A call centre or call center is a centralised office used for the purpose of receiving or transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone. An inbound call centre is operated by a company to administer incoming product support or information inquiries from consumers. Outbound call centers are operated for telemarketing, solicitation of charitable or political donations and debt collection. In addition to a call centre, collective handling of letters, faxes, live chat, and e-mails at one location is known as a contact centre. A call centre is operated through an extensive open workspace for call centre agents, with work stations that include a computer for each agent, a telephone set/headset connected to a telecom switch, and one or more supervisor stacan be independently operated or networked with additional centres, often linked to a corporate computer network, including mainframes, microcomputers and LANs. Increasingly, the voice and data pathways into the centre are linked through a set of new technologies called computer telephony integration (CTI). A contact centre, also known as customer interaction centre is a central point of any organization from which all customer contacts are managed. Through contact centres, valuable information about company are routed to appropriate people, contacts to be tracked and data to be gathered. It is generally a part of company’s customer relationship management (CRM). Today, customers contact companies by calling, emailing, chatting online, visiting websites, faxing, and even instant messaging. Technology
Call centre technology is subject to improvements and innovations. Some of these technologies include speech recognition software to allow computers to handle first level of customer support, text mining and natural language processing to allow better customer handling, agent training by automatic mining of best practices from past interactions, support automation and many other technologies to improve agent productivity and customer satisfaction Automatic lead selection or lead steering is also intended to improve efficiencies, both for inbound and outbound campaigns, whereby inbound calls are intended to quickly land with the appropriate agent to handle the task, whilst minimizing wait times and long lists of irrelevant options for people calling in, as well as for outbound calls, where lead selection allows management to designate what type of leads go to which agent based on factors including skill, socioeconomic factors and past performance and percentage likelihood of closing a sale per lead. The concept of the Universal Queue standardizes the processing of communications across multiple technologies such as fax, phone, and email whilst the concept of a Virtual queue provides callers with an alternative to waiting on hold when no agents are available to handle inbound call demand.
Some variations of call centre models are listed below:
* Contact centre – Supports interaction with customers over a variety of media, including but not necessarily limited to telephony, e-mail and internet chat. * Inbound call centre - Exclusively or predominantly handles inbound calls (calls initiated by the customer). * Outbound call centre - One in which call centre agents make outbound calls to customers or sales leads. * Blended call centre - Combining automatic call distribution for incoming calls with predictive dialling for outbound calls, it makes more efficient use of agent time as each type of agent (inbound or outbound) can handle the overflow of the other. * 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.
Sitel is a telemarketing and outsourcing business headquartered in Nashville, TN. It maintains over 130 call centers in 26 countries. Prior to its...