A brief explanation of just what might be considered call center basic principles..

What is call center?

A call center is a physical location where larger volumes of calls are handled by an outsourced company. It usually a centralized office used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting large volume of telephone requests for the purpose of business transactions. Most of the call centers work with the help of IVRs. An IVR is defined as telephone interface to a computer system. Typically, a call center has the ability to handle large volumes of call at the same time screen and forward them to someone who is qualified to handle calls.

Call centers are used by telemarketing companies, utility companies, mail order catalogue retailers, companies that need customer support services and other outsourcing services. Most of the business houses use call center for various customer services like IT-help desk, inbound calls, sales, order processing, order taking, financial support and many other outbound services.

Operations of a call center:

A call center often operates in an extensive open work space for its call center agents. The work stations include a telephone set or a head set connected to a main telecom switch. This can be operated independently or networked with additional centers which is often linked to a corporate computer including LAN , microcomputers and mainframes. The voice and data pathways into the center are linked through a set of technology known as computer telephony integration (CTI)

Technology used in call centers:

Most of the call centers in India use different technologies which help them to serve their customers better. The inbound call center use automatic call distribution, in which the incoming calls are assigned to the agent on the order they receive. Some of the call center also use call monitoring in which the quality staff randomly monitors an agent call to ensure that they follow the guidelines of call taking. Most of the call centers work with the help of IVRs, it is a system which helps in routing calls to the appropriate agent. It is programmed to do so wherein the system ignore its own decision making and obey the instruction set by humans.

These include after call work (ACW), automatic call distribution (ACD), Agent performance analytics, Average handling time (AHT), Automatic number identification (ANI), Automated surveys (AS), Best time to call/ Outbound call optimization (BTTC), Call recording software, customer interaction management solutions which is known as Unified solutions, Chat and web Collaboration, Computer telephony integration (CTI), Customer relationship management (CRM), Desktop Scripting Solutions Electronic performance support systems, Email Management, Enterprise Campaign Management Issue tracking system, Interactive voice response (IVR), Knowledge Management System (KMS) Outbound predictive dialer, Predictive Dialing System (PDS), Outsourcing, Quality Monitoring which is also known as call recording software, Speech Analytics, Third party verification, Text to speech (TTS), Virtual queuing, Voice analysis, Voice mail, VoIP, Voice recognition and Workforce management (WFM).

Call center services: The call center services are broadly divided into two categories:

Inbound services: In this kind of service usually the calls are received by an agent through a toll free number of customer support help desk. Then the agent goes ahead to solve the queries of the customer or any product related issues.

Some of the inbound services are customer care services, database management, order taking services, insurance claim and verification

Outbound services: Most of the outbound calls are usually sales oriented. The agent calls up prospective clients to do some kind of market research or for sales lead.

Some of the outbound services are welcome calls, direct marketing campaigns, selling services, appointment setting, market research, up selling and cross selling.

Today, call centers play a crucial role for large business houses. Call center services help an organization to manage its non-core business houses. Most of non-core functions like telemarketing, up selling, cross selling, IT-help desk, customer oriented services are taken care by the outsourced company. Most of the call center have robust infrastructure to serve their clients. They use best of the technologies and services which helps their clients to earn maximum revenue.

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