. Although call centers often carry a bad reputation for long wait times and limited satisfaction, modern solutions come with highly effective features. With the use of software and monitoring tools, agents can provide information faster while team leaders use analytics to better meet the needs of customers.
What Is a Contact Center?
Like a call center, a contact center is a customer service hub designed for businesses to interact with customers. They can be located on-site or accessed remotely. However, a contact center doesn’t solely depend on voice communication. Agents in a contact center interact with customers across multiple channels, including messaging, phone, email, apps, social media, and websites.
A contact center coordinates all customer communications and requires representatives to be well-versed across multiple channels to meet customer needs. Depending on the organization, this could mean using chat or videos to deliver technical support, communicating through SMS to offer quick resolutions, emailing loyal customers promotional events and surveys, providing order status updates through MMS, and more. Many contact centers enable customers to switch from one channel to another during a single interaction to provide the most convenient experience.
5 Key Differences Between a Contact Center vs Call Center
While both call centers and contact centers are communication hubs that enable interactions, there are distinct differences in the way they operate and meet the needs of customers. To provide the right option for your clients, take a look at five key differences when comparing a contact center vs a call center.
1. One Communication Channel vs Multiple Communication Channels
The most notable difference between a call center and a contact center is the number of communication channels. A call center is strictly focused on voice communications while a contact center provides interactions through omnichannel support.
Studies report that 76% of all consumers prefer to connect with customer service professionals by phone. However, McKinsey states that more than 60% also participate in omnichannel shopping. For many business owners, a clear choice will depend on the needs of the industry and customer preferences.
2. Levels of Automation
While call centers can take advantage of automated menus to route calls, many consumers expect to speak to a representative to get their issues resolved. To provide high levels of customer satisfaction, it’s essential for businesses to always include an option for interacting with human customer service reps.
A contact center enables businesses to use more automated features, helping cut costs and manual labor for employees. Tools like chatbots and self-service options can quickly resolve common problems. Automation can provide a way for growing companies to handle multiple communication tasks without the need to hire more employees.
3. Complexity of Tasks
Call centers are ideal for many different industries. Callers can move efficiently through queues with a team of agents who are trained to handle sales, queries, support, and other customer concerns. Call-transferring features help ensure that callers are directed to the appropriate department.
Contact centers, on the other hand, use a variety of tools to handle complex tasks. This can be a big plus when providing satisfactory to exemplary customer service. Representatives in contact centers are more likely to have the necessary tools to support multitasking without long wait times. They can also deftly move from one channel to another to reference past interactions or resolve more complex issues. These integrations are often necessary to provide the seamless customer service expected by modern consumers.
4. Simplicity for Small and Growing Businesses
Contact centers act as a central point from which all customer interactions are managed. Agents must be trained on the best practices of each channel to successfully serve customers. This may be an achievable goal to work towards for many developing businesses, but a call center is a great starting point for others.
Small and growing businesses may not have the bandwidth or the budget to branch out to multiple platforms all at once. Businesses with fairly linear communications needs and a shoestring budget may find a call center is more aligned with their current needs.
5. Personalized Services
Modern customers prefer that the companies they interact with understand and cater to their needs. According to McKinsey, 71% of consumers expect personalized services from companies, and 76% get frustrated when they don’t deliver. Call centers are ideal for building one-on-one relationships with customers. Supervisors can use reports and statistics to view and configure various thresholds, further aligning their services with consumers’ desires.
Customers in certain markets want businesses to recognize them across all platforms. A contact center enables businesses to offer an omnichannel experience in which communications seamlessly cross the borders of various platforms. This empowers customers to use the channels they prefer. Contact centers also give agents the tools to reference past interactions to further personalize interactions and recommendations.
Which is Right for My Business: Contact Center vs Call Center?
This will be the pivotal question your clients will expect you to answer as a communication solution reseller. While you can’t choose your customers, you can present knowledge to help them make an informed choice on their own. Follow these guidelines to help businesses align their needs with the ideal communication solution.
A call center may be the best option when:
- Your target customers prefer telephone communications
- Your goal is to manage call flows
- You don’t want to overcomplicate customer service
- Your customers’ issues are typically easy to solve
- Having multiple support channels isn’t relevant to your business
- You have a limited budget for customer service
A contact center is most likely the best option when:
- You have a large, diverse customer base
- Your customers seek a more personalized omnichannel experience
- You’re ready to scale your communications
- Your customers’ issues vary in complexity
- Having multiple support channels is important in your industry
- Your business already uses multiple digital platforms
Get the Value of Personalized Communication Services
Communication is the cornerstone of customer satisfaction. Choosing the right solution hinges on a business’s understanding of its customers’ needs. As a reseller, equip yourself with professional knowledge to advise your customers about their options and help them make an informed decision. When you have a partner that allows you to customize services to fit each of your clients, you can assist them in making the best decision and provide the solution that meets their needs. Get started with SkySwitch to offer your clients an effective and reliable customer communication solution.