Last Updated: April 27, 2023

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Call Centers Overview

The terms call center and contact center are often confused, but they’re not interchangeable. A call center handles inbound and outbound calls for a company, whether they’re related to ordering, billing, customer service or technical support. The telephone is the sole method of communication between customers and agents.

Some companies operate their own call centers, while others choose to outsource the task to a third party. Outsourcing is less expensive, but you lose some control over communication with your customers.

Cost of Call Centers

Call center pricing varies based on factors like the quality of the call center and its employees, the complexity of your script and any specific needs or requests you have. Generally, call centers charge per-minute or per-hour fees.

If you opt for dedicated agents, who work only for you, you’ll spend anywhere from $10 to $25 per hour, per agent. Offshore call centers fall on the low end of that price range, while U.S. firms fall on the high end.

You can save money by selecting shared agents that handle calls for several different companies. Typically, costs for shared agents are between $.50 and $1 per minute.

Call Centers Pros

  • Less expensive - Hiring a call center is typically less expensive than hiring a contact center. The service is more limited in scope and employees require less training.

Call Centers Cons

  • Ignores technology - Email, instant messages and web chat are popular methods of communication. By selecting a call center, you’re eliminating all of these options.
  • Not as convenient - Consumers have grown accustomed to having a variety of communication options. Some customers will find it frustrating that you’re limiting them to telephone communication.

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Contact Centers Overview

Contact centers rely on variety of communication methods, not just the telephone. Contact centers still make and receive calls - and, in many cases, that is still the primary function - but they also communicate with customers using email, fax, instant messages and web-based calls. Customers can choose the method of communication that is most convenient and comfortable for them.

As with call centers, you may choose to operate your own contact center or outsource the task to a third-party company.

Contact Centers Cost

The pricing structure is similar with contact centers. You can spend more for dedicated agents or save money by opting for shared agents. The location of the contact center will have a major impact on price, too. The major difference is that you may have to pay higher rates for a contact center than a call center.

Contact Centers Pros

  • Better technology - In the modern world, the telephone is just one of many methods of communicating. With a contact center, you’re also offering services that consumers have come to expect, including email and instant messaging.
  • More convenient - Customers will appreciate having the option to communicate in a variety of ways. Chances are, they will be more satisfied with the level of customer service.

Contact Centers Cons

  • More expensive - Contact center employees have to undergo additional training, so rates are typically higher.

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