Call Center Vs. Contact Center: A Comprehensive Guide


The differentiating line between contact centers and call centers is blurry yet crucial. Business owners must know how these centers are unique from one another to decide the ideal solution for their business needs, as a single negative communication with customers can adversely impact their trust in your organization.

call center vs contact center

Call center solutions were primarily the benchmark for customer service. However, the advent of digitization and the latest technological innovations has redefined the concept of customer service for plenty of organizations. The surging demand for digital channel development led to the digital transformation of call centers into contact centers. 

Despite the similarities, these two centers differ in terms of technology, agent skills, customer self-service (CSS), data, and channels. So, let’s understand the key differences between these two customer service solutions in-depth. 

Call Center Vs. Contact Center: Key Differences

1. Customer Communication Channels 

  • For Call Center: Only Phone
  • For Contact Center: Phone, Social Media, Live Chat, Text Messaging, Email, and more

The most fundamental difference between a call center and a contact center is the channels they leverage for elevating customer engagement. Call Centers, as indicated by the name, only leverages the phone channel to interact with customers. As communications via phone occur in real-time, a call takes away the agent’s ability to think clearly. So, you’ll have to boost your staffing to deal with customers during peak volume hours. However, the increase in employees will require extra expense to run the team. 

In contrast, contact centers leverage multiple digital channels, including social media, email, live chat, phone, and others, to ensure maximum customer engagement. When compared to the use of the phone as a single communication channel, leveraging services via multi-channel provides swift delivery of solutions and enhanced customer experiences. For instance, by using email, you’ll be able to delegate the workload more efficiently among the team members. Moreover, there will be reduced workloads/staffing as a single agent can deal with three or more chat interactions simultaneously with customers. 

Customers have significantly adopted the latest technologies to become more digitally advanced in the last few years. Most customers now spend six hours of their day online. To meet the ever-increasing customer expectations, businesses extend their customer service on different communication channels. This enables customers the freedom and comfort to address their issues on a platform of their preference. Using the best contact center services will help your business effortlessly communicate with customers while ensuring a multichannel experience. 

2. Utilization 

  • For Call Centers: Telemarketing, Technical Support, and Sales 
  • For Contact Centers: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Customer Service 

Today, several businesses opt for contact centers to utilize their customer relationship management and omnichannel customer support service. Technophiles prefer contact centers as they enable connected customer experiences across different platforms. Thus, contact centers have become essential for utilization in industries like travel, hospitality, education, and healthcare, which require multichannel communication. 

As the sole purpose of call centers is to provide phone-based communication services, they are typically utilized for making outbound and inbound calls only. For instance, call center services are utilized for handling sales and telemarketing, besides technical assistance. It’s likely to be preferred among the industries like manufacturing, banking and financing, and non-profit. So, if you’re connected to one of these industries with a customer base that inclines towards traditional communication channels like phones, then a call center solution is perfect for you.

3. Effectiveness In Queue Management

contact center vs call center

  • For Call Centers: Call Distribution
  • For Contact Centers: Multichannel Queue Management 

For routing the customer queries and complaints coming in via every channel, you will need omnichannel queue management. 

Nowadays, technologically-advanced contact center software comes with advanced queue management. It effectively prevents routing emails or chat conversations to the representatives when they’re busy on a call. It not only saves the time of the contact center admin or manager but also enhances support effectiveness. 

Contact centers leverage automation for routing tickets to the suited representative based on the channel, past customer history, keywords, and skills. It helps your business effortlessly reduce the customer’s resolution time while enabling a streamlined customer experience. 

However, all sorts of customer interactions take place in a call center via phone channels only. A call center doesn’t use a multichannel routing system. Their software has an automated call distribution system, which routes every call to the right representative. This benefits the call center managers with enhanced operational efficiency. 

4. Workforce Management 

  • For Call Centers: High dependence on agents 
  • For Contact Centers: Low or minimal reliance on agents 

It’s no secret that a call center heavily relies on the workforce. As phone communications occur in real-time, communicating via call can consume the call center rep’s bandwidth. Thus, the best solution to deal with peak volume hours is to elevate the staffing process. You may even need to hire seasonal employees for the seasonal workload. In both cases, you’ll have to pay additional expenses. 

Instead of using a single communication channel, using multiple ones can help your business avoid the need for scaling teams while ensuring top-notch customer service. The ability of a contact center agent to deliver quick resolutions to three or more customers at a time makes it an effective and better solution than the call center solution. 

5. Reactive vs. Proactive 

  • For Call Centers: Only reactive support 
  • For Contact Centers: Both reactive and proactive support 

Proactive customer support has become increasingly significant in today’s world as customers constantly prefer brands that ensure excellent customer experiences. The consequence of bad customer service can be severe as you can lose one out of three customers. 

Contact centers utilize digital space for their operation, so they have a cutting edge over call centers in terms of proactive support. The availability and plentitude of data offered by a cloud-based solution resemble the entire customer journey. 

The agents become capable of tracking indications of annoyance like dead clicks or rage clicks on the website. Thus, they proactively connect with those customers to offer them immediate assistance. Like several other brands, we have also adopted a proactive customer service approach, but later on. 

Call centers still rely on single-channel communication via phone, so they may still be incapable of assuming issues precisely, unlike contact centers. Even if they manage to capture data, it will only resemble a single piece of the big picture without sourcing the needful insights for an effective proactive support strategy. 

6. Self-Service Management 

  • For Call Centers: IVR system 
  • For Contact Centers: Chatbot support, a self-service portal, community forms 

For the past few decades, customers could only get in touch with a brand’s customer service team via calls. Progressively, with the rapid evolution of the communication channels and the increasing popularity of emails, customers won’t have to be on hold to interact with an agent. All they have to do now is send a detailed paragraph of their issues to the customer service team. In either case, customers were dependent on the workload management and timing of the customer reps. 

Fast forward to today, customers prefer to get their queries resolved on their own. 

For instance, contact centers enable you to embed a chatbot into your website’s self-service portal. Thus, when customers are reading a solution-based blog on your website and are still facing any confusion, they can immediately reach you via the chatbot. If, in a rare case scenario, the chatbot fails to answer their queries, a contact center agent will take over the issue and offer an instant solution. It will still ensure a seamless customer experience as the agent has prior insight and expertise on the issue, which gets captured as a chat or logged as a ticket in the software. 

Meanwhile, call centers now bring interactive voice response (IVR) to the customers, which, to be honest, is time-consuming. Moreover, it’s not that easy to get in touch with a call center agent as the problem of long queue hours remains unsolved. Thus, businesses are using call center software that comes with voice bots to resolve queries on time and enhance customer satisfaction with instant solutions. 

7. Workflow Automations 

  • For Call Centers: Call routing, outbound dialing, automation on voice mails
  • For Contact Centers: Time-based triggers and automation on assignment, updates, and ticket creation

Apart from routing tickets, a contact center service enables seamless automation for categorizing tickets, updating their properties, and determining and ending the loop with customers. Moreover, contact center solutions come up with explicitly designed characteristics to enhance the agent’s productivity. Agents get more time for customer engagement with features like ticketing templates, canned forms, and canned responses. This lowers the chance of agents’ exhaustion and keeps them on their senses. 

In contrast, call center software enables enhanced productivity via automation like power dialers for automating outbound dialing, personalized voicemail messages, drop voicemails, etc. 

Call Center vs. Contact Center: Which Is The Ideal Choice For Your Business? 

call center vs contact center

There’s no doubt that call center services are excellent for businesses having a voice call-dependent customer base. It benefits your organization to ensure great customer service by taking international calls without any roaming charges, getting in-depth reports on sales calls, and setting up a result-oriented routing system. 

However, it’s imperative to know that not all customers use their phones to contact your customer service department. Today’s technologically-advanced customers feel more comfortable contacting agents via social media, chat, text, or email. Many customers consider phone calls as their last option. This is where leveraging the modern contact center services comes to help. It enables your business to address customer inquiries, complaints, or suggestions via omnichannel customer support. 

Conclusively, contact centers are the ideal choice in this fast-paced digitized world where everyone seeks a more convenient and digitized mode of communication to get in touch with businesses. Although call centers are not bad, they are only best for some specific industries where customers prefer traditional calling methods for customer support. Keeping in mind that call center services are slowly becoming obsolete, start the contact center service approach beforehand. 

Get The Best Customer Service Solution With Invensis 

We at Invensis help businesses with both call center and contact services. Our experts also consult your company to suggest the ideal customer service solution for their business model. We consider CRM integration, software consolidation, automation, and skills-based routing to determine the best solution that will drive your business towards the future. We know what your employees need and what a customer wants and use that knowledge to build a future-proof, scalable, cost-effective, and contextual customer service solution for your business. So, come and leverage the power of Invnesis for a better tomorrow. 


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