What Is a Contact Center?

Prashanth Kancherla

May 5, 2024 | 11 mins read

What is Contact Center [+Meaning, Working, Benefits, Types]

Remember when you spent hours on hold, only to be disconnected or transferred to someone who couldn’t help you? Or how about the countless emails you’ve sent to a company, only to receive a generic response that doesn’t address your issue? You’re not alone. Many businesses struggle to provide seamless, personalized customer experiences, leading to lost revenue, damaged reputations, and a significant drain on resources.

But what if you could revolutionize the way you interact with your customers? What if you could create a seamless, omnichannel experience that delights and retains customers? That’s where a contact center comes in. It is a powerful solution designed to unify customer communication and streamline service operations.

According to reports, 71% of consumers want organizations to provide tailored experiences, and 76% are dissatisfied when this does not happen. So, how can a contact center help you deliver this exceptional experience? Let’s find out!

Contact Center Meaning

A call center is a specialized unit within your company that largely manages inbound and outbound client interactions via phone calls. It is where your company’s customer service representatives respond to questions, give support, handle issues, and perform other customer service-related tasks.

Most contact centers aim to answer 80% of calls in under 20 seconds, with additional efforts underway to increase that figure to 90% in under 15 seconds. 

With a committed crew, call centers can provide more than just assistance; they can also create outstanding client experiences, increase sales, and grow your customer base. Call centers are at the heart of customer communication, operational optimization, relationship building, and growth, providing quick and personalized help.

How Does a Contact Center Work?

A contact center serves as the frontline of customer interactions, bridging businesses and their clients. The workflow typically begins when a customer initiates contact through channels such as phone calls, emails, live chats, or social media messages. These interactions are seamlessly routed to available agents with the appropriate skills and expertise to address the customer’s needs.

Once connected, the agent’s primary responsibility is actively listening and understanding the customer’s inquiry or concern. Drawing upon their training, knowledge resources, and customer data access, the agent develops and presents potential solutions. If the issue cannot be resolved immediately, the agent follows up after further investigation, ensuring the customer’s needs are satisfactorily met.

This continuous feedback loop allows contact centers to provide personalized, efficient, consistent service across multiple touchpoints, fostering strong customer relationships and loyalty.

Contact Center vs Call Center

Businesses are constantly evolving their customer service strategies to meet the multiple needs of their clients. Two key approaches that facilitate this are contact centers and call centers. While both share the goal of addressing customer inquiries and concerns, they differ significantly in scope, technology utilization, and communication channels.

Let’s delve into the distinctions between these two vital components of customer service operations.

AspectContact CenterCall Center
CommunicationUtilizes various channels like phone, email, chat, social media, etc.Primarily focuses on phone communication
Customer SupportOffers multi-channel support for customersFocuses primarily on handling phone calls
TechnologyIncorporates advanced CRM and omnichannel platformsTypically relies on basic phone systems
InteractionProvides a more personalized and holistic approach to customer interactionsMainly handles transactional interactions over the phone

How Can Contact Centers Help Your Business

How Can Contact Centers Help Your Business?

By letting support agents connect with customers over several channels, contact centers are transforming the way customer interactions are handled providing a seamless and comprehensive experience. This not only enhances customer satisfaction but also provides you with various insights into your customers’ needs. Here are a few more key advantages of implementing a contact center solution in your business:

Increase Revenue Opportunities

Unlike traditional call centers, contact centers encompass online and voice channels, opening up numerous revenue-boosting opportunities. Agents can seamlessly upsell and cross-sell products or services, capitalizing on customer interactions to drive sales and maximize revenue potential. For example, during a chat conversation about a specific product, an agent can proactively recommend complementary or upgraded options, potentially increasing order value and customer satisfaction.

Improve Time Management

Effective time management is important to maximize productivity and profitability. Contact centers offer Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solutions, allowing customers to interact with your database and accomplish repetitive tasks without involving staff.

Consider a scenario where your customer needs to check their account balance or update their contact information. In such situations, your customers can use IVR to self-serve these routine requests, freeing up your team’s time to focus on more complex and important matters. This automation drives efficiency and translates into cost savings, as your agents can prioritize high-value tasks that require human intervention.

24/7/365 Access

Contact centers offer the flexibility of 24/7/365 service, ensuring customers can make purchases, seek assistance, or resolve issues at their convenience. This continuous availability enhances customer satisfaction and translates into increased revenue opportunities for your business.

Consider an e-commerce company that traditionally experienced a lull in sales during the late-night hours – by implementing a contact center with round-the-clock support; they can capture sales from night owls or customers in different time zones, potentially boosting their bottom line.

Gain Valuable Customer Insights

By consolidating customer interactions across multiple touchpoints, contact centers provide a wealth of data and insights into consumer needs, preferences, and buying behaviors. Leveraging advanced analytics software, you can track key metrics, identify trends, and tailor your support strategies accordingly, ensuring continuous improvement and a competitive edge.

Imagine being able to analyze trending phrases or words across live chat transcripts, emails, and voice recordings – this could help you proactively address emerging issues before they escalate or even identify new product or service opportunities based on customer feedback.

Deliver Omnichannel Support

Customers today expect seamless interactions across multiple channels, whether it’s via phone, email, chat, social media, or even emerging platforms like messaging apps. A contact center enables your agents to provide true omnichannel support, consolidating customer information from various touch points into a centralized hub.

Suppose a customer initiates a query through a chatbot only to have their support ticket escalated to a live agent. With a contact center, the agent already has access to the customer’s information and the context of their issue, eliminating the need for repetition and ensuring a smooth, seamless experience. This level of integration streamlines the customer journey and fosters trust and loyalty.

Improve Customer Satisfaction

By allowing customers to choose their preferred mode of communication, you cater to their unique preferences and needs. For instance, when customers need immediate assistance with a high-stakes issue, they may prefer to talk with an agent on the phone.

Conversely, a customer with a low-stakes query might opt for the convenience of email or chat. This flexibility, coupled with personalized experiences facilitated by access to customer history, fosters stronger consumer relationships and heightened satisfaction. 

Types of Contact Center

That was all about the multiple benefits a contact center offers your business. But to leverage these benefits, you need to dig deeper into which contact center to use. By understanding the various types of contact centers available, you can make an informed decision and implement the solution that best aligns with your business goals and customer experience strategies. Here are some common types of contact centers:

Inbound Call Center

If your primary focus is delivering top-notch customer support, an inbound call center solution could be ideal. These contact centers handle incoming customer calls, provide prompt assistance, answer queries, and resolve issues. With powerful tools like Automatic Call Distribution (ACD), which shortens wait times by efficiently routing calls to available agents, and IVR systems for self-service options, inbound call centers are well-equipped to ensure customer satisfaction. Additionally, skill-based routing ensures that each customer is connected with the best-suited agent for their specific needs, further enhancing the overall experience.

Outbound Call Center

An outbound call center software could be the perfect solution if your business goals involve proactive outreach, lead generation, or market research. These contact centers specialize in initiating calls to customers, prospects, or survey participants.

From telemarketing and lead building to customer onboarding and market research, outbound call centers leverage tools like click-to-call functionality, call tagging, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to streamline processes and ensure efficient outreach campaigns.

Multichannel Contact Center

In today’s digital age, customers expect to interact with businesses through various channels, including email, social media, and live chat. A multichannel contact center provides this flexibility, allowing customers to choose their preferred communication method.

However, it’s important to note that each interaction exists within its own channel in a multichannel environment without seamless integration across platforms. While this approach is a step in the right direction, it may fall short of meeting the increasingly high expectations of modern consumers.

Omnichannel Contact Center

An omnichannel contact center is the pinnacle solution for organizations seeking to deliver truly exceptional customer experiences. These contact centers integrate all communication channels, including phone calls, social media messaging, live chat, email, SMS, and mobile apps.

The key differentiator of an omnichannel approach is that conversations are fluid across channels, allowing agents to connect with customers using their preferred method at any given time. Customer context, including conversation history, account information, and order details, is readily available to agents, enabling them to provide personalized and consistent support regardless of the channel being used.

On-Premises Contact Center

An on-premises contact center could be the ideal choice for organizations with stringent security and control requirements. This solution involves building and managing the contact center infrastructure within the organization’s IT environment.

While it requires a significant upfront investment in hardware, software, and infrastructure, an on-premises contact center offers benefits such as heightened reliability, better call quality, and enhanced data security, as all information remains on the organization’s servers.

Cloud Contact Center

In contrast to an on-premises solution, a cloud contact center relies on a third-party vendor’s public cloud infrastructure. This approach offers multiple benefits, including the ability for agents to access the system from any location, minimal upgrade or maintenance costs, and faster implementation times. However, it’s important to consider the trade-off of ceding control and customization over the systems in place to the vendor.

Features Your Contact Center Should Have

To ensure that your contact center operates at peak efficiency and meets the ever-evolving demands of your customers, it is crucial to prioritize the following key features:

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

An IVR system ensures 24/7 phone reception and effective call management. An IVR enhances operational efficiency and customer satisfaction by qualifying call reasons and routing customers to the appropriate queues or self-service options. It also enables activity peak management, allowing customers to handle simple requests, such as checking balances or making payments, without needing agent assistance. This frees your agents to prioritize more complex inquiries, improving productivity and customer experiences.

Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)

Intelligent call routing is essential for connecting customers with the most qualified agents. With ACD, inbound calls are automatically directed to agents according to factors such as language proficiency, expertise, or product knowledge. This intelligent routing significantly reduces wait times, improves customer satisfaction, and boosts agent productivity by ensuring that the best-suited representative handles each inquiry.

Call Recording

A robust contact center solution should offer call recording capabilities, allowing you to review interactions, recognise areas for improvement, and provide targeted training to your agents. This feature enhances agent performance and helps you maintain high customer service standards and adherence to industry regulations.

Power Dialers

Power dialers automate the dialing process, eliminating the need for agents to manually dial numbers. Power dialers significantly improve agent productivity and efficiency by automatically dialing stored phone numbers from a selected list, enabling them to focus on delivering quality interactions rather than mundane dialing tasks.

Skill-Based Routing

By integrating with your IVR system, skill-based routing enables callers to navigate through multiple options, ultimately connecting them with the agent possessing the most relevant skills and expertise to address their specific needs. This targeted routing approach ensures that customers are matched with the most appropriate resources, leading to quicker resolution times and heightened customer

How to Setup a Contact Center?

Setting up a contact center is no small feat, but with strategic planning and execution, it can be a rewarding investment that propels your business toward success. Here are the key steps to guide you through the process of establishing an effective contact center:

Define Your Goals and Purpose

Before embarking on your contact center journey, it’s essential to clearly define your goals and the purpose behind this endeavor. Are you aiming to provide superior customer service, generate qualified leads, conduct market research, or combine these objectives? Aligning your contact center strategy with your overarching business goals will ensure a cohesive and targeted approach.

Choose the Right Type of Contact Center

With a clear understanding of your purpose, you can select the most suitable type of contact center. If your primary focus is customer support, an inbound contact center would be ideal. An outbound contact center may be more appropriate for proactive outreach, lead generation, or market research. Alternatively, a blended or omnichannel contact center can cater to inbound and outbound interactions across multiple channels, such as voice, email, chat, and social media.

Determine Key Software Features and Set a Realistic Budget

Identify the essential software features that will empower your contact center agents to deliver exceptional service. Features like automatic call distribution, skill-based routing, and interactive voice response (IVR) are crucial for inbound operations. Outbound contact centers may prioritize auto-dialers, predictive dialers, and lead management capabilities. Once you clearly understand your feature requirements, set a realistic budget that accounts for hardware, software, staffing, training, and other operational expenses.

Hire and Train Your Contact Center Team

Determine the optimal number of agents to handle your anticipated call volume and workload effectively. Establish a thorough hiring process to attract and onboard skilled professionals, such as customer service representatives, sales agents, or technical support specialists. Invest in comprehensive training programs to equip your team with the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to excel in their roles.

Select a Reliable Contact Center Software Provider

The heart of your contact center lies in the software platform you choose. Conduct thorough research and compare features, pricing, and customer reviews to identify the best solution. Consider factors such as scalability, integration capabilities, and vendor support. Leverage free trials or demos to assess the software’s usability and ensure it aligns with your requirements.

Implement and Test the Contact Center Solution

Once you have selected your contact center software, work closely with the vendor to ensure proper implementation and integration with your existing systems. Conduct comprehensive testing to recognize and tackle any potential issues or compatibility concerns. You can also gather feedback from your employees and make necessary adjustments to optimize the solution for your specific workflows.

How Ozonetel Contact Center Solution Help Improve Customer Experience

Ozonetel offers flexible and reliable solutions, enabling businesses to create end-to-end communication flows and provide superior customer experiences. Here’s how we are helping India’s leading firms in their CX journey.

Improving the Citizen Experience for 550 million Indians

With Ozonetel, the National Health Authority analyzed more than 122K hours of conversations in 11 vernacular languages across a sample set of 1.2 million calls. Managers could filter and view the scores of each of the 900+ healthcare advisors on their dashboard based on date, campaign, advisors, or conversational intent. The NHA now automates call quality audits for all healthcare advisers boosting first contact resolution, improving quality of conversations, and increasing citizen satisfaction.

Resilient Virtual Contact Center Manages High Call Volumes

One of India’s top stockbroking firms leveraged Ozonetel’s robust CCaaS platform to successfully handle high and fluctuating call volumes. With Ozonetel, the firm could handle 40,000+ calls daily and up to 1340 calls concurrently. With intelligent IVR, callbacks, and supervision they efficiently managed the entire operations in a cost-effective manner. Moreover, by successfully empowering work-from-home teams, they were able to improve handle times by 25% and reduce agent attrition by 40%.

Achieving 400% Higher FCR & 5% Lower Return Rates

Wakefit faced a significant number of non-FCR calls owing to gaps in their SOPs and this resulted in a low FCR rate of 18%. As a result, customers faced delays, causing frustration while waiting for callbacks. With Ozonetel, they streamlined operations, addressed repeat queries with a Priority IVR, optimized executive bandwidth and improved overall efficiency. This led to notable outcomes including a 400% higher FCR rate, 5% lower return rates, and 25% reduced operational costs.

Accelerating Lead Responses to Achieve 3X Conversions

One of India’s top NBFC leveraged the Ozonetel CX platform to optimize sales and accelerate responsiveness at every step of the customer journey. They automated lead calling with a deep integration of CRM and Ozonetel dialers, reducing response time by 99%. This resulted in a 3X increase in conversions. Additionally, they automated 50% of queries and reduced after-call work by almost 75%. 

Providing 50% Faster Resolutions with a Self-Service IVR

One of India’s top insurance companies wanted to make communication around policies, claims, and renewals effortless for their customers. They fine-tuned a Self-service IVR — over several sprints — shrinking the need for agent intervention and speeding up response times. These implementations led to 20% less time spent in IVR, 20% higher routing accuracy, and 50% faster resolutions — all contributing to a CSAT of 90%.


 To sum up, contact centers provide efficient ways to engage customers and generate loyalty. Customers expect to be able to engage with firms when and how they want to resolve customer service concerns, big or small; thus, the ability to process these requests swiftly and simply should be prioritized. Furthermore, with rising technology such as AI and chatbots, the future of customer support seems promising. Contact centers evolve as we adapt to new working methods, and remote or hybrid models become more popular.

Want to see what Ozonetel can do for your company? Sign up today for a free 21-day trial.

Prashanth Kancherla

Chief Product Officer, Ozonetel Communications

Over the past decade, Prashanth has worked with 3000+ customer experience and contact center leaders...

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