For companies and individual managers who are not experienced with outsourced call center services we offer the following basic definitions of the wide variety of services available to companies across virtually any business sector.
A call center is a centralized facility or function used for receiving high volumes of customer service phone calls or making high volumes of outbound B2B lead generation or appointment setting phone calls to identify potential new customers. Generally speaking, call centers services providers deliver support via telephone, whereas contact centers use the telephone.
Inbound Call Center Services
Inbound call centers perform the functions of: customer service, order processing / order taking, Tier 1 help desk support. Inbound representatives answer customers’ questions about products and services, assist them in placing a product order and deliver technical assistance. The customer service call center should be staffed by friendly, helpful and knowledgeable call center customer service representatives who are trained to deliver inbound customer service and, ideally, are not distracted by other tasks.
Shared and Dedicated Team Programs
Inbound customer service call center programs generally are of two types, dedicated and shared. A dedicated call center customer service program usually is one with high volumes of daily calls. A team of representatives, or agents, is assigned solely to that program – they are dedicated to it, and it is the only program they work on. A shared team program, on the other, usually has low to moderate call volume and the agents that support a shared program also work on other shared services programs simultaneously
Outbound Call Center Services
Outbound call centers perform the functions of: B2B lead generation, appointment setting, customer win-back, inside sales and customer and market surveys. When engaged in a lead generation or appointment setting cold call, it is the responsibility of outbound representatives to quickly engage with potential customers, generate interest in a product or service and secure approval to schedule an appointment for the sales team or other next step in the sales cycle. Outbound call center programs are put to use for lead generation and appointment setting among new customers or for existing customers who have become inactive and might be interested in new product or service offerings. Outbound call centers are also assigned the task of cold calling lists of known buyers within a given market or industry to discuss their upcoming buying plans. These customer or market surveys are used for follow-up sales calls or to generate market data
Call Center Reporting and Management
Most call centers record and capture the outcome of every call either received or made within their inbound call center and outbound call center capability. Typically, all calls are recorded for future review. And the call center typically uses software that tabulates each call, which is then used to generate detailed call center program reports that are instrumental management tools. For call center outsourcing, it is critically important that the call center service provider is held accountable for its performance and results. Detailed reports should be available on a monthly, weekly or daily basis, based on the client’s preference.
There are more than 3,000 call centers in the United States alone. Many thousands more exist in Central America, Asia and the rest of the world. They come in a wide variety of sizes and specialties. Some have expertise only in a single industry, such as apparel or healthcare, while others are experienced across a range of industries.
Companies hire outsourced call centers in order to avoid the management, personnel and technology challenges of managing their own call center. They also hire them to leverage the specialized lead generation, appointment setting, call center customer service and other skills that inbound call centers and outbound call centers offer. The objective of outsourced call centers is to provide excellent service that improves their clients’ customer loyalty, generates more sales revenue and lowers their clients’ cost of doing business.