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The Difference Between a Call Center and a Contact Center

Stephanie Wisdom
Stephanie Wisdom Dir., Content and Customer Marketing

As companies seek to provide the best possible experience to their customers, many are turning to call centers and contact centers to manage their customer interactions. While these terms are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between the two that are worth exploring.

First, let's define the two terms. A call center is a centralized office or facility that is equipped to handle a large volume of inbound and outbound telephone calls. Call centers are often used for customer support, sales, and other customer-related services.

A contact center, on the other hand, is a more advanced version of a call center. In addition to telephone calls, contact centers can handle a wide variety of customer interactions, including email, chat, social media, and more. Contact centers are often used to provide a more comprehensive and personalized customer experience, resulting in agents utilizing an entire customer experience platform.

Key differentiators between contact and call centers
One of the key differences between call centers and contact centers is the contact center experience they support. While call centers are primarily focused on telephone support, contact centers are designed to handle multiple channels of communication. This means that customers can choose the communication method that works best for them, whether that's phone, email, chat, or something else—in a word, omnichannel.

Another difference between the two is the level of technology used. Call centers typically use basic telephony equipment, such as landlines and headsets. Contact centers, on the other hand, use more advanced technology to manage multiple channels of communication, including voice-over-IP (VoIP), instant messaging, and social media.

Contact centers also tend to have a greater focus on customer experience. Because they are equipped to handle multiple channels of communication, contact centers can provide a more personalized experience to customers. For example, a customer may initiate a conversation via chat, then switch to phone, and then follow up with an email. A contact center can seamlessly manage all these interactions and provide a consistent experience across all channels.

Finally, contact centers often have a greater focus on analytics and reporting. Because they handle a wide variety of customer interactions, contact centers can collect more data about customer behavior and preferences. This data can then be used to improve the customer experience and optimize business processes.

Although call centers and contact centers share some similarities, they are distinct in terms of the channels they support, the technology they use, their focus on customer experience, and their analytical capabilities. As customer expectations continue to evolve, companies that invest in contact centers are better positioned to provide the personalized and comprehensive support that customers demand. 

Improve your contact center experience 

Ready to learn more about how your company can utilize a contact center? Check out the Five9 Intelligent CX Platform

Continued reading:
Why You Need IVAs for Your Call and Contact Center 
CX for Real Life


Stephanie Wisdom
Stephanie Wisdom Dir., Content and Customer Marketing

Call 1-800-553-8159 to learn more about Five9