Call centers are hubs that handle communication responsibilities for one or more companies. Call center operations can vary based on the communications they cover and their structures. Using a call center at your company may allow you to use other resources more efficiently by shifting customer-related responsibilities from staff whose time is better spent on other tasks. In this article, we discuss what a call center is and how businesses use different call centers.
What are call centers?
Call centers represent a company or centralized branch of a company that provides telecommunication and other services. Its primary responsibilities include fielding incoming calls, making outgoing calls or otherwise receiving and transmitting emails or web chats.
Other services provided by a call center may include performing surveys for research, finding sales leads and helping to organize phone communications for a company.
What is the purpose of a call center?
The primary purpose of a call center is to help make your operation more efficient. By placing some of your company’s duties on call center professionals, you can offer customers the best possible service while reducing the cost of investing in resources for your company.
Call centers can improve both a company’s ability to gain new customers and also to keep existing customers by streamlining and centralizing some processes and services.
Types of call centers
Call centers can offer a broad range of services, and different call centers work better for different responsibilities. There are six primary categories of call centers, and it’s important to understand the strengths of each to pick the best call center option for your company:
An inbound call center receives calls coming into the company. Most often this is a service provided to existing customers of your product or service or new customers looking to make a purchase, however, it can include providing service to staff from your company.
Services provided at inbound call centers may include:
- Processing orders: After receiving a call from a prospective client, a call center representative may carry out several tasks with the caller, including explaining their purchase options, recording order information and collecting payment information.
- Providing dispatch services: A dispatch center may receive calls, transfer them as needed, and monitor the progress of any shipments and deliveries.
- Offering help desk support: When customers experience problems, a call center representative in support may offer solutions when a customer knows what is wrong, help identify potential sources for the issue if they don’t, and call in a service request if needed.
- Answering and transferring calls: A call center can act as an answering service, with representatives working as an answering service that may receive calls from customers, ask about the reason for their call, and then transfer the caller.
An outbound call center specializes in contacting customers on your behalf and can be a way to expand the reach of your company at a minimal cost. Common responsibilities for representatives at outbound calling centers include:
- Selling to potential customers: Telesales professionals commonly work with a list of provided leads, often gathered through market research to identify demographics most likely to be interested in a company’s products, and make direct contact to pitch the company’s goods.
- Expanding your sales reach: A call center representative in a telemarketing role may perform customer outreach, conduct surveys of existing customers or reach potential customers to determine if there is interest in a product or service.
An automated call center allows a company to reduce the cost of its call management by having computer-based systems handle some caller responsibilities. Automated systems often allow for a significantly smaller staff than live-operator call centers, as they only require staff to maintain the systems and handle select responsibilities the automation cannot complete.
Although phone calls are still an important part of modern businesses, there are many other forms of communication and interaction with customers. Many modern call centers expand their offerings to clients to include other communication tasks, including sending and receiving faxes and emails and overseeing order fulfillment.
A call center offering an omnichannel service may build upon multichannel offerings and add enhanced coordination and customization. With an omnichannel call center, all departments assigned to a client are in communication, which can allow staff to learn from information gathered through phone calls and vice versa. This approach allows for enhanced customization of the approach call center representatives take when interacting with clients in order to generate better results.
Some call centers are now virtual, with staff working from their homes or other remote locations instead of all being together at the same facility. A virtual call center may also specialize in outbound marketing calls. Because a virtual call center does not have a single, physical facility it operates out of, it can reduce a company’s operating costs. Lower overhead costs can help the company increase its profits and allow it to offer lower rates to its customers.
General Call Center Benefits
Despite the name, call centers handle more than just telephone calls. They often take care of communication online via real-time chats on the company’s website, through email, or on social media. Many businesses outsource services to a call center for the following benefits:
- Reduced costs
- Increased flexibility
- Greater responsiveness
- More service coverage (including different languages)
- Access to the latest technology
- Freeing up business resources to invest elsewhere
If you see ways that a call center can help your business, GoCloud is here to help. Let our dedicated team of experienced professionals give you a competitive edge.