What is a Call Center? And Other Related Terms

What is a call center

Call Center Definition

A Call Center is a business department or office responsible for handling the incoming and outgoing calls between the company and the customers or potential customers. The people that operate the calls are known as call center agents or representatives.

Not all companies have a call center department. Companies establish a call center operation when they have a high call volume. Call Center departments can be managed internally as a centralized part of the company or externally by hiring an outsourcing company.

However, call centers play an essential role since they are known as the voice and ears of the company because of the direct communication the consumers have with the company.

 

Call Center vs. Contact Center

Call Center and Contact Center are mutual terms used even though there are some differences between the two of them.

Let us define what a contact center is.

A Contact Center handles inquiries from multiple contact channels, including voice, text, live chat, SMS, or even social media.

Meanwhile, a call center only handles voice calls.

Now, top companies have contact centers because the communication channels have increased. However, people would refer to them as call centers.

Call Center vs Contact Center

Are Call Centers, Customer Support, and Customer Service the same thing?

There is a misconception that any call center department that answers functions as customer support or customer service. The confusion stems since most contact centers handle customer support or service calls.

Customer Service Vs. Customer Support

Customer Service is the company's assistance to a customer before, during, or after purchasing or acquiring their service or product.
Their goal is to facilitate the purchase, receive feedback and give an excellent experience while doing the process.

Customer support focuses help the customer solve problems, questions, and concerns about a product, service, or acquisition process.

Customer Service and Customer Support
As a simple example to understand the difference between these terms; Customer Service can resolve simple questions, offer advice or receive feedback, and Customer Support specifically handles customer's problems and concerns.

While Call Centers are a significant and essential part of customer service and customer support, In-store employees and even website pages can be part of Customer Service and Support.

In the same way, Call Centers does not only offer customer service and support. Contact center operations manage various processes, such as sales or lead generation (best known as telemarketing), debt collection, surveys, and more.

 

Outbound & Inbound Call Centers

Call Centers divide into Outbound and Inbound; these terms refer to the calls the operations handle.

Inbound or Incoming calls; are the calls are a potential customer or an actual client. Inbound call center processes can be technical support, order processing, and management, or queries about the product or service. In contact centers, it can also include chat support and email responses.

Outbound calls referrers to outgoing calls, the contact made by the company to a specific person. Examples of outbound contact center processes are debt collection, surveys, lead generation, and sales.

Outbound and Inbound

In small call centers, the same team of agents could do both calls, while larger call centers use this division to make the processes more efficient.

Inbound teams can use call center software for routing the calls to distribute the call volume through the agents. Outbound teams might use a database with a dialer to call.

 

What is Call Center Outsourcing

Another relevant term in the call center industry is Call Center Outsourcing.

Outsourcing is when a company hires a third-party provider to perform a service or job function of their business. It can have multiple purposes, from cost reductions to not having the expertise or equipment for that specific business process.

Call Centers are one of the functions that companies choose to outsource. It represents an opportunity to scale the operation quickly and reduce cost.

The opposite of outsourcing is in-house. When a business has its call center centralized within its company, we say it has an in-house contact center.

There are several types of Outsourcing: Onshore, Nearshore, and Offshore.

Onshore is when the third-party provider is in the same country.
It allows to keep some control over the operation and avoid having language or cultural differences.

Offshore is when the company hires a provider to outsource their operation outside the country. It represents an opportunity to take advantage of the characteristic of specific countries. For example, India has many English speakers, and the call center rates are much cheaper.

Nearshore is in the middle of Onshore and Offshore. It is when the company transfers a part of their business operation to a nearby country. Some of the benefits of nearshore are proximity, management control, and cultural alignment. For instance, Mexico is a popular Nearshore location for the U.S. because it has a large bilingual population of English/Spanish speaking residents and its competitive rates.

Offshore Nearshore Onshore


Call Center Services International is a Nearshore Contact Center in Mexico; if you would like to know more about it visit our website!

Now you know more about the terms related to the call center industry, you can read our blog articles to know more about these topics. Here are some recommendations to continue learning:

Pros & Cons of Outsourcing Your Customer Service Operation

Nearshore Or In-House? Which One Is A Good Fit for Your Contact Center

Nearshore Or Offshore, What Contact Center Expansion Option Is A Better Fit?


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