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

A call center is important for achieving business efficiency, greater sales, and increased customer satisfaction.  Customers use call centers to contact company representatives and quickly obtain answers to their questions.  Call center agents can help build brand awareness and help their organizations achieve a competitive advantage in the marketplace.  When customers have a positive experience with an organization’s call center, they are more likely to become loyal repeat customers.

That being said, in a recent PwC survey1 bad experience is driving customers away, with 32% of consumers willing to walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience.  Yet 54% of US consumers say customer experience needs improvement.

What is a call center?

A call center is a department or an office in which incoming and outgoing telephone calls from both new and existing customers are handled by a team of agents.  It is traditional for organizations to have call centers for the purposes of:

However, with the advent of social media and smartphones each of these functions have expanded greatly in the past few years, which has led to the emergence of the contact center.

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

A call center differs from a contact center in that it traditionally only deals with voice calls. As soon as the call center handles queries from another channel of contact – whether that’s email, live chat, messaging etc. – it becomes the contact center.

However, while this is technically the case almost all organizations now handle customer queries over email, social media as well as the phone, the industry is yet to shrug off the call center label.   So the terms “call center” and “contact center” are now often used interchangeably.

Today’s demanding customers have little patience to wait in a queue for customer service agents to answer their questions. They will try to find answers on their own and then use a multiplicity of channels (e.g., phone, email, web chat, or social) to contact companies if self-service tools fail to satisfy their requests2.  Customers increasingly leverage self-service and agent-assisted digital communication channels for customer service, as these channels offer minimal interaction friction.

Customer expectations are always changing, and these needs are being met with a wide range of channels and technology than ever before.   Now, all of these interactions, touchpoints, events and transactions are becoming part of a growing cloud-based ecosystem that can enable all employees to better serve their customers.  The cloud-based systems offer complete mobility and access to an entire ecosystem of applications that you need to deliver the best, personalized experience for your customers.

1Experience is everything: Here’s how to get it right, PwC, Apr 2018

2Your Customers don’t want to call you, Forrester, Feb 2016

What is Cloud Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)?

CCaaS is defined as call center software that is hosted in the cloud instead of on-premise.  CCaaS providers maintain and develop the software which allows call centers to focus on providing better customer experiences.

Gartner3 views that CCaaS is on its way to becoming the preferred deployment model for contact centers and estimates that by 2022, 50% of contact centers will be using CCaaS, up from approximately 10% in 2019.  Companies of all sizes realize that the cloud offers:

What are the benefits of CCaaS?

There are several benefits of deploying a comprehensive CCaaS solution:

Masergy’s comprehensive CCaaS solution

Masergy’s CCaaS solution is globally available and built on the BroadWorks platform by Cisco.  Masergy has embedded the Cisco Contact Center application into our software defined network platform.  This enables scalable and consistent service delivery with unsurpassed user experiences on a global scale.

Masergy is Cisco’s #1 Premier Partner for contact centers and we have successfully deployed more Cisco contact centers than any other Cisco partner in the world.

Features of Masergy’s CCaaS solution:

CCaaS Success Stories

One of our CCaaS customers is global firm with a fully-integrated subscription commerce platform.  They were faced with the challenge of managing multiple regional vendors and their legacy on-premise solution did not scale and support the company’s growth so they turned to Masergy for their CCaaS and UCaaS solution.  They realized numerous benefits:

Another CCaaS customer is a global designer and manufacturer of outdoor sports clothing turned to Masergy for their managed SD-WAN, UCaaS & CCaaS solutions.  They were faced with the challenge of managing multiple call centers around the globe and their existing network was not able to support the company’s cloud-first digital transformation goals.  They realized:

Why Masergy CCaaS?

To deliver on today’s digital business initiatives, you need an agile and secure platform that maximizes global scalability. Two decades ago, Masergy pioneered software-defined networking and continues to innovate solutions that deliver positive outcomes for your organization.  Masergy enables unrivaled application performance across the network and the cloud with Managed SD-WAN, UCaaS, CCaaS and Managed Security solutions. Industry-leading SLAs coupled with an unparalleled customer experience enable global organizations to achieve business outcomes with certainty.