Call centers exist in countries all over the world, acting as centralized departments which specialize in handling both inbound and outbound telephone calls from not only current, but also potential customers. They can be located either within a business / organization or they can be outsourced to another company to manage.
Call centers vs contact centers
Call centers are focused only on one communication channel, i.e. the telephone, whereas contact centers provide support to customers using a range of communications channels, including online chat, digital applications, and email. Contact centers can often contain one or even multiple call centers within it.
Contact centers provide customers with omnichannel support, giving assistance on whatever device or channel it is that they are using. Businesses choose call centers or contact centers based on the products it uses, the services it provides, the channels it uses to provide those services, and the support structures available.
To find out more about exactly what call centers do and how that differs from contact centers, read the following article on the Utility Bidder website.
Types of call centers
Further to outbound, inbound and blended, other classifications of call centers include these:
- Virtual call centers – here a business or organization employs agents that are spread out geographically, using cloud computer technology to answer calls. Agents can either work in small groups out of an office or on their own from their own homes.
- Outsourced call centers – with these, a business or organization employs a third party to handle all of the calls on their behalf. This removes the need to hire and train agents themselves, and the burden of investing in all of the equipment required to run a call center.
- Offshore call centers – the business or organization outsources all of its operations to a thyroid party provider in a different country in order to save money on agent wages and building a facility. The negative aspect of doing this is a reduced level of customer satisfaction due to issues with language, culture, and a lack of knowledge about the business / organization, or the products or service due to the distance factor.
- Inbound call centers – a business or organization both owns and runs the call center on a day to day basis and is responsible for hiring the agents.
Call center technology
The main pieces of technology that any type of call center requires are computers and headsets. Agents working in call centers use computers and headsets for the purpose of both making and receiving telephone calls. With this technology, they are able to communicate with customers in an easy and clear way.
Those agents that are working remotely from their own homes may require extra technology in order to allow them to work. The main thing is that they have a strong and secure broadband connection so that they are able to connect to the business’ or organization’s systems and softwares.
Some of the tech and software may include outbound dialers, call monitoring software, IVR software etc.