A call center is part and parcel of businesses that handle vast numbers of customers and can either be outbound or inbound. When the business is expanding, it reaches a point where customers become so many that their complaints and concerns cannot be handled from one switchboard. The need to expand the customer handling department is what birthed the idea of call center outsourcing in the Philippines.
What is a Call Center?
A call center is a department within the organization that handles customer issues, be their queries or complaints. A team of representatives is available to handle customer issues on a real-time basis. While most companies have a call center as a department, more prominent organizations prefer outsourcing the services. Because of such big organizations, call center outsourcing in Philippines has become a very lucrative business.
Call Center Versus Contact Center
A call center, as the name suggests, is only involved in making calls to customers and receiving calls from them. The representatives listen to the concerns being aired and offer appropriate solutions.
A contact center, on the other hand, extends its services to handling email queries, messaging services, and live chats. Since all these services are used concurrently by organizations to handle customer’s needs, the term call center and contact center are often used interchangeably.
Functions of a Call/Contact Center
The primary role played by contact centers in organizations include:
- Research on market trends
- Customer support
- Responding to customer queries
- Carrying out telemarketing campaigns
Inbound Call Centers
Inbound call centers receive and respond to customer calls mostly made via a toll-free line. An automatic call distribution software is integrated into the call center system.
The automatic call distribution software provides customers with options where they can select their respective services by pressing the numbers assigned.
The ACD can differentiate the different needs and assign the customer to the appropriate agent, depending on the agent’s availability. Upon arrival at work, the agent is required to log in, and immediately the calls start streaming in.
The system can capture the customer’s details from the company’s database. It also recognizes the type of query and displays possible solutions to help the agent respond to the customer. Once the agent is done with one client, the system automatically assigns them to another client.
Outbound Call Center
Call center agents in this category initiate the calls to existing or potential clients. They mostly do telemarketing, take surveys, collect bills, schedule appointments, and renew subscriptions.
The software used in outbound calls is called an autodialer, and it comes in different forms, such as the predictive dialer, the power dialer, and the progressive dialer, among others.
The dialer initiates the call and assigns it to the agent to carry on with the conversation. This process is called cold calling, and it has proved to be a useful marketing tool that brings in more profits.
Technology Used in Call Centers
The vital tools in a call center are desktop computers and headsets. The other requirements are software, such as the dialing software, ACD, and IVR. With these, the call center is ready to operate.
Different organizations, however, have more specific needs that should be integrated into their call center. For instance, a call center might need to have in place a workforce management software or a customer relationship management tool for team management and customer handling, respectively.
The dialers used in call centers vary depending on their suitability and the organization’s needs. A predictive dialer, for example, is used in call centers that handle a large number of customers.
The Call Center Workforce
A more significant percentage of the call centers’ operation cost is spent on salaries. This is the case because the agents are essential assets in a call center. This notwithstanding, the workforce turnover is very high because of the little career progression in this department. Remember, their primary role is to make or receive calls. To solve this problem, call center managers should devise ways of ensuring their employee’s progress, and this can be possible by offering them training.
VoIP Integrated Call Centers
VoIP has completely changed the call center environment by increasing the speed by which communication is achieved. VoIP technology converts the sound signal into a digital signal that can be transmitted at a much faster rate compared to the phone lines.
VoIP has also reduced the cost of making calls and improved the quality of transmission voices in outbound call centers. Inbound call centers have also benefited since they can operate on the same data connection hence saving on cost.
In conclusion, all organizations ranging from medical services to real estate, and even the food industry need a functional call center. On whether the services will be outbound or inbound depends on the business needs.