A call center is a location with a phone system used exclusively for the purpose of receiving and making a large amount of telephone calls. A call center is designed for large volumes of calls with large numbers of workers. Frequently, call centers are designed as contact centers, allowing companies to provide documented and recorded customer service to large groups of customers.
Large businesses use call centers to interact with their customers, including services like customer and technical support. A company can run its own call center or contract a third party for the service.
A call center functions through operators, known as agents or sometimes customer representatives, and computerized telephony (CTI). An agent’s workstation consists of both a computer and phone, with which an agent can automatically dial numbers, transfer customers, or look at customers’ account/profile details.
Call centers traditionally use PBX systems for call management, which can include an Automatic Call Distributor or line hunting to distribute incoming calls. A PBX may also feature voice recognition and IVR.
Call Center Uses
A call center can be either inbound, outbound or both.
Outbound call centers may be used for:
- fraud prevention
- conducting surveys
- debt collection
Inbound call centers that receive calls from customers seeking assistance can be technical support or customer service.
Businesses can use call centers for the above-mentioned customer interaction to complement their work (service, sales, billing, etc) or a business can offer products and services primarily served via interaction, such as:
- mail-order catalogs
- other ordering services (e.g. flower delivery)
- telephone triage, or nurse consultation
If a call center also handles letters, email, fax, text chat, or any web-based interaction, it is called a contact center.
Call Center Varieties
- Inbound Call Center
- Outbound Call Center
- Blended Call Center
- Virtual Call Center
- Web Enabled Call Center
- Telemarketing Call Center
- Offshore Call Center
- Contact Center
Call Center Systems
To run a call center, one must first know the call volume for one’s company (if outsourcing). A smaller call center has less need of line hunting and call routing to select which agent receives a call, but it must have agents able to handle differing tasks.
A call center needs a number of technological features. First and foremost, call centers require a call management system such as a PBX. A PBX should have Automatic Call Distribution for all call centers and Interactive Voice Response included for inbound or blended call centers. …