We all see similar images when we think of call centres. Or should we say contact centres? Come to think of it, what is the difference?

In this article, we'll try to answer one question that frequently returns in conversations with our customers: are we talking about a contact centre or a call centre? What is the difference? Does it matter?

The obvious

The most obvious difference between call centres and contact centres is in the number and type of channels that each centre uses for its communications. Call centres are specialised in handling telephone calls and telephone calls only, while a contact centre can handle email, chat, and other communication channels in addition to telephone calls. Contact centres sometimes even work with shared screens, such as in the case of IT-support desks.

Other differences

The difference in the types of interactions places different requirements on the people who work in these centres. Similar to how call-agents in a call centre are instructed how each of their customers wants their calls to be handled, contact centre agents receive special training in handling communication over email and chat. Larger contact centres have agents that are specialised in one specific communication channel, while other contact centres regularly rotate their agents across different channels in order to keep them on their toes.

Call centre software is optimised for handling incoming or outgoing telephone calls, while contact centres generally use software that can handle email, chat and other channels as an integrated part of the platform.

Why the confusion between these terms?

Customer support interactions have greatly developed over the past 15 years and now include not just email and chat we mentioned, but often also online order handling, responding to requests for price quotes and more. Companies that specialise in these types of interactions have started to differentiate themselves by referring to themselves as contact centres.

The general audience is used to the term call centre, and tends to use both terms interchangeably.

There are also those who find that the word call centre has received a negative connotation over the years. They often associate call centres with pushy outbound calls that no one really likes to receive and so they prefer to use the term contact centre.

Despite all that, centres that specialises in handling telephone calls tend to refer to themselves as call centres. And there's a lot they can do to improve their image by using a well chosen, friendly servicenumber that is free to call or that has a customer-friendly low call tariff.

If you would like to know more, let our experts contact you, so you can see what we can do for you.

Photo: Flickr/Bryce Johnson

03/08/2015 in :