A call center or contact center is basically any office that a company uses to make or accept phone calls. Usually a call center is set up in order to maximize efficiency so call centers are can be very big with large numbers of agents. Some call centers employ hundreds of agents and are open 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Contact centers are increasingly popular for today’s businesses where centralized customer service and support functions can be managed under one roof.
Call centers offer many advantages to companies. By centralizing their customer support functions or outbound calling, call centers can take advantage of economies of scale. Having all of their phone agents in one place allows business to centralize training and supervision. With the rise of advanced telecommunications technology, call centers can be located anywhere. This allows companies to take advantage of time zones and cheaper labor rates in different states and countries.
Call centers are usually divided into two main function areas. Outbound: employing agents who make telephone calls out to potential customers or people being surveyed. An example of an outbound call center would be a telemarketing campaign that sells magazine subscriptions or weekly delivery of your local paper. Many non-profit organizations use outbound call centers to solicit donations. Inbound: employing agents who accept phone calls. Examples of inbound call center would be a skateboard company who takes sales orders over the phone and offers customer service to those who have questions about the product they purchased. Banks and credit card companies employ huge numbers of inbound call center agents around the world.
Many call centers use a number of different technologies to help improve performance and customer experience. Inbound call centers often use automatic call distribution, this technology assigns calls to representatives on the order they are received. Other call centers utilize call monitoring, in which customer calls are randomly monitored by staff to ensure that phone representatives meet customer needs. Outbound call centers have their own technology. Predictive dialers make automatic phone calls from a call list and give the agent a live call only when a customer answers the phone.