What is a Contact Centre? The Differences between a Contact Centre and a Call Centre

Contact centres can offer omnichannel customer support, but what else sets them apart from a call centre? Let’s find out…

It’s a common misconception that a contact centre is the same thing as a call centre. While they can share some similarities and have some crossover features, this simply isn’t the case.

Contact centres have become increasingly popular due to the increased number of customer touchpoints they provide and the evolving technology behind them. Meanwhile, call centres take a more traditional approach to customer service.

Here, we’ll define each one and take you through some of their key features and benefits when compared.

What is a Contact Centre?

A contact centre can easily manage all customer interactions across various channels. The agents are usually highly experienced in providing great quality customer experiences through inbound and outbound calls, social media, live chat services, emails, and much more.

They were designed with the modern customer in mind, meaning they’re better equipped to facilitate conversations with customers at their convenience.

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Contact centres often benefit from a few key features, including:

  • Automatic call distribution (ACD) systems and automation, such as chatbots, allow the centres to handle calls, messages, and everything in between quickly and efficiently.
  • Real-time reports enable contact centres to observe and analyse customer service agent performance and customer satisfaction across all channels.
  • The ability to provide support at varying times of day that suit the customer.
  • Agents will coordinate and integrate modern processes and technology across the business to provide the best customer care.
call centre header image graphic

What is a Call Centre?

Meanwhile – as the name suggests – call centres traditionally handle customer inquiries through a single channel of customer calls. There are a few different types of calls that the centres might deal with, which we’ll delve further into below.

Call Centre vs Contact Centre

Each type of centre has its own set of benefits. Here, we’ll compare the two based on their main features and plus points…

Multi-channel vs single channel customer service

One of the main benefits of contact centres is that they allow your agents to work across multiple channels easily. This omnichannel approach means that their customers can contact them in whichever way works best for them and resolve their issues across different channels.

An omnichannel solution can also allow customers to have their issues resolved at a time that’s convenient for them, as opposed to during regular business hours. This can reduce waiting times and allow agents to provide a solution much quicker, which is one of the main reasons for the popularity of contact centres.

Meanwhile, call centres have a singular focus, which is to provide the best quality customer service over the phone. Many call centre agents will be well-trained to provide great quality customer service over the phone, which can help boost a brand’s reputation.

Cost & resources

Because contact centres deal with multiple channels at once, they can have a greater cost attached alongside requiring more from your business resources. However, a contact centre can reduce the strain on your customer service agents in comparison to call centres because they allow for more automation. Chatbot implementation, automatic call distribution, and automated real-time performance and satisfaction reports are all possible with a contact centre.

Although more budget might need to be allocated, it can save money and time in the long run to implement customer service software for omnichannel support. You’ll need to decide what would work best for the scale, size, and budget of your business against the goals already set out.

Repeat customer queries handled over the phone can also end up costing your business more time and money, which can reduce your efficiency. When your agents need to answer multiple calls a day about the same issues, it can take time away from interactions with customers with more complex problems to solve. These customers will often end up frustrated and ultimately dissatisfied with your service, which could reduce your retention rates.


While some call centres with lower call volumes can be productive in their single-channel approach, it can often be frustrating for customers to wait on hold or be passed through different departments on the phone. In fact, this is a common frustration in the customer service journey.

Often, staffing issues and rising call volumes can contribute to dissatisfaction in customer service, even with interactive voice response and automated call routing.

Contact centres can help your e-commerce business hit KPIs such as lowering average handling time and first response time. This is because it can be much easier to respond to common queries using automated chatbots and resolve multiple issues at once through live chat features. Therefore, business productivity is often boosted using contact centres over call centres.

Another benefit of contact centres is that they were designed with the idea that customers expect quick, almost instantaneous responses with the same quality that they’d expect from call centres traditionally. As long as all of your agents are well-trained and prepared to work with multiple channels confidently, your contact centre should be highly efficient and productive.

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