What’s the Difference Between Call Centers, Contact Centers, and IP Contact Centers?

In today’s market, whether you’re a small start-up or an enterprise level corporation, expectations from customers are the same across the board. The driving force behind customer retention, satisfaction, and up-selling is the idea of “customer experience”.

In a recent study by Walker, it was found that by 2020, customer experience will be the newly defined brand differentiator, overshadowing price or the product itself. Companies must learn to adapt to the high standards set forth by customers in all aspects of their experience with companies.

One way to maximize your customer satisfaction is through optimizing your support system. A large portion of the American public, 33 percent to be specific, said that they would leave a company after just one bad customer service experience. In the realm of customer support, there are many options to choose from, including call centers, contact centers, and IP contact centers. But what are the differences between these options?

Call centers

A call center is exactly what one would imagine. There are representatives or agents who are in charge of incoming and outbound phone calls between businesses and customers. This typically requires office space and landline operations. The productivity of the center is often measured by the amount of calls resolved and often pushes agents to have shorter conversations, leading to some frustrations for customers.

However, call centers can still be seen as valuable to some businesses, since they increase the personalization of the experience and can help build up their brand. Call centers are often used to build a customer base by solving problems with the client or following up with surveys in outbound phone calls.

Contact centers

Contact centers are different from call centers in that, while they do have a call center component, they also communicate with clients over many communication channels. These channels include email, instant messaging, web based chat, and more. These connections can either be described as multichannel or omnichannel.

Multichannel contact centers can communicate via any of these means with their customer, but often these conversations are separated and typically with separate agents. This is opposed to omnichannel, where the different lines of communication are all tracked and used for the same customer, so that they do not have to repeat themselves when the switch to a different medium. Simply put, this unifies their experience.

IP contact centers

The IP (internet protocol) contact center is inherently different from non-IP contact centers in that communication from a customer can be routed to any agent that is anywhere with a broadband connection.

This essentially eliminates the need for a centralized contact center and can spread the agent pool across a large geographic area, downsizing costs for upkeep and infrastructure updates. Both voice and media communication data can be transferred to an agent in this method. IP contact centers can be seen as a cheaper, faster, and more effective way to communicate with customers.

With the demand for an improved customer experience, it’s important to weigh your options in terms of customer support and service. When done well, it can build your customer base, help customer retention, and improve overall profits for your business. You can choose to have support “in house”, or use a business process outsourcer. For example, companies like brightpattern.com offer businesses a simple yet powerful cloud-based omnichannel contact center to unify all your communications.

There is no reason to be left behind in the market of customer experience when there are methods to bring you up to speed and keep you competitive.

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