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5 common call center terms to know

Businesses interact with customers in a variety of ways, including via phone calls and chatbots. Here are some call center terms that define these interactions.

In the early days of call centers, businesses interacted with customers via inbound and outbound calls. Today, companies communicate with customers in several ways, all with a purpose of delivering exceptional CX.

As new modes of communication emerge, many call center terms may start to sound similar; however, they are different.

Here are some key words that are important to know in today's iteration of the call center.

Contact center

While many people may use the terms call center and contact center interchangeably, they are different. Like call centers, contact centers provide customer service and support through inbound and outbound calls. However, contact centers differ in that they also provide service through other channels, such as email, chat and website support.

A contact center can include several call centers and serves as the hub of all modes of communication a customer has with a business. Contact center agents can access all previous customer data, and customers can receive after-hours support with the help of chatbots.

Contact center agents can access all previous customer data, and customers can receive after-hours support with the help of chatbots.

Contact centers use various technologies including interactive voice response systems, automatic call distributor systems, email response management systems, knowledge management systems, teletypewriters (TTYs), telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDDs) and workforce management systems.

Live chat

Live chat, or live support, is a call center term that refers to a way that businesses interact with webpage visitors. If a live chat feature is available on a webpage, users can initiate a chat. Organization representatives or chatbots then respond to the questions.

Live chat systems have access to the company's CRM platform, so they use all previous customer data to provide answers to questions.

Chat channels

Chat channels are any form of technology that enable a company to have a live conversation with a customer. These channels aid in fast problem solving and increase quality of service. Chat channels aim for convenience and give customers the option to communicate with companies via phone, website chat applications, social media messaging apps, SMS messaging and voice commerce.

Many businesses are incorporating AI into their chat options, enabling customer interaction with chatbots and virtual assistants. While chatbots and virtual assistants may not be able to answer all questions, they can direct the customer to a support link to speak with an agent.


A chatbot enables customers to contact businesses during and after operating hours and  simulate human voice and text interactions. Chatbots use various AI technologies including deep learning, natural language processing and machine learning.

Chatbots range in complexity. The most basic chatbots are scripted and have predefined questions to ask the customer, while the most complex chatbots use machine learning.

Chatbots respond quickly to customers, drive customer engagement and collect customer data to improve future interactions, but their abilities are limited.

Customer service and support

Customer service and support teams are available for assistance through numerous chat channels, but they have different focuses.

Customer service teams focus on the customer experience. They are typically the face and voice of the business and maintain relationships with its customers. If a customer calls or messages with an issue, the customer service team is responsible for conflict resolution.

Customer support teams assist on the technical end. If a product is not working properly or the customer has questions about how to use the product, the customer support team provides answers.

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