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Contact centers and call centers are two terms that are very often interchanged in the customer service community. However, as service communication channels continue to expand alongside customer service technologies, it’s important to point out the key differences between the two terms and the widening gap between call centers and contact centers.
Generally speaking, a contact center is the focal point for managing customer communications and customer service interactions across several channels, including email, live chat, phone, social media, and messaging.
A call center, however, is a hub for customer conversations primarily done through the phone.
Beyond communication channels, there are other key strategic distinctions between contact centers and call centers, and we’ll get into all those differences and which center is best for you below.
What is a call center?
As you may have guessed, a call center is dedicated to phone interactions. And while this once was the key to customer service, it has begun to fizzle out as customers are moving toward other lines of communication. While we still see call centers today, they do have some noticeable limitations.
- It’s only line of communication is the phone
- Does not typically support omnichannel que management
- Only provides reactive support
- As a traditional line of communication, call centers give you almost no points of leverage over your digital and online presence
- Limits your ability to provide self-service support
- Does not allow you to automate tickets to the right agent or utilize information, like previous history, to streamline trigating process
- You have a limited, myopic view of customer data that is tethered to phone interactions and conversations
- Phone centers don’t paint a full picture of customer interactions, communications, and needs
Call centers can have other forms of communication, but they don’t unify everything under one roof. The ability to have multiple interactions across multiple channels, switch seamlessly between those channels, and gain insight into all levels of communication is, for many businesses, a necessity.
What is a contact center?
Contact centers, on the other hand, bring live chat, social media, email, knowledge bases, self support, phone and more under a unified roof. The most important difference between the two, aside from the range of communication lines, is how contact centers improve the customer experience.
86% of customers told Gladly that they expect to move seamlessly between channels, and 73% of customers said that they’re biggest customer service frustration is having to repeat themselves. Contact centers solve this problem by providing omnichannel support, life-long chat histories, customer profiles, and more.
Benefits of contact centers include:
- Channels of communication: Phone, email, live chat, social media, and more
- Omnichannel queue management: the ability to queue management across channels and switch between agents in a way that provides context to new agents working with the customer in question
- Contact centers allow you to provide proactive support by giving you the tools to engage with customers on social media and other digital platforms
- Customers have the tools via self-service portals, support chatbots and AI bots, and community forums to manage their own issues
- Contact centers provide automations on ticket creations, updates, assignments, and time-based triggers
- Contact centers provide unified customer views of the entire customer life-cycle, giving your service agents the tools to become service heroes
- Unique customer profiles allow agents to know who the customers is, why they’re reaching out, and their purchase/communication history before the point of contact
- Life-long conversation lines make it easy for agents to get the context they need to seamlessly interact with a new customer
Of course, not all contact centers are created equal, and the efficacy of a contact center often relies on companies leveraging proper software. In general, though, contact centers offer more proactive engagement, scalability, and opportunities to engage with customers and gain insights over traditional call centers.
Gladly offers a radically personal contact center
With Gladly, you get all the perks of an advanced, robust contact center with a human element and radically personal touch that your customers will remember.
Benefit from omnichannel support, social media integrations, unique customer profiles, life-long history conversations, intelligent chat bots and widgets, and a service platform that helps you treat customers like people, not tickets.
Try the demo today to see if Gladly is right for you.