The Difference Between BPO and Call Center: Simplified and Explained

Difference Between BPO and Call Center: BPO and Call Center are often used interchangeably. Discover the true differences between a BPO and a call center to use them for your business growth.

July 23, 2023


8 Minutes

Tooba Khan

Tooba Khan

The Difference Between BPO and Call Center: Simplified and Explained


With increased globalization, businesses are facing rigorous competition. Outsourcing has played a major role in helping them focus on growth. BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) and call centers are commonly used for outsourcing purposes today. But they are also often misinterpreted and used interchangeably. Many are unfamiliar with the difference between a BPO and a call center.

If you want to leverage these tools for your business, a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work. A solid understanding of the difference between BPO and call center is vital to efficiently utilize each one to its maximum potential. In this piece, we will shed some light on the various characteristics of BPO and call centers and their points of contrast.

What is sales in BPO?

What is the Difference Between BPO and Call Center?

The major difference between a BPO and a call center is that BPO is a broader category of services and encompasses call centers. BPOs provide services in various non-core areas, including customer support, marketing, financial and accounting sectors, data entry and book-keeping, IT and technical services, content creation, programming, etc. On the other hand, call centers are a subset of BPOs and provide telecalling services, including inbound and outbound calling and multichannel support.

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Another difference between a BPO and a call center is that BPOs render their services for both front-end and back-end areas, including HR, finance, marketing and IT support. Whereas call centers just cater to the front-end needs of their client and deal with the customers.

The kind of relationship they maintain with their clients also differentiates a BPO from a call center. BPOs aim to add value to their services and provide their client with the resources needed for scaling. On the contrary, call centers are purely customer-centric and focus only on handling customers and providing them with support and assistance.

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Characteristics of BPO and Call Centers

Let's look at some specific characteristics of BPOs and traditional call centers. Both BPO and call centers are used for outsourcing purposes but the characteristics of both are very different. Strategic outsourcing of non-core corporate tasks to outside service providers is known as BPO. By boosting operational effectiveness and productivity, this strategic outsourcing enables businesses to focus on their core capabilities. On the other hand, call centers are renowned for their customer support services.

Who is a team leader in BPO?

What is a BPO?

When a business hires another company to perform its secondary or non-core operations, we call it Business Process Outsourcing, or BPO. These outsourced activities may include a variety of tasks such as customer support, financing and accounting, marketing, technical services, data entry, etc. Let us look at the key features of a BPO:

Characteristics of BPO:

  • They provide quality services with the help of specially trained and experienced staff for outsourced processes.
  • BPOs save time, costs and other resources as they take off the burden of hiring, training and maintaining employees for non-core activities.
  • BPO provides you access to a large talent pool and modern technology, like automation, AI, and machine learning, that facilitate the growth of your business.
Image: Some common services offered by a Business Process Outsourcing

What is a Call Center?

A call center is a dedicated organization for managing the telephonic communication of businesses. They provide calling services to companies and handle their customers' calls, queries, complaints, feedback etc. Let’s have a look at the salient features of a call center.

Characteristics of call centers

  • A call center receives calls from its client's customers and also reaches out to them to follow up, make a sale, offer discounts, etc.
  • It uses various communication channels to connect with customers and build positive relationships.
  • A call center integrates customer data into Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, which help the business know their customers and fulfill their needs.

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These are some of the characteristics of BPO and call centers, which highlight their functions and uses. Now that we know their primary roles let us look at the points of difference between the two.

Is BPO Same as Call Center?

Still confused? Here is a comparison chart of the characteristics to help you get a clearer picture - Is BPO and Call center same?

Difference Between BPO and Call Center
Image - Difference Between BPO and Call Center

What should I choose for my business: BPO or a call center?

We are sure that you now have a better insight into the concept of a BPO and a call center. Let us move to the final step and figure out which one you should select. With the right choice, your business can enjoy the benefits of outsourcing.

Whether to select a BPO or a call center for your business depends on what your business needs. If it needs several operations, like finance, HR, or IT support, to be outsourced, a BPO is the right choice. However, you can opt for a call center if you need only front-end services like handling customers.

To summarize, the BPO industry is vast and provides many services, including call center support. Some other outsourcing processes involve technical services, finance, marketing, data entry, content creation, human resource management and other administrative functions. A call center is a service provider that is a part of the BPO industry.

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Is BPO a part of call centers?


No. A call center can be a BPO. However, the reverse is not true, i,e, a BPO is not a call center. A BPO provides various services, including call center support, finance, IT services, marketing, etc. Therefore, call centers are a subset of BPO.

What is the main difference between a BPO and a call center?


The primary difference between a BPO and a call center is scope. BPO is a broad-scope category, whereas call center services fall under the umbrella of a BPO.

What are the two types of BPO?


The two types of BPO are Back Office Outsourcing and Front Office Outsourcing. Back office services include internal processes like finance and accounting, data entry, and administrative activities. Front Office operations include customer-facing processes such as customer service, telemarketing, sales, etc.

What are business process outsourcing companies?


The companies that provide services to other companies are known as Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies. These services include front-end and back-end processes such as marketing, HR, content creation, customer service, IT and technical support.

What is difference between call center and contact center?


As the name suggests, a call center mainly focuses on telephonic communication with the customers. It handles inbound and outbound calls, resolvers queries and makes sales using voice process. Whereas, a contact center, besides voice communication, uses other mediums too. It provides customer support via many channels like SMS, chat, email and social media.

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