The Difference Between a Call Center and Contact Center
The main difference between a call center and a contact center can be discerned by their names. A call center only uses voice communications, whereas a contact center involves multiple forms of communication.
Call centers can take inbound calls, outbound calls, or a combination of the 2 (known as a blended call center). Call centers can run on traditional phone lines or VoIP, although VoIP provides greater reliability as well as the option of incorporating helpful business tools.
A contact center encompasses calls and additional forms of communication like instant messaging, email, video, and fax. VoIP technology enabled businesses to set up advanced contact centers with unified communications. UC, as unified communications is more commonly known, integrates all communication channels into the one system.
How a VoIP System Can Improve Your Call Center
VoIP offers a number of advantages over traditional phone lines when it comes to call centers. VoIP is cheaper to set up and cheaper to run. It is more reliable, with superior audio quality. And it offers greater security, including the ability to encrypt the end-to-end communication between your agents and your customers.
Here are some other ways VoIP can enhance your call center:
- Multi-level auto attendant, call queuing, and hold music, letting your agents handle customers as efficiently as possible.
- Call recording as well as real-time monitoring, for quality control and performance assessment.
- Call recording, enabling your agents to easily refer back to calls and voice messages.
- Real-time and historical analytics on agent call times and performance.
- Instant escalation, enabling supervisors to jump into calls.
- Advance warning of unwanted spam calls before picking up the phone.
- Plus all the features you’d expect of a traditional phone line, including call forwarding, caller ID, and voicemail.
How a VoIP System Can Improve Your Contact Center
Contact centers rely on having a full omnichannel solution with all modes of communication working in tandem. The best VoIP providers offer all-around solutions including integration of third-party CRM software like Salesforce and Zendesk.
Here are some of the features VoIP can bring to your contact center:
- Video conferencing, chat, and file sharing by companies like Vonage Business, usually powered by third-party software from the likes of Amazon Chime.
- Visual voicemail, transcribing voicemail to text and sending it straight to inbox.
- Mobile app for remotely based agents, including all the same features as desktop software, as well as the ability to make or receive calls using office number. RingCentral offers these features.
- Unified communications, enabling the use of multiple forms of communication (e.g. audio, chat, file sharing) with each customer from the one dashboard.
- Simultaneous ringing to office phone, mobile phone, and any other nominated device.
- Useful mobile features such as paperless fax, which lets you send or receive faxes from your smartphone.
Advanced Tools to Boost Your Contact Center
Omnichannel solutions are the latest trend in VoIP for business, with several top providers rolling out omnichannel software to further enhance their clients’ contact centers.
Here are some of the ways VoIP can help you with your advanced contact center:
- Real-time insights into caller sentiment, helping your agents make better decisions and provide better support.
- Interactive voice response (IVR), enabling your customers to perform routine actions over the phone before being connected to a live agent.
- Automated call distribution (ACD), which routes calls to the right agent according to the business’s preset rules.
- Advanced real-time and historical analytics, making it easier to assess individual customers and agents.
- Social media interaction, helping your agents identify relevant questions and comments on social media when speaking with customers.
- Omnichannel routing, a tool that lets customers reach you on the most convenient channel (e.g. phone, chat, video) at that moment.
- Click-to-call, lets customers call your business straight from their desktop or mobile while browsing your website.
- Workforce optimization tools such as streamlined agent scheduling.
- Speech analytics, analyzes only the most important customer interactions instead of just a random selection of calls.
Choosing the Best VoIP Solution for Your Call or Contact Center
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all VoIP solution for call centers and contact centers. Before comparing VoIP service providers, understand whether you need call center solutions or contact center solutions. That way you’ll avoid overpaying for a bunch of features you don’t need or, alternatively, underpaying and not making full use of everything VoIP has to offer. And of course, don’t always compare multiple VoIP solutions for call/contact centers before settling on one.