What is a contact center and why do you need one? - CloudTalk (2023)

What is a contact center and why do you need one?

By Natália Mrázová

| 28. December 2021 |

Call Center

What is a contact center and why do you need one? - CloudTalk (1)

If you were to ask anyone what a call center is, most of us would have some idea. We have all had our experiences with either calling a support line or answering a call from a salesperson.

However, if you asked the people about the potential differences between a call center and a contact center, they may struggle to answer.

Both have similar goals and work in almost the same ways, but they have a wide variety of differences too. Today, we’ll talk about what they do and don’t have in common.

What is a contact center?

Even though the phone might seem like the best way to contact someone, not everyone enjoys making or receiving calls.

Furthermore, some social groupsdespise this method of communication. Around75% of Millennials and Gen Z cite time-consuming aspects of calls asthe reason why they avoid phoning peoplein general.

Fortunately,contact centers partially reduce this problemby providing communication methods that suit all personalities and customer types.

Compared to traditional call centers that you are probably familiar with already,a contact center can handle many more communication channels including phone, chat, email, social media, and text messages.

As a result, customers can communicate with a business through the channel they prefer. If they don’t want to talk on the phone, they can send a message through social media or use a live chat widget on the company’s website.Take your pick.

Key features of a contact center

Access to a variety of communication options may sound appealing to potential clients,but it is not always the case with agents. They may feel overwhelmed having to manage multiple independent support channels.

Contact centers are designed to address this potential problem.

In the first instance,contact centers were created as a central hub for all support channels. By having this option, agents can access detailed customer information whenever it is required.

Furthermore, if a customer switches channels midway through contact, agents can follow up quickly.

What are some other contact center features that may grab the attention of customer service professionals?

  • Task automation:using these solutions, agents can automate, delegate, or label tasks. This aids in making customer service more efficient throughout the whole organization.
  • Communication flow:with built-in features, agents can freely communicate, pass on important messages in a safe manner, and quickly access information from specific departments.
  • Self-service options:IVR, scripts, and knowledge bases can help contact centers excel for both agents and customers.
  • Integrations:both internal and external to arm contact centers with real-time analytics, lead generation, and marketing automation.

The features of contact center tools do not end here. With so many options available on the market, selecting one that meets all your needs requires time, research, and taking numerous factors into consideration.This is where ourcomparison of 8 of the best contact center toolsmay come in handy.

What is a call center?

A little bit of coverage never hurts.

A call center can be either a department within a company or sometimes a separate location that is dedicated to sales or customer support.

In an inbound call center, agents take customer service calls or sales requests over the phone from both potential and current clients.

Example:a telecom company might have a call center from where agents handle billing, orders, or technical issues.

In an outbound call center, the situation is the opposite. Agents work on the basis of reaching out to clients, so they are the ones to call prospects regarding sales or customer service matters.

Example:the same telecom company might call its current clients to offer them a hard-to-resist upgrade for half the cost of their existing plan.

One call center can provide both inbound and outbound services.

Types of call centers: On-premises vs cloud-based

Differentiation of the varioustypes of call centersgoes beyond just inbound and outbound.

Until recently, everything that agents needed for their work was located right inside their offices – from the infrastructure required for calling to customer databases.

The amount of money necessary for setting up such anon-premises call centeris quite high, but one of the advantages is that all information is stored securely. Access is restricted to authorized employees, so no one can hack the software or eavesdrop on calls, for example.

However, the entire phone infrastructureis not the only expensive element. The costs of maintaining, upgrading, and sometimes replacing components of an on-premises system could take a noticeable toll on your budget. There’s more to it than just buying a new device and replacing the old one, as compatibility is a key consideration.

Although, there is now another option that is starting to push traditional on-premises systems out of business.Cloud-based call centers with VoIPmean that businesses no longer need to rely on landline infrastructure to make calls. Instead, everything that is required by the platform is hosted on an accessible online server.

Two things are needed to access this kind of service: a device with an internet connection and a VoIP subscription. Companies no longer have to build an entire network of office-wide landlines, maintain or replace them regularly, nor even own or rent physical office space.

When using cloud call center solutions, agents can be located anywhere and still make or answer calls exactly as they would from the office.

As the icing on the cake, VoIP can help businessescut their phone billsby 40% or even 90% if they regularly make overseas calls.

In addition to being more convenient, it’s also more affordable, flexible, and agent-friendly. Especially since the pandemic, cloud-based call center solutions have been supporting millions of professionals Worldwide and are only expected to continue doing so.

What can a call center do?

In short:letting agents handle all types of client issues and assist clients with getting in touch with a brand regarding specific issues.

Here are three factors that determine the capabilities of a call center:

  • How big is the department?A small one, despite its best efforts, may not be as powerful as a large call center.
  • To what degree is it automated?If more processes are automated within a call center, it can run more efficiently.
  • What’s the experience among the team?Agents with years of experience and expertise can handle complex problems faster and more effectively. Plus even help onboarding new team members.

Each and every call center could benefit from the following features:

  • Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)–a system that automatically receives incoming calls and routes them to agents based on their availability and skills. In addition to helping inbound teams sort large volumes of calls, ACD can ensure all customers are assigned to the right agents as quickly as possible, improving customer satisfaction.
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR)–by following a series of prompts, an IVR menu guides customers to the appropriate customer service department or agent. Furthermore, with IVR’s self-service feature, people can find pre-recorded answers to simple questions and solve problems themselves.
  • Call Recording–all of your agents’ calls are automatically recorded without the need for any extra equipment. You can also listen to all stored recordings in the platform at any time, for example, to learn how an agent handled a difficult client.
  • Call Analytics–if you want to improve agents’ performance or boost customer retention, real-time analytics will be invaluable. Whether it’s for overall team performance metrics or specific agent metrics, you can set your analytics dashboard to show you exactly the data you want.

Besides that, modern cloud-based call center solutions offer an array of other internal tools, integrations, and more. It’s therefore important to do your research properly before choosing one.Check out ourbuyer’s guide for call center softwareto make an informed decision.

Call center vs contact center: which to choose?

We have already established that call center solutions handle both inbound and outbound calls, striving to provide outstanding customer service to everyone contacting them via phone solely.

Contact centers work on a variety of channels beyond the phone. Agents are regularly handling not only calls but also emails, live chats, and social media.

What’s the best option for your company?Using our magnifying glass, we examined a few factors to determine some possible use cases.

#1 Language barriers

Some people still get stressed speaking on the phone even if you talk in your native language with another native speaker.

Imagine, then, how difficult it may be for a person who barely speaks the language to call a customer service department of a company located in another country. A company that only speaks one, different language.

Chances are that person will drop the idea of calling at all. Vice Versa, outbound call center agents themselves may not be too willing to contact their clients either.

Because contact centers provide more options in terms of communication channels, everyone can pick the method that suits them best. That means having time for translating messages and avoiding stressful encounters.

#2 Wait times

Configuration and automation are key here.

You may think you have the best customer service team in the world. However, you could be even more effective if you introduced some ways to reduce client wait times.

Contact center tools provide various automation features and channels but wait times may still be quite long if there aren’t enough agents to manage all communication. In this case, consider reducing the number of channels you run to shorten the response time of each or hire more staff.

Implementing a call center may therefore be a better first step if you are just getting started. Then, if your call center gets too small or you find that your customer service needs to be more complex, you might decide to switch to a contact center solution.

#3 Lack of communication

Even the most well-configured contact center or call center might fail if communication skills are lacking or if agents arenot dedicated enough.

In this case, implementing a call center would again be a less risky initial step, as it involves just one single channel of communication. As soon as you masterdealing with unhappy customersthis way, you might consider expanding your customer support with a comprehensive contact center tool.

#4 Your clients’ preferences

There is one more factor you should consider before choosing a contact center or call center solution:your clients. You should look at your customers’ behavior and pick the solution that would be best for them.

If your customers mostly contact you via the phone while other channels are rarely used, choosing a powerful and remote-access-friendly call center platform should be enough to ensure your agents are productive and your customer service is spotless.

In contrast, if your customers want to reach out via several channels and your agents have a hard time managing all of them, implementing an omnichannel contact center could help make your support a breeze.


Call centers and contact centers both have the same objectives:they make it as easy and fast as possible for your customers to get the help they need.

When choosing which one to implement in your business, it is therefore important to put yourself in your customers’ shoes.

If your customers rarely send you messages but your phone rings nonstop, you might benefit most by opting for a call center. However, if you want to give your customers ways to quickly contact you via the method they find most convenient, then a contact center could be right for your business.

Regardless of your choice, you’ll need a robust and intuitive platform to help your sales or support agents perform to the best of their abilities.CloudTalkis here to help with that. You might just rediscover the joy of customer service thanks to the right features, internal tools, and integrations all provided within our platform.Are you in?


Why do you need a contact center? ›

A contact center is a central point from which organizations manage all customer interactions across various channels. Their primary purpose is to offer customers efficient and effective technical support, customer service and sales assistance.

What does contact center mean? ›

A contact center supports customer interactions across a range of channels, including phone calls, email, Web chat, Web collaboration, and the emerging adoption of social media interactions, and is distinct from telephony-only call centers.

Who is a contact Centre agent? ›

A contact center agent, also known as a customer service representative, is the front-line employee that interacts directly with customers and assists with issues such as placing orders, resolving billing issues and answering policy questions.

What are the types of the call center? ›

Types of Call Centers
  • Inbound call center. An inbound call center employs agents who receive calls from customers. ...
  • Outbound call center. In an outbound call center, agents call potential or existing customers rather than receiving calls from them. ...
  • Virtual call center.
May 13, 2019

What is contact center and how it works? ›

A contact center is a department that manages customer interactions across various channels. Along with handling inbound and outbound calls, contact center agents also communicate with customers through email, messaging, chat, and social media.

What are contact center operations? ›

Contact center operations involves duties and roles ranging from day-to-day management and troubleshooting to big-picture decisions on how to measure agent performance and track customer satisfaction levels.

Why do you want to work in a call center for beginners answer? ›

Example: "I would love to work in a call center because I have a deep passion for conversation and finding ways to help clients solve problems. I also love explaining things, so working in a call center where I can help answer questions and explain solutions is something that highly interests me."

What is your idea of a call center best answer? ›

My idea of a call center is that it is a place where people take calls from customers and deliver superb customer service experience. I know that the people who work for call centers are extremely flexible people who adapt to different cultures, different people, and different schedules all at the same time.

What is a call center interview questions? ›

Classic call centre interview questions include:
  • do you have any experience in a call centre?
  • why do you want to work for us as a customer service advisor?
  • do you enjoy communicating with people?
  • how would you deal with an irate customer on the phone?
  • how would you tell a customer something that they will not like?

What are the duties of a contact Centre agent? ›

Job Purpose
  • Be the voice of Emirates and ensure the highest standard of customer service is delivered to Emirates customers by providing information about our products and services.
  • Identify customer needs through rapport building, actively seeking out sales opportunities and promoting all Emirates related products.
Apr 26, 2022

What are the most important skills for a call center representative? ›

Top Qualities of a Successful Call Center Agent
  • Effective Communication Skills. The nature of the work demands good communication skills. ...
  • Knowledge Retention and Recall. ...
  • Ability to Handle Pressure. ...
  • Speed and Efficiency. ...
  • Creative Problem Solving. ...
  • Emotional Stability. ...
  • Empathy. ...
  • Organizational Ability.

What makes a good call center agent? ›

Great Communication Skills

Communication is one of the key skills that are a must for every call center agent. The agent must not only have great communication skills and be able to convey the required message but also be a patient listener to be able to hear and understand what the client has to say.

What are the 4 customer types? ›

4 Customer Personality Types & How To Handle Them
  • The Analytical. People who possess this personality look for facts and figures in a sales presentation. ...
  • The Amiable. The Amiable are respectful, sociable, and trustworthy. ...
  • The Expressive. ...
  • The Driver.
Nov 16, 2017

What is the 4 types of call center? ›

Types of call centers
  • Inbound call centers. An inbound call center receives calls coming into the company. ...
  • Outbound call centers. ...
  • Automated call centers. ...
  • Multichannel call centers. ...
  • Omnichannel call centers. ...
  • Virtual call centers.

Why do you want to work in a call center no experience? ›

There is more to learn in a call center than knowing how to answer the phone. From patience to versatility to honing communication and people skills, the industry will push you to your limits to see what you can do. “Being in a call center is taking over a whole new profession.

What is the difference between call center and contact center? ›

Call centers and contact centers both provide customer service and outreach, but they differ in the communication channels they use. Call centers use one channel -- the phone -- while contact centers use several channels. Call centers emerged in a time before digital channels.

What is the difference between call Centre and contact center? ›

A call center, as its name suggests, focuses on customer service over the phone. A contact center handles a variety of channels for customer service.

How do you manage contact center? ›

How do you effectively manage a call center?
  1. Hire the best employees. ...
  2. Provide comprehensive training and onboarding. ...
  3. Cultivate a coaching culture. ...
  4. Communicate with employees regularly. ...
  5. Ensure proper scheduling. ...
  6. Balance workflow to meet demand. ...
  7. Use data to make sound decisions. ...
  8. Use call monitoring tools.

How can I improve my contact center performance? ›

Six ways to improve call center agent performance & experience
  1. Establish best practices for common problems. ...
  2. Provide ongoing training for agents at every level. ...
  3. Invest in intelligent call routing. ...
  4. Single pane of glass visibility. ...
  5. Harness live call recordings. ...
  6. Listen to what employees have to say.

What is the purpose of call center in communication? ›

A call center is a centralized department that handles inbound and outbound calls from current and potential customers. Call centers are located either within an organization or outsourced to another company that specializes in handling calls.

Why should we hire you answer best? ›

Show that you have skills and experience to do the job and deliver great results. You never know what other candidates offer to the company. But you know you: emphasize your key skills, strengths, talents, work experience, and professional achievements that are fundamental to getting great things done on this position.

Why should we hire you with no experience answer? ›

Being a fresher, I think I am very flexible and adaptive to learning new things. I am sure, I will be able to contribute something capable to the growth of the company. I am a fresher, I Don't have any experience but I have a good academic record as well as good knowledge of subjects.

Why do we hire you sample answer? ›

For starters, I have all the skills and experience listed in the job description, and I'm confident that I can make an immediate impact on your company. It's not just my background in leading successful projects for Fortune 500 companies, but also my passion for the industry that drives me to succeed.

What is your expectation on Contact Center? ›

Solve their problems

At the root of every customer inquiry is a desire for a quick solution and with each call transfer, customers lose patience. According to the Talkdesk report, the number one and most important priority for customers are to talk with a skilled agent and to have their problems solved quickly.

What are the most common call center interview questions? ›

I'm going to read out some examples of behavioral based interview questions that are specific to call center interviews. Tell me about a time when you had to quickly learn the details of a company's product or service. Describe a time when you had to resolve a complaint from a customer or client.

What is your strength best answer? ›

When answering, mention what your top strengths are, provide examples on how you've used them in the past, and finally, describe the results you've gotten. Be super specific with your answers. Don't just say “I'm good at X” - really dive deep and give the interviewer a comprehensive answer.

How can I introduce myself in call center interview? ›

I am naturally curious, always interested to learn something new, and I have experience with different areas of customer service: phone support, mail support, face to face, live chat. I believe your team can benefit from my experience, and I decided to apply with you.

How should a beginner answer a call center interview? ›

Call Center Interview Beginner Tips
  1. Focus on your introduction. Beginner call center applicants fail to introduce themselves because they copy answers from the internet. ...
  2. Get used to asking questions. ...
  3. Practice giving instructions. ...
  4. Telling stories.

How do you see yourself 5 years from now sample answer call center? ›

“I look forward to learn new skills and improve my knowledge to advance my career. In five years from now, I see myself as a knowledgeable professional having an in-depth knowledge of the company and the industry.

How do I describe my call center experience on a resume? ›

Resume example highlighting call center skills

Customer service professional with several years of demonstrated excellence in achieving company goals and successfully assisting customers. Strong problem solver with the multitasking ability to handle several customer needs with ease.

What are the 3 most important things in customer service? ›

Essentially, the 3 important qualities of customer service center around three “p”s: professionalism, patience, and a “people-first” attitude. Although customer service varies from customer to customer, as long as you're following these guidelines, you're on the right track.

What do you think are the 3 main qualities of a call center? ›

8 Most Important Qualities Of A Call Center Agent
  • Creative problem-solving. A call center agent will deal with a variety of challenges every day. ...
  • Empathy. Being an agent is hard. ...
  • Organization. ...
  • Effective communication skills. ...
  • Calm under pressure. ...
  • Good memory. ...
  • Optimistic. ...
  • Team player.
Nov 20, 2021

What is your weakness as a call center agent? ›

Common areas of call center agent weakness are largely due to inexperience in handling live (and sometimes frustrated and nasty) customers, and a lack of in-depth knowledge of systems, products, policies and procedures. Most of these areas can be improved over time.

What are soft skills in call center? ›

Soft skills refer to the abilities used to delight a customer that don't relate to your product, service, or company. These are nontechnical skills like interpersonal communication, personality traits, and social awareness, which all play an important role in customer experience.

What is a good quality call? ›

Call quality measures the efficiency and effectiveness of conversations between customer service representatives and customers. High-quality calls are polite, professional, understanding, timely, and effective at solving the problem at hand.

What is the difference between call center and contact center? ›

Call centers and contact centers both provide customer service and outreach, but they differ in the communication channels they use. Call centers use one channel -- the phone -- while contact centers use several channels. Call centers emerged in a time before digital channels.

What is your expectation on contact center? ›

Solve their problems

At the root of every customer inquiry is a desire for a quick solution and with each call transfer, customers lose patience. According to the Talkdesk report, the number one and most important priority for customers are to talk with a skilled agent and to have their problems solved quickly.

Why is there a software for every work or function in a contact center? ›

The software allows agents to respond to urgent calls in a timely manner while improving their productivity. A call center is essential for every business to handle all customer-related inquiries. It's so much more than a tool to pick up calls at times and provide clients with good service.

What technology would you use as a contact centre agent? ›

CTI is a type of technology that enables computer and telephone systems to interact together. Contact centers implementing CTI can use computers to manage all telephone calls, which in turn leads to increased efficiency and better results.

What are the 4 main customer needs? ›

There are four main customer needs that an entrepreneur or small business must consider. These are price, quality, choice and convenience.

What are the 6 customer expectations? ›

10 customer service expectations you can't ignore
  • Personalized experiences. Customers expect to be treated as distinct, unique individuals. ...
  • Privacy and data protection. ...
  • Omnichannel support. ...
  • Rapid response time. ...
  • Self-service options. ...
  • Proactive customer support. ...
  • Digital innovation. ...
  • User-friendly interactions.
Feb 4, 2022

Why do you want to work in a call center for beginners answer? ›

Example: "I would love to work in a call center because I have a deep passion for conversation and finding ways to help clients solve problems. I also love explaining things, so working in a call center where I can help answer questions and explain solutions is something that highly interests me."

Why do you want to work in a call center no experience? ›

There is more to learn in a call center than knowing how to answer the phone. From patience to versatility to honing communication and people skills, the industry will push you to your limits to see what you can do. “Being in a call center is taking over a whole new profession.

What are the tools and equipment used in contact center services? ›

Top 10 Call Center Tools & Features Used by Support Agents
  • Help desk software.
  • CRM software.
  • Desktop softphone and mobile app.
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
  • Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)
  • Call recording.
  • Call queue.
  • Dashboards & call analytics.
Sep 29, 2021

Why is call center technology important? ›

In fact, 93% of contact centers agree that technology is very important for creating a better customer experience. Call center technology encompasses a wide range of software and hardware that does everything from automating processes to managing customer relationships, analyzing data, to predicting behaviors.

What are the six fundamental principles of customer service? ›

Here are the Six Principles of Customer Service
  • 1) Response Time. Out of all the principles that come with customer service, this one should seem the most fundamental. ...
  • 2) Context, Perspective, Empathy. We've all been there. ...
  • 3) No Room for Interpretation. ...
  • 4) Action. ...
  • 5) Lack of Friction. ...
  • 6) Accountability.
Jun 12, 2017

What's new in call center industry? ›

Businesses are getting deeper into predictive analytics, using artificial intelligence (AI) applications to help streamline call center experiences for customers and agents. We are seeing that, as early adopters continue honing AI applications for call routing, AI will become more widely applied.

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