With the advancement in technology and stiff competition in the market, the need to evolve has become the most dire prerequisite to flourish. For businesses to grow and reach above their expected profit margins, it is essential for them to focus on the sole purpose behind their existence i.e. reaching out with better products and services to customers.
In present times, products for almost all brands have reached parity. However, it is services provided after the sale of products that determines brand loyalty of customers.Keeping this perspective of customer service in mind, there are two different platforms which have been in existence for some years – call centers and contact centers. So, what are the points of difference between the two?
The similarity between the two modes of customer service is they both focus on customer engagement and servicing, however the difference lies in the bandwidth of reaching out to customers.
Call centers are considered as the traditional model, and they focus primarily on the mode of voice communication, along with inbound and outbound calls. These calls can involve orders, customer service, billing calls, and even tech supports for clients. However, contact centers differentiate themselves by providing a more elaborative platform for communication that is apart from the traditional voice process methods, they also channelize e-mails, online chats, and social media to bring in prospects or provide more convenient servicing to the existing customer depending on their comfort level with the technology.
Studies also show that “92% of organizations that view customer experience as a differentiator offer multiple contact channels.” In other words, it is the Omnichannel presence of contact centers that has provided customers with the power to engage with companies or brands in many different ways, across different platforms of their preference.
Using contact centers for the purpose of servicing customers has opened up new dimensions for traditional business setups and has brought more opportunities for expansion. Customers are pretty sensitive and selective when it comes to services.
A customer may prefer an average product and exceptional service over a product which is an excellent one. A business is said to be a winner and will thrive in the economy for a much longer period if its customer satisfaction level is good and the quality of the same is maintained at all times. Therefore, maintaining customer service level at par excellence is the need for an hour.
Many customers may prefer speaking to a representative over call and getting things done. However, some may also prefer instant resolution to queries over other mediums, and online chat has become very handy in achieving the same. Also in today’s hectic world, all that is required is convenience and reliability and they can be best achieved through contact centers. When we are providing solutions over different platforms of communication, we are actually removing barriers to do business, It has tremendous effects on profit margins in the long run.
Let us take live chat for an example – the benefit of this medium over phone calls is that we are presenting instant query resolution through virtual agents, rather than waiting in queue over calls. Extended calls might make a customer irate, however the instant chat feature of contact centers enables higher satisfaction level.
A call center, especially because it can be outsourced to a third party, can alleviate the demands on your business. This may suffice the need of small businesses where the focus is more on core operational activities or short term goals, rather than focusing on support functions. Using the traditional model of servicing may be the right choice for organizations that only needs to provide customer support through calls.
However, when a company is looking for expansion or scaling up business, it is highly crucial to stay ahead of competition. Therefore, deployment of the idea of contact centers becomes the need of the hour. Call centers may appear to be cheap for a while but for businesses to expand, it is necessary that they evolve in technology process with proper tools in place, to operate efficiently and effectively.
Contact centers unlike call centers use an Omnichannel platform for employing customer engagement in an effective manner. Therefore, the likeliness of success of contact centers will be quite higher in terms of business effectiveness. However, the need of any one of them totally depends on the requirement of appropriate technology, budget, business objectives and customer base.