A contact center is a central point from where you can contact.
The contact center typically includes one or more call centers but may include other types of customer contact, as well. A contact center is generally part of an enterprise's overall customer relationship management (CRM) strategy.
Contact centers and call centers are both centers for customer service, and the two terms are often used interchangeably, but a contact center supports more services than a typical call center.
Contact centers offer omnichannel customer support, including email, chat, voice over IP (VoIP) and website support. A call center typically uses phones as the main channel of communication and can handle a mass volume of calls.
Contact centers are used for inbound communication, outbound communication or a hybrid of both. Contact center agents also interact with customers via web chat, phone, email or other communication channels.
The contact center infrastructure that is necessary to support communications may be located on the same premises as the contact center, or it can be located externally.
In an on-premises scenario, the company that owns the contact center also owns and manages its own hardware and software. This requires staffing and IT investments that some companies choose to forgo by outsourcing those tasks to cloud providers or hosting companies.
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F.A.Q. about Contact Center
What is a Call Center?
Traditionally, a call center is an office where a large number of call center agents provide customer service over the telephone. Inbound call centers receive calls for customer support and often serve as a knowledge base for tech support, billing questions, and other customer service issues. These call centers focus on quick call resolution times and agent productivity. In outbound call centers, agents make calls rather than receive them. These could be sales calls, marketing offers, surveys, fundraising requests, or debt collection, for example.
The term “call center” conjures an image for many people of waiting on perpetual hold or being routed through an endless IVR that never gives them what they need. Because so many consumers have had a dreadful customer service experience along these lines, call centers have developed a bad rap. But as legacy phone systems give way to newer digital technologies, call centers are evolving.
What is a Contact Center?
The term "contact center" (or “contact centre”) reflects the modern reality that there are many other ways to connect with a customer these days besides by telephone. The combined trends of increased customer expectations and newer technologies that allow for many channels of communication are creating a shift in the traditional call center model which has existed for decades. Consumers want more ways to reach businesses, and businesses are looking for new ways to improve customer experience.
While call center agents generally focus on inbound and outbound calls, either on traditional phone lines or over VoIP, contact center agents handle a wide variety of communications. In a modern multichannel contact center, technical support might be delivered over in-app chat or video, while order status updates are delivered via SMS, event promotions are sent as push notifications, surveys are deployed over Facebook Messenger, and sales inquiries received by email are sent directly to an agent to connect by phone. Call centers handle voice communications, contact centers handle all communications.
A company’s contact center is usually integrated with their customer relationship management (CRM) system, where all interactions between the organization and the public are tracked, coordinated, and managed. Depending on the infrastructure and ecosystem, it could be comprised of an alphabet soup of complex components. Many companies have purchased off-the-shelf systems or a highly customized network of technologies from multiple vendors. Some companies have adopted a cloud-based solution or two, but they remain siloed from the rest of their systems and can’t talk to each other.