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What is a Contact Center?

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What is a Contact Center?

A contact center is a central point from where all customer interactions with the organization are handled. Contact centers handle inbound and outbound communications through multiple channels such as telephone, social media, text, fax, email, chat, and traditional mail.

Contact centers often use various technologies to automate tasks and resolve customer concerns quickly. Some examples of technology used by call centers include VoIP (voice over internet protocol) predictive dialers and IVR (interactive voice response).

Contact centers are becoming important for brands due to the increasing importance of customer experience. Contact centers play a vital role in providing a seamless customer experience and gathering major customer insights.

What is a contact center used for?

Providing Omnichannel Customer Service 

A contact center allows customers to contact your organization to resolve any issue instantly. Contact centers enable businesses to provide omnichannel support over multiple channels to ease customer effort and ensure high customer engagement. 

Self-Service for customers 

A contact center can provide self-service options for customers. Customers can chat with the live bot, live agent, send an email or have a conversation with an IVR to solve their queries without talking to an agent over a call. This reduces the workload on the customer service team while improving customer satisfaction scores. 

Brand Promotion 

Contact centers can be used to circulate promotional messages on a large scale. This increases brand visibility and improves customer brand perception. 

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What is the difference between a Call Center and a Contact Center?

Call centers and contact centers are almost used interchangeably but they differ on major points. 

Communication Channels 

Call centers make and receive communications with customers only through telephone/calls. Contact centers, on the other hand, can communicate with customers through VoIP telephone services, email, text chat, direct website interface, and more. 

Most call centers today are contact centers as technological advancements have increased the ways in which people can communicate. Businesses must address the current reality by facilitating communications through a variety of modes.

Agent Skill Set 

In a call center, the agent is required to have good communication skills while handling the customer queries on the call. But an omnichannel contact center agent is required to have excellent oral and written communication skills as they represent the brand over multiple channels. 


The contact center agent training must include social media etiquette along with multi-tasking customer queries and product training to assist the customers. A call center agent will not communicate over emails or written channels which reduces the training curriculum for the call center agents. 


The contact center productivity reports need to include queries resolved in multiple channels and need to consider agent activity based on multiple variables. The call center agent productivity reports can consider only the agent activities on the phone to calculate multiple KPIs. 

Omnichannel Routing 

The incoming consumer queries need to be organized in an universal queue according to the importance of the type of query. For example, an incoming product assistance query is in higher priority than the live chat message. Such a queue mechanism isn’t required in a call center where all calls are queued in the incoming order. 

Though they are different, contact centers and call centers share the same goal of improving customer service

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What are different types of contact centers?

Inbound Contact Center

Inbound contact centers tend to incoming communications from callers/customers. These contact centers are usually created for customer service and their main objective is to respond to customer issues like service questions, sales inquiries, technical concerns, and general help.

Outbound Contact Center

Outbound contact centers are what businesses use to reach out to their customers. These centers are usually used for marketing and sales purposes. Some outbound call centers can even place automated calls to customers for self-completion of a pre-recorded survey.

Multichannel Contact Center

Multichannel contact centers facilitate communications through modes beyond just phone and email. These contact centers can provide support through social media, mobile apps, chatbots, websites, SMS, and more.

Omnichannel Contact Center

Similar to multichannel contact centers, omnichannel contact centers also use various modes of communications to deliver service to their customers. However, the pivotal difference between the two is that omi-channel contact centers can seamlessly integrate all communications from all modes into one single integrated platform. This ensures that all data collected is easily available and accessible in one place.

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What are the key features of a Contact Center?

The following are a few key features that good contact centers must have:

Advanced Call Distribution and Skill-based Routing

Contact centers are often equipped with features that efficiently distribute calls, and ensure calls are routed to agents best qualified to respond to them. An example of a feature that does so is IVR. IVR significantly increases first call resolution (FCR) and reduces the average time in queue.

Real-Time Reporting

Contact centers keep track of agent performance and customer satisfaction through various metrics that are reflected on dashboards. Keeping track of these metrics helps call centers identify the ways in which they can improve by highlighting areas of weakness in the call center.

Call Recording

Contact centers often have the ability of live call monitoring and the ability to record full or partial calls. This allows recorded conversations to be used for training purposes in order to provide better customer service and improve customer experience (CX).

Power Dialing 

Power dialers allow agents to select phone numbers from a stored list, eliminating the need for manual dialing. These dialers increase agent productivity by allowing them to focus wholly on their calls rather than dialing as well. 

Call Whispering and Live Coaching

With call whispering, supervisors can not only listen to calls between agents and customers but can also “live coach” the agent without the caller being able to hear this interaction. This is an important feature for quality control as it facilitates coaching new agents or helping agents through difficult calls.

Call Transferring and Conferencing 

This feature enables multiple agents and/or supervisors to be on call with a customer. Additionally, call transferring allows agents to transfer calls to other agents or supervisors in case the first agent cannot address the caller’s concern.

FAQs on Call Centers

What is call center outsourcing?

Call center outsourcing is when businesses hire an external organization that specializes in managing sales, appointment setting, inbound customer care, technical support, compliance, and other call center functions.

What type of business is a contact center?

Contact centers are usually categorized as business-to-business (B2B) companies. They’re also a part of the telecommunications industry and business process outsourcing.

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