A call centre (Commonwealth English) or call center (AmE) is a centralised office of a company that answers incoming telephone calls from customers or that makes outgoing telephone calls to customers (telemarketing).
Call centres are generally set up as large rooms, with work stations that include a computer, a telephone set (or headset) hooked into a large telecom switch and one or more supervisor stations. It may stand by itself or be linked with other centres. It may also be linked to a corporate data network, including main frames, microcomputer and LANs.
Increasingly, the voice and data pathways into the centre are linked through a set of new technologies called CTI, or computer-telephony integration.
Such an office may also respond to letters, faxes, e-mails and similar written correspondence. However the term contact centre (Commonwealth English) or contact center (AmE) is often applied when such multiple functions are blended in one office.
A call center is a center for processing phone calls or an operator center.
Call centers help companies to process big amounts of calls from customers/users (applications, questions, opinions, complaints), and call customers/users to sell goods, advertise or hold marketing research (customer surveys).
Call centers are usually divided into corporate, which provide services for the owner-company and outsourcing (commercial), which offer services to outside companies.
In Russia, most corporate call centers belong to mobile phone operators, who constantly need to give support to their subscribers. If a company does not need to support its customers on a permanent basis, it uses commercial call centers.
Unlike a corporate call center, a commercial one is rather an assemblage of call centers, each intended for a particular customer.
The customer gets reports on the number and duration of calls, traffic
distribution and can carry out remote monitoring of the call center operation.
As a rule, commercial call centers offer two main groups of services:
ē Processing of incoming calls by an operator. This covers reference and information services, hot lines, reception of orders and inquires ad twenty-four-hour support of services. Besides, in some particular cases (for example, during interactive phone opinion polls) incoming calls may be processed automatically with the help of IVR system (interactive voice response).
ē Provision of outgoing calls, which normally includes database generation, actualization and support, interviewing and interest inventory testing, reminder service and even telephone sales.
In addition to incoming services, some call centers offer a multi-channel Moscow phone number, free federal phone number 8-800-200-????, and easy-to-remember phone numbers.
Every customer-call is registered and saved in a special call-center database. Besides, the operator has access to the customer relations file (for the latest or previous calls).
A special shell program for each customer and each project is installed on the operatorís computer. A shell program is a mini-program about the structure of the customer database content. In addition to the database, the operator has a scenario for working with a subscriber (customerís client).
The scenario is drawn up by the customer or is created by call center managers. It includes a greeting, any possible questions and answers, which may arise in a conversation with a subscriber and simulation of conflict management. In this way, clients can receive quick, professional and personal response to every call.
Call center operators are usually women, with pleasant cheerful voices and clear articulation. Some call centers, including ARCTEL, pay much attention and devote a lot of time to operatorsí training, as the operatorsí ability to communicate with people is very important for the project success and creates a favourable image of the customerís company.
MANAGING A INBOUND CALL CENTRE
An inbound call center provides a vital link between a company and it's customer because it enables company representatives or call center agents of the company to directly talk to the customer regarding any product information, inquiry on usage or malfunction problems. Managing an inbound call center requires the correct combination of people, work processes and technology to get everything going right. So let's take a look at what you need to do as a call center manager when selecting these aspects of call center management.
Before you get down to selecting the staff you need for your call center, you need to note down the characteristics or skills that you expect from a candidate. After this you need to create effective techniques that screen applicants for the job. Matching candidate skills requirement with effective screening techniques is one way that will help you to find the right person. Getting together a team of individuals with the right skills and mentality is very important to running the call center smoothly for the simple reason that good call center agents do a better job on the telephone, are happier with their work, and genuinely enjoy helping customers, thereby promoting the company's image.
Effective work processes are another essential aspect to the nature of call center work dynamics. You need to have proper work processes that are tailored to track every aspect of customer calls. This requires that you clearly define the steps involved on how a call should be initially attended, handled and recorded once over. Matching the key elements of a customer-communication procedure to examples of the various responsibilities within the call center will make responsibilities and work tasks to be better understood by your agents. Give clear examples in all steps and remember that well-defined work processes and procedures are what ultimately reflect the company policy.
A call center's work is chiefly carried out through software and computer technology. You need to assess your technological needs by studying how the call center services are going to help customers and match your work requirements with the features of the technology you intend to use. Additionally you need to understand how to protect your call center technology by learning disaster recovery planning and its implementation so that you can effectively manage your call center.
Managing a call center involves understanding the dynamics of people, process and technology all of which are essential to run the call center smoothly and up to customer satisfaction.
CALL CENTER REPORTING SOFTWARE
In any call center environment, reports are of great importance. Call center reporting consists of the data that is collected from daily inbound and outbound calls.
Typical call center reporting might include: call attempted, calls completed, calls dropped, messages left, busy signals, etc. A clear understanding of when calls are placed and to whom they are placed makes call center staffing and productivity issues and planning easier to understand and undertake.
A predictive dialer report consists of: agent names, hours logged in, talk time, contacts per hour, etc. This helps with scheduling issues, performance evaluation and more. Call center reporting software helps you understand how well your call center agents are doing and where changes need to be made. Some call center reporting software deals with activity history by agents, activity history by queues, agent performance trends, call volume by time of day, call logs, talk, wait, ready times, call outcome activity, service level activity, list progress activity, outbound dialing activity, hourly productivity, summary productivity, etc.
Most of the packages provide reports in a browser-compatible format to distribute performance statistics via an intranet or the Internet. Contact center managers can view information almost anywhere with a click of the button, reducing costly production and collating times. The software can also capture and provide a complete history of each and every contact transaction. There are many reporting software packages available online and their updates are put on the Internet at regular intervals. But the most important factor is to select a package that works for your company in order to get the maximum output.
CALL CENTER MARKETING SOLUTIONS
Call center marketing solutions assist in the promotion and selling of products, so as to ensure the business success of the clients. Call centers are the contact centers or customer interaction centers of a company. They come up with prompt responses to customer enquiries. The outbound services of call centers help to maximize the revenue with the identification of new sales opportunities. They offer customized solutions to meet the sales challenges and improve the market share. Call center marketing solutions enhance sales with incorporation of modern marketing tools in place of traditional marketing techniques.
Call center marketing solutions include telemarketing and email marketing for the lead generation. They use automated systems such as interactive voice response, advanced speech recognition, voice over phone etc for advertisements and campaigns. The call routing techniques help to provide services with high end resolution. Call center marketing solutions make use of intelligence surveys which are inevitable to enhance product presence in the market. They also promote real time sales of the product with the help of real time marketing.
Call center marketing solutions are offered by skilled professionals in the marketing. Their services are available on 24 hour 7 day basis, which helps to meet the requisites of the international market. They facilitate direct response campaigns to companies in different sectors such as healthcare, pharmaceutical, insurance, telecom and financial services. They make use of competitive marketing techniques and tools to meet the business target of clients. Call center marketing solutions formulize a comprehensive strategy to acquire new clients through effective marketing solutions. They increase customer base with positive customer experience and improved speed of product in the market. The call center marketing solutions provide more flexibility and efficiency for product promotion in the market.