Call Centre vs. Contact Centre: What’s the Difference?


A picture signalling a versus duel

CallMiner share their interpretation of the differences between call centres and contact centres.

Call centres and contact centres operate within the same general field of customer support and outreach. However, the two are not exactly the same.

Call centres came first, focusing employees on handling large streams of customer calls at once. More modern contact centres effectively do the same while incorporating a few key differences to better harness emerging options in communications and analytics.

Understanding the deeper differences between these two similar, but different, types of organization can help decision-makers choose the best options for their own businesses.

Below, let’s look at the most salient differentiators between call centres and contact centres to better highlight their strengths and weaknesses.

Call Centres Focus on Phones

The primary communication focus is the most obvious difference between call centres and contact centres. Call centres stick to telephone-based communication, while contact centres branch out into other media where applicable.

Although contact centres tend to lead the pack with powerful software integrations and assistive technology, call centres have not been left behind.

Most call centres incorporate sophisticated interactive voice response (IVR) systems alongside standard phones, and monitor and analyse a slew of metrics to progressively improve service quality.

Where call centres specifically handle communication over the phone, a contact centre may manage as many as five customer communication channels or more, including text, email, live chat, and forums.

Although traditional call centres take a decidedly simplified approach to customer interaction, the demand for phone interaction remains high among all demographics when it comes to effectively solving product and service-related problems.

Smartphone dominance is a likely contributor to this phenomenon, with click-to-call capabilities encouraging customers to simply place calls out of convenience.

Contact Centres Incorporate Advanced Analytics

By aggregating data from the various channels that a customer has used to contact the company, contact centres can create more detailed customer profiles.

These enhanced customer profiles open the door to a wide variety of improvements in predictive support which often help to improve the customer experience (CX).

Solutions such as CallMiner’s interaction analytics software evaluate interactions across every customer communications channel, resulting in comprehensive analytics that paint a complete picture of your company’s customer interactions.

Presented in an easy-to-analyse format (such as text and data visualizations), this comprehensive customer interaction data supports performance scoring, sentiment analysis, and measurement of key performance indicators across all customer communications channels.

Contact Centres Leverage Self-Service

The prevalence of internet access around the world has made it possible for customers to quickly sleuth out answers to their own problems before turning to live calls with customer service agents for help.

Self-service is one area in which contact centres shine due to their multichannel approach. However, once customers reach the point where they consider a call to be necessary, their issues often prove to be more complex, requiring additional expertise on the part of customer service agents.

To handle increasingly complex questions from callers, many contact centres turn to assisted service techniques. These blend the efficiency and deep knowledge of broad databases parsed by AI with the communicative competence of human agents to deliver a better overall experience to callers.

In some cases, this means directing customers to self-service options first and escalating issues that cannot be solved without special assistance to human agents.

Utilizing advanced speech analytics – driven by AI and machine learning – organizations can relatively quickly identify a host of simple, repetitive tasks that are being asked of their agents (e.g. resetting a password, getting their account number, changing their profile information, etc.) that can be automated.

Eliminating these types of tasks from agents’ workloads elevates the complexity of the work they perform, the amount of training and expertise they require, and their importance within the organization.

Call Centres Scale With Agents

To accommodate swells in incoming calls, call centres need to turn to recruitment and hiring. Staffing an appropriate number of agents to keep on call as needed can prove to be a complex task in practice, as needs change throughout the year.

Contact centres may choose to scale through dynamic staffing, but there are additional options open to them as well.

By further fleshing out additional channels and making these available more often to customers, contact centres can potentially accommodate more customers at once without drastically boosting staff numbers.

Call Centres Are Traditional

Although contact centres offer multichannel support and a variety of advanced predictive capabilities to businesses with varied needs, the traditional, phone-intensive approach of standard call centres can prove advantageous in boosting the customer experience.

Well-trained call centre agents can provide a personalized, human touch to communication over the phone that other media might not register as readily.

Choosing to use a call centre approach instead of a contact centre strategy or vice versa can be tricky without first assessing your company’s needs in detail.

Establish critical priorities in performance, profitability, and customer experience before taking the plunge for the best possible results.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of CallMiner – View the original post

To find out more about CallMiner, visit their website.

About the author

CallMiner CallMiner is recognised as a leader in the speech analytics software industry, transforming your customer interactions with conversational insight to drive positive experiences and profound business change. Uniting with our customers and partners, our platform surfaces intelligence captured across your multiple communication channels and compels action that leads to improvement within and beyond the contact centre for customer experience, employee performance, compliance, security, fraud and interaction automation.

Read other posts by CallMiner

Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.

Published On: 4th Jun 2020 - Last modified: 9th Jun 2020
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