Call center service – what is it?
Call center is the entire infrastructure for a comprehensive and mass customer service using the telephone exchanges, databases and special IT applications allowing to manage relationships with customers. Currently, the term “contact center” is often used because the organizations wishing to be in direct contact with their customers, increasing their availability and adapting to new technological developments, turn to such means of contact as emails, chats, web, call back, and other. The development of the call center industry goes back to the 90s, when emerged first ICT applications which made it possible to improve the contact management processes. Now, in connection with the development of information and communication technologies, customer service centers, in addition to the traditional services offered by phone, also support other communication channels such as email, chat, web, fax, sms, and social media. In connection with the business expansion, the term contact center is being used more often.
At the moment, customer service centers are part of customer relation management, the so-called CRM ( Customer Relation Management). Their functioning, structure and quality standards are set in the CRM strategy, where constant contact and customer satisfaction are key values. Contact Center is part of the customer service system and, one hand, serves customers through ICT infrastructure, while on the other hand provides information on relations with customers to front-office systems.
There are different categories of contact centers, depending on their functions and ongoing operations. The main division distinguishes between inbound and outbound contact center. The first ones support incoming traffic, while the second ones outgoing traffic.
Servicing incoming calls typically covers the following areas: consumer services, specialized technical assistance, support services, booking systems, receiving catalog orders, handling complaints, “disaster recovery”, helplines, hotlines, support for marketing campaigns, telebanks and insurance.
Outbound contact service involves market research and marketing surveys, telemarketing and customer search, debt collection, databases updating, customer satisfaction surveys, actions to promote new services, up and cross selling, arrangement of meetings.
Depending on who performs contact center services, we can distinguished between inhouse contact centers, operated within the company, and outsourced contact centers, where the company decides to outsource this part of their activities to an external service provider.
When it comes to customer service center’s tasks, we can distinguish six basic functions, using the terminology of the English these are:
- customer service: multidimensional customer service in the area of services and products offered by the organization
- telephone answering service – A more personalised version of the call centre, where agents get to know more about their customers and their callers; and therefore look after calls just as if based in their customers office.
- telesales: sale of services and products in order to generate revenue
- technical support: specialized technical assistance at the stage of after-sales customer service, trying to complete the direct order upon the first contact attempt
- dispatch centre: taking calls by initial contact consultants, and transmitting them to further helplines which handle needs requested by the customer
- collections: outbound-initiated actions to collect money or funds
- research: market research or customer satisfaction survey
Interactive Intelligence report in 2013 about the attitudes of USA citizens to the services of call centers shows that we enjoy receiving information through contacts with a call center. The published results indicate that a call center is the most popular among customers means of contact with the service provider.
prepared by: Vlad Lytvynenko
Customer Support Leader, Solution Technology Plus
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