If you mention call center, most people immediately get an adverse reaction because they envision scenarios where they’re either on hold for long periods, shuffled back and forth between agents, or getting called at all hours of the day. However, call centers are valuable to many businesses, and we hope you’ll see by reading this article how they benefit both customers and companies, and why they’re necessary even today.
Definition & Purpose of a Call Center
Call centers are offices that are set up to handle large volumes of calls that are equipped to handle many aspects of a business like customer service, support, order taking, troubleshooting, or simply directing calls to the proper department within a company. They typically have a straightforward script or set of instructions that the operator will follow through with the caller. A call center can be on-site or off-site and can handle both inbound calls and outbound calls if the company requires it.
When you have a small company with a small number of customers, it’s typically not difficult to handle calls that come in asking questions, demanding support, or wanting to place an order. However, when a company grows to serve thousands or millions of customers, calls can’t be handled internally, and a dedicated team is required to deal with the volume.
The purpose of having a call center is to make it easier for both the company and the customer to communicate, solve problems, complete orders, and sell goods and services.
Virtual Call Centers — What Are They & How Do They Work?
The typical image that comes to mind when we think of call centers is a large room or office filled with people ‘working the phones’ and dealing with customers. Many think of these as noisy, cramped places, but that’s not always the case.
And while the large, centralized office full of people make up the bulk of call centers, more and more virtual call centers are coming online.
A virtual call center is made up of individual workers or agents working from home or small branch offices. They use voice over IP (VOIP) and cloud computing technology to function as one cohesive group, despite being in scattered locations.
Virtual call centers are becoming increasingly popular because it saves on expenses for a company, facilitates service in different time zones, and allows workers to be more flexible with home obligations while still being able to work.
As better high-speed internet connections become more widely available, more call centers will be virtualized, making it more convenient for both the company and the employee.
Are Call Centers Still Useful Today?
While you might think call centers have outlived their usefulness, thanks to the internet, the truth is call centers are still a valuable way for companies to handle large volumes of calls, and for customers to pick up the phone and talk to someone to get help with a problem. Remember that many older people don’t have computers and prefer to do business by calling someone to place an order or resolve an issue.
Also, some people don’t want to surf the web for hours to find an answer to a problem or deal with emailing a company and would prefer to pick up the phone and talk to a live agent to get their issue resolved quickly.
And call centers aren’t going away anytime soon. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, call center customer rep jobs are thought to grow approximately 36% by 2026.
Another reason call centers are still valuable in today’s world is because of how many companies a person has to deal with that don’t offer any support or only offer little help. Take a company like Amazon; while they have no trouble attracting a large customer base, many find their customer support to be lacking.
Integrating a call center which allows customers to call up and speak to a live human being to get help when they need it is still a valuable service and a selling point for any company. Companies that utilize call centers are often able to provide for better customer support and service experience than companies who don’t.
Companies also benefit significantly from call centers because they can use the data they gather to personalize services and offers to particular customers and know better what their users want, which allows them to be more proactive in their offers.
Benefits of Outsourcing to a Call Center
Now that we have all the negative stereotypes about call centers put to rest, let’s look at the reasons a company would invest in outsourcing to a call center in the first place.
Lower Cost of Employees
The first thing to consider is the cost of employees and overhead. If a company were to employ hundreds of people in an internal call center, they would incur higher operational charges than if they sourced the work to a call center, which saves money on their bottom line.
Integrate the Latest Technology
Also, the call center is the one responsible for staying on top of the latest technology and ensuring that every part integrates perfectly into the system rather than the company having to take on this burden. Because making and taking calls is the only job of the call center, they’re more flexible in integrating new technologies when they become available.
Offer 24/7 Support
Another thing that makes outsourcing to a call center ideal for a business is the fact that the call center can offer 24/7 support for a company that may only operate on a 9-5 schedule. This makes the experience better for the customer who knows they can reach out any time day or night for help and they’ll get it.
Can Easily Scale
The call center is scalable, which means the company can have more workers brought in quickly as the volume of calls increases or decreases with little effort. This is especially helpful with seasonal business or when running campaigns.
Trained in Customer Service
Lastly, at a call center, great customer service is the top priority. This means that everyone is trained to be polite, professional, empathetic, and customer oriented. While a company has many aspects of their business to juggle, a call center centers itself on keeping callers happy and satisfied.
Many people don’t see the value of a call center until they need it. And a good call center experience can make the customer see the company as valuable and trustworthy. Companies who use call centers should strive to ensure the customer service experience is top notch.