A call center is a centralized department that handles incoming and outgoing calls from current and potential customers. Call centers are either located within a company or are outsourced to another company that specializes in handling calls.
What is the difference between a call center and a contact center?
Call centers focus on one communication channel: the telephone. Contact centers provide support through additional channels such as email, chat, websites, and applications. A contact center can include one or more call centers.
Contact centers provide omnichannel support and assist customers on any channel or device they use. Whether a company chooses a call center or a contact center depends on its products and services, the channels through which it provides customer support, and the company's support team structures.
How do call centers work?
Call centers are used by online retailers, telemarketers, help desks, mail order companies, polling firms, charities, and any large organization that sells products or provides services over the phone.
The three most common types of call centers are inbound, outbound, and mixed.
Inbound call centers: Typically, these call centers handle a large number of calls simultaneously and route and log the calls. An interactive voice response (IVR) system can answer calls and use speech recognition technology to respond to customer inquiries with an automated message or route calls to the appropriate call center agents or recipients through an automated call distributor (ACD).
Agents in an inbound call center can handle calls from current or potential customers about account management, scheduling, technical support, and complaints, questions about products or services, or company purchase intentions.
Outbound call centers: In these call centers, an agent makes calls on behalf of the organization or customer for tasks such as lead generation, telemarketing, customer retention, fundraising, surveys, collections, or appointment setting. To maximize efficiency, an automated dialing system can make the calls and then route them through an IVR system to an available agent after the caller connects. Outbound call centers must ensure compliance with the National Do Not Call Registry, a list where citizens can add their phone numbers to avoid unwanted solicitation calls.
Mixed Call Center: This type of call center handles both inbound and outbound calls.
The importance of call centers
Customers have high expectations of customer service. They want their concerns handled quickly and efficiently. Businesses need to have representatives available when customers call for service or assistance, and businesses with call centers can more effectively help customers in need. Call centers in Durban can make a business available around the clock or in a time window that meets customer expectations.
Phone calls from customers have value beyond customer service. For some products or services, phone calls are the only interactions companies have with customers - and therefore the only way to connect with them personally.
Types of call centers
In addition to inbound, outbound and blended call centers, there are other classifications of call centers:
Internal call center: The company owns and operates its own call center and hires its agents.
Outsourced call center: The company hires a third party to handle calls on its behalf, usually to avoid hiring and training call center agents and investing in and updating call center technology, which can reduce operating costs.
Offshore call center: The company outsources its operations to a company in another country, often to save on labor costs and provide services around the clock. The disadvantages of an offshore call center include lower customer satisfaction due to language issues and a lack of knowledge about the company, product or service due to distance.
Virtual call center: The company employs geographically dispersed agents who answer calls using cloud call center technology. The call center agents work either in smaller groups in different offices or in their own homes.
How is call center success measured?
Companies should track key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure call center and agent success rates and efficiency. KPIs can vary depending on the function of the center: An outbound call center may measure cost per call, revenue generated, total number of calls, and tasks completed, among others. Inbound call centre jobs in durban no experience metrics can include first call resolution (FCR), average wait time, and abandoned call rate.
In addition, companies can use speech analytics software to monitor and analyze call center agent performance. This can identify areas where more knowledge and training