Call center solutions solve a range of age-old problems. As far back as ancient times, the success of a business has always depended on how well that business can communicate with clients and meet their needs. It is necessary to be available, in touch, easy to reach, and pleasant to deal with. From the point of view of the customer who needs to purchase a product, or is having trouble with a product or service he has already purchased, help must be readily available. From the point of view of a business competing within a certain market or industry, it is necessary to be recognized, and to constantly maintain or increase one’s market share. At the bottom of all these needs is communication, and that is exactly what the call center is there to provide.
This may sound simple, but it isn’t. Communication is no longer just a matter of answering the phone. For a start, there are several different modes of communication – phone, fax, email – and clients use them all. In response to this, there are several solutions that make it easier to compile and integrate communication from all these different sources. Computer telephony integration, or CTI, is important to every major call center. This is just one example of a solution that a large call center is able to provide, while smaller, in-house centers may find it harder to keep up to date.
Because of the sheer number of calls and other communication coming into a call center on any given day, it is important that the calls be managed and distributed for maximum efficiency. In and of itself, answering calls in a timely fashion is vital. Being put on hold for lengthy periods of time is a common pet peeve for many customers; in fact, it has been proven that businesses lose clientele because of this. Everybody’s time is valuable, and clients resent it when technology appears to make things more difficult rather than easier. Moreover, if a customer calls in order to get a solution to a problem, he or she wants to speak someone qualified to solve that problem – as quickly as possible. Nowadays, various solutions exist that allow calls to be answered quickly and distributed effectively. These include interactive voice responses, which make it easy for a call that is answered automatically to be managed correctly.
Call centers are also a major source of outreach for many organizations, and there are many technological solutions that allow outgoing calls to be made much more efficiently than in the past. With manual dialing or elementary automatic dialing, much of the call center agent’s time was wasted. The agent would continually call numbers that were not answered, out of service, or busy; he or she would reach a live voice less than 50% of the time. In fact, in the past, agents would typically spend only twenty minutes of every hour interacting with clients or potential clients. Developing a solution to this problem, and the inefficiency that accompanied it, was paramount – and sure enough, today’s predictive dialers allow the agent to spend about fifty minutes of each hour interacting with clients. This is a far more efficient use of time. Predictive dialers transfer the call to an agent only when a live voice responds. They also keep track of which agents are available at a given time, in order to correctly distrubute the calls that come into the call center.
All in all, call centers today are equipped to provide a wide range of effective solutions to age old communication problems, as well as the increasing communication demands of today. There is one possible catch, however – larger call centers are far more able to provide these solutions and services. Smaller centers, or in-house call centers in smaller companies, may not be able to keep up. Keep in mind that it is not only their own client base that they need to ‘keep up’ with – as the demand for good communication increases, each company is competing with every other company’s level of communication, service and self-promotion, as well. For this reason, many companies are turning to larger centers to outsource communicaiton services, knowing that in this way they will be able to access a full range of call center solutions.
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