A call center is a business division or a third-party entity that represents a business. It is primarily responsible for providing personalized experience to the customers by executing inbound as well as outbound communication with customers and prospective clients. Small-scale businesses often outsource their customers' interactions to local call centers. While these units have various business objectives, they essentially function as cost or profit centers. A cost center focuses on retaining customers to prevent lost business, whereas profit center focuses on generating profit-earning opportunities.
Based on the needs of the organization, it can either set up a call center division or outsource the task to a call center. Popularly, organizations opt for third-party call centers as they are more cost-efficient and effective.
Call centers are popularly leveraged by telemarketing organizations, computer help desks, polling services, charities, online merchants, etc. These companies use the medium of call centers to connect with their customers in order to extend their products and services.
Generally, in inbound call centers, the representatives handle a significant amount of calls daily. They also can forward calls in certain cases to the more qualified or concerned individuals. Call centers typically use an interactive voice response system that answers the calls and harnesses speech recognition technologies to resolve the queries of the customers with installing automated messages. In some specific cases, the calls are routed to the customer care executives. A call center representative, agent, or executive is the professional who handles the interactions with the customers.
When it comes to outbound call centers, the agents call the customers on behalf of the business or clients in order to obtain leads. The primary tasks in outbound call centers include leads generation, fundraising, collecting debts, customer retention, telemarketing, scheduling appointments, etc.
Following are the primary types of call centers that you should be aware of –
Call centers are developed to provide customers with an effective communication channel to gather information with regards to a certain product or service. Instead of writing a long email or going to the store itself, customers have the convenience of enquiring about products or services from the comfort of their home. Most people prefer such support services over other mediums available for communicating with a company as they get personalized services without much hassle.
People today have the misconception that phone services have become outdated. Over 44% of the American population continues to use phone services as opposed to other communication channels. Phone support is one of the important functions associated with customer service teams, as customers generally look forward to having a personal contact when it comes to obtaining support services. With call center representatives, you have experienced professionals providing you customized solutions on a real-time basis.
Following are the primary functions of a call center –
Boost Sales Opportunities
Outbound call centers employ salespeople who call to generate leads or prospects. The team here basically aims at generating new sales and revenue while expanding their customer base. Generally, call centers include organizational sales goals and quotas for each employee or team. Each team or employee must accomplish that goal within a specific time frame.
Provide Personalized Customer Service
Customer service and support are one of the primary functions of the call center. This function involves providing the best experience to each customer of the organization. This is accomplished by harnessing positive, conversational skills. Providing customer service is not limited to a phone call; call center executives also provide these services via email, social media channels, live chat, etc. Ratings by customers are the metrics used to evaluate the performance of the call center executive.
Optimum Utilization of Resources
Companies either want to boost their revenue or minimize the costs across all aspects of their business. Cost-minimization in a call center involves optimizing the efficiency of utilizing the resources. Small businesses especially need to accomplish their business objectives with minimum costs. Average handle time is the evaluation metric that call centers use in this scenario. This is basically the time it takes a representative to execute an outbound sales or service call or handle customer issues in the case of the outbound call center. As it is essential to adhere to the quality of the call, call centers also put special emphasis on making as many calls as possible in a day.
Customer retention is an important part of the call center functions. Customer retention involves ensuring that a customer becomes a consistent purchaser and eventually turns into a loyal client. Customers' retention is especially important for small and growing businesses as they cannot offer to lose any customers. Additionally, retaining customers is more cost-effective than investing in new promotional activities in order to attract new customers. Along with providing a positive experience on the first contact, call center executives also engage in follow-calls in order to monitor the experience of customers and solve any issues that might have arrived with regards to the product or services.
Following are the types of customer care services –
Customer Care: Customer care is undoubtedly a vast solution that most call center companies offer their customers. Whether a customer requires relevant information related to some bills, unsubscribe from a service, or need support using the company's product or service, customer care typically stands at the forefront of an organization.
Typically, customers who purchase products or services from a company mostly communicate with the business via the customer care division of the call center. The kind of services a customer receives from a customer care center can be detrimental to an organization. Therefore, it becomes imperative for the call centers to provide their customers with nothing short of the best possible services.
Out of many services that call center outsourcing companies to provide its customers, customer support stands the frontline. Customer support is one of the complex aspects of customer care services because it requires an agent to put in their best communication skills. People often get upset with the customer care agent due to the lack of communication skills. Being such an imperative aspect of the call center service, it is crucial that the company make the right hiring decision.
Customer Acquisition: Customer acquisition is another popular service that calls centers to provide its users. Customer acquisition doesn't merely include acquiring customers, but it also focuses on enabling consumers to get in touch with a representative to make a purchase.
It is a form of catalog sales. Generating business customers requires call centers to invest a lot of their resources and generally need a sales agent to contact potential buyers over the phone. Along with businesses selling their products to the customers, they often also extend the products and services to other organizations as well.
Business-to-Business: As mentioned above, there are many call centers that are outsourced to offer services to business to business. If you are a part of a large corporation, you might have seen that various important functions of the organizations are contracted to call centers. This allows businesses to concentrate on their key operational areas and allow dedicated professionals to take care of the other services.
Call centers often aid with healthcare, human resources, business technology support, insurance services, office supplies, travel, etc. Furthermore, call center professionals are ideal when it comes to doing business to business sales. Business to business is an extensive market and a huge as an aspect of call center services.
Direct Response: Direct response is highly vital for any business that is looking to generate new customers and leads. Direct response services required call center representatives to be available to help customers with the sales process. These consumers may contact the agent because they found the product on promotional channels that include catalog, TV, internet, or radio commercial. Direct response is very important to businesses as it is responsible for generating revenue.
This type of service is often staffed with the most qualified resources, including qualified and trained representative who holds a strong knowledge with regards to the products and services. Additionally, these professionals are also skilled in services such as up-selling items, soft selling, cross-selling, etc. While the direct response is closely similar to customer acquisition, the direct response typically requires the executive to generate sales when the potential customers contact a company to make a purchase of a certain product or service rather than company making calls to the customers and convincing them to buy a particular product or service.
Usually, a business makes a predetermined agreement with a center to execute the services and put set up a team of skillful professionals, as well as provide a well-structured script that contains soft sell and response information that helps in generating sales, cross-selling and up-selling products. Along with considering what type of professional the company needs, call centers also need to have potential leads ready so that agents are well-aware of whom to contact, the type of IT solution, and software solution from the respective software/mobile app development companies that need to be in place to make calls.
With growing competition in the market, customers are looking out for a brand that can offer them the most personalized services. Consecutively, companies are forced to make customer engagement an important aspect of their customer service. And call centers play a vital role in providing customized services to the customers and generate sales.
If a company aims to grow its business while ensuring optimum customer satisfaction, then it needs the assistance of a call center.
Call center allows companies to manage their existing clients and potential leads that can eventually turn into new customers. Customer support and sales are the two primary sections of a business that benefits most from the services of a call center.
In fact, small companies with limited clients can also benefit from the potential of the call center and expand their client base in an efficient manner. Additionally, the fact that the cost of acquiring call center solutions is quite cheap further makes call center a potent business tool. Furthermore, with call centers, companies get comprehensive features that help them with various business aspects. The customer support and sales team encompass skilled professionals who can harness their expertise and help companies achieve various objectives.
There are various types of call centers that cater to the needs and objectives of different businesses. Overall, a call center provides companies with a comprehensive combination of efficient as well as effective business solutions that allow companies of various sizes and nature to take their customer service a notch higher and obtain the best possible results.
Here is a tip…
Managing a huge number of phone calls from different demographics can pose a significant challenge for companies. While attending to customers’ queries and supporting them is critical; without a proper system, it can consume time, cost heavily, and can affect your support measurement.