The terms ‘Call Center’ and ‘Contact Center’ are often used interchangeably, however, the differences between the two can dramatically change the customer experience. In today’s modern and mobile lifestyles, there is a critical need to be able to respond to customer needs and desires for ‘first call resolution’ in multiple formats. The primary purpose of both Centers is to provide customer service, technical support, pre-sales support, post-sales support, and provide an avenue for general inquires.
To fully appreciate the differences between the two Centers, let us first define these terms:
- Call Center – A traditional customer service hub that only makes outbound calls or takes inbound calls to provide end-user support, client support, or sales.
- Contact Center – The modern omnichannel business division that can make or take traditional phone calls but can also proactively or reactively respond to client needs by utilizing multiple digital options including, but not limited to:
- Traditional voice calls and callbacks
- Video calling and callbacks
- Web chat
- In-app support
- Email and voicemail
- Instant or direct messaging
- Social media platforms and apps
- APIs for CRM and client services platform connectivity
- Artificial Intelligence and chatbots
As recent surveys and blog posts from Forester and Delloite can attest (links below), customers increasingly want to leverage online, mobile, and agent-assisted digital channels as they feel these options have the least friction and offer quicker resolution times. The existing and legacy Call Centers with multiple phone trees, hold queues, and the possibility of not reaching the correct agent on the first call is simply not the preferred method of support for an increasing number of customers. In addition, clients want 24/7 support that includes online support outside standard business hours that can be easily accessed from a web browser or a mobile app. When a live agent is not available, the expectation is that one or more other support options are still accessible.
Contrasting the older Call Center models, the modern Contact Center can provide multiple support channels and decrease the first-call resolution time. An expertly designed and implemented solution would also allow agents and supervisors to collaborate as a team, therefore, providing a more dynamic and fulfilling experience for a customer in need of support.
As a Cisco Gold Partner and Master Unified Collaboration partner, SyCom Technologies recommends the Cisco Unified Communications suite of products to accomplish these objectives.