Types of Call Centers
An Inbound Call Center handles a considerable volume of calls at the same time, screens and forwards calls to someone qualified to handle them and logs calls. An interactive voice response (IVR) system will answer calls and utilize speech recognition technology to either address customer queries with an automated message or route calls to the appropriate call center agents or recipients via an automated call distributor. Agents in an inbound call center may handle calls from current or potential customers regarding accounts management, scheduling, technical support, complaints, queries about products or services, or intent to purchase from the company.
In an Outbound Call Center, an agent makes calls on behalf of the company or client for tasks, including lead generation telemarketing, customer retention, fundraising, surveying, collecting debts or scheduling appointments. To maximize efficiencies, calls are usually made with an automated dialer and then transferred to an available agent via an IVR system once a connection with a person has been made.
A Blended Call Center handles both inbound and outbound calls.
Call centers vs. contact centers
Call centers focus on one communications channel, the telephone. Contact centers provide support from additional channels, such as email, chat, websites and apps. A contact center may include one or more call centers.
Contact centers provide multichannel support, assisting customers on whichever channel or device they happen to be on. Whether an organization chooses a call center or contact center depends on the products and services they provide, the channels on which they provide customer support and how the support teams within the organization are currently structured.
Industries Benefited from Call Centre
Any industry that seeks to interact with customers via the telephone can benefit from a call center.
- Airlines – Customers call airline toll-free numbers to engage with IVR menus or to speak to customer service agents. Customers can check flight status, obtain flight details and check frequent flyer mileage balances. In addition, flyers can speak to customer service agents to re-book a flight. When weather conditions, such as a large winter storm, cause flight delays or cancellations, it’s critical that airlines provide quick response to customers’ needs.
- Healthcare – Customers call healthcare providers to make appointments, change or confirm appointments and to ask questions to physicians. When a medical emergency arises during off-hours, healthcare providers can use outsourced call centers to receive calls, then route the calls to an on-call physician.
- Retail – Customers call retail businesses for assistance before, during or after purchase. Before or during purchase, customers may ask a customer service agent about shipping details or the retailer’s return policy. After a purchase, customers may call to report a missing item or request a return.