Are your company’s call center services all that they could be? Even centers that were state of the art a decade or so ago might be out of date and inadequate today.
As technology expands, so do clients’ expectations regarding communication. Nowadays, a client will normally expect to be able to contact a company representative more or less twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, either by phone, fax or email. Clients expect a quick response and courteous, efficient service regardless of how the communication is carried out. Though the technology to support this level of service is readily available, it can be a challenge for call centers to keep up with. Moreover, the quality and scope of outgoing calls remains important, as global competition for clients is fiercer than ever.
Here are just some of the services that inbound and outbound call centers need to provide to be competitive in today’s buisness world. Agents must be able to take orders, process transactions, respond to requests for services and information, and provide effective help for clients who are having problems with the company’s products. A sort of ‘help desk’ is often necessary, with two or three tiers of agents who can respond to various requests and queries.
Regarding the outbound function of the call center, market research, polling and sales calls are conducted on a near-constant basis. Supervisors are needed to monitor the agents, and outcomes of calls are tracked and reported by various means. Usually, this requires the call center to have on-site supervisor stations, as well as up-to-date means of tracking and reporting. These fairly traditional services are only the beginning; nowadays, a call center may also be required to respond to letters, faxes and emails, use computer telophony integration (CTI), and provide service through voice recognition programs for those times when the call center is ‘closed’.
However, that really is the point – a modern call center should never really be closed at all. Increasingly, clients may reside in different time zones, and they have the right to expect service at any time. Even within a given time zone, there is an expectation of constant availability. This, along with the proliferation of means of communication and the need to integrate and respond to information from various sources, adds to the modern call center’s tasks.
The need for all of these services puts considerable pressure on the modern call center, not to mention the company itself! For this reason, some small and medium sized companies may find themselves unable to meet all of these demands for service on their own. Some companies may resist outsourcing their call center needs, perhaps feeling that the personal touch would be lost. According to call center service providers, however, they needn’t worry – the modern call center is more than able to provide knowledgable, personal service to clients. It has been proven mathematically that a single large call center is more effective – in terms of cost and service – than multiple small centers. It is easy to understand why this makes sense.
The larger the call center, the more able it will be to provide the full range of services needed today. Some technological solutions are expensive to acquire and update, but if their cost can be absorbed by a large call center that services multiple companies, everyone can take advantage of the technology without having to individually acquire all the hardware and software. Moreover, in a large center, training and supervision becomes streamlined and effective. Individual agents gain expertise at a rapid pace; being exposed to a range of clients, their learning curve is huge.
All in all, there are many reasons to consider call center outsourcing, not the leas of which is the demand for an increasingly comprehensive range of call center services. Nowadays, companies really have no choice but to give clients what they want and need. A modern, fully equipped call center can help you do just that, at a reasonable cost and with updates available as often as you need them.