How Does A Call Center Operate?
Businesses rely on call centers to handle their inbound calls from customers and prospects. Call centers also make outbound calls to drum up new sales. If your company needs a call center to tackle the essential function, you’ll want to know how a call center operates.
Even with the advanced technology today, customers still pick up the phone to call a company for service. A call center is needed when a business has a high volume of customers reaching out for support. Let’s go over how a call center operates.
What Is a Call Center?
Let’s start with the basics. A call center is a communication hub of a business. They take incoming calls from customers and provide the support they need. Some companies utilize a call center to make outbound cold calls to make sales. Call centers also make outbound calls to warm leads interested in the product or service they’re selling.
Call centers are sometimes in-office and other times outsourced to a third-party company specializing in this function. An outsourcing call center provider handles the communication on behalf of another company.
How Call Centers Work
Call centers operate in a few different ways. You’ll want to determine which is best for your business and its needs before making a move. Let’s go over how call centers commonly operate.
Inbound Call Centers Steps
- Call comes in
- Call gets routed to a representative
- The agent answers the call using the company’s name that the customer is calling. Example: “Hi, this is Jane with ABC Company; how can I help you today?”
- Agent listens to callers' needs and acknowledges them
- Agent provides the support or solutions to problems
- When customers' needs are met, the agent ends with a thank you and goodbye message
- Agent makes notes in customers’ accounts and handles anything extra needed to satisfy the customers’ needs.
Outbound Call Centers Steps
- Agent or automatic dialer makes contact with an individual via outbound calling
- Agent talks to the prospect or customer to complete whatever action the call is for. Common outbound calls are making a sale, collecting money owed, a customer service survey, or following up on a purchase or service completion.
- Agent ends the call with a thank you and goodbye message
- Agent takes any necessary actions to complete the transaction
- Agent makes notes in the account of the interaction
Types of Call Centers
- In-office call center
- Outsourced call center
In-office Call Center
A call center located in the company's office it supports has employees on staff that work directly for the business. The company does all the hiring, training, and monitoring of the department’s success.
The business handles all of the purchasing, set up, and maintenance of all the equipment, software, and tools needed for the call center to run smoothly. How big an office space it needs depends on how many employees the call center has.
The call center needs live representatives to take the calls and managers to oversee the operations.
Outsourced Call Center
An outsourced call center is super popular for businesses as it makes handling the essential function without much effort. An outsourcing provider is responsible for hiring, training, and monitoring each agent’s success.
The outsourcing call center provider also needs to make large investments in all the technology, equipment, and tools required to get the job done successfully. So, businesses utilize outsourcing providers to manage their call center functions to save time and cut costs.
The call center sets up operations for the company that hired them, and the calls start coming in soon after the ink on the contract dries. Experienced call centers have the technology and processes in place so they can hit the ground running right away.
The phone lines will get set up to start taking calls from the company's customers. The outsourcing provider and the business they’re hired by will write scripts and determine how the call center agents will handle the calls from start to finish.
Reputable call centers customize their processes to fit each business, so the partnership is a success long-term. One company might want their calls handled one way, whereas another wants a completely different way.
A customized service means the customers get the support they need when they need it. Many outsourcing call center providers offer service 27/7 365 days a year.
The Staff of a Call Center
Even with the awesome technology today, people still call into a business for service, so there’s the need for human support. A call center must have the right team to succeed.
Servicing customers isn’t always a walk in the park and requires some expertise to please them all. The truth is, consumer expectations are rising, so support staff need to step it up to satisfy their needs and gain loyal customers.
A call center needs enough customer service agents to handle the volume of calls coming in. The exact number needed varies, so it takes call center leaders to determine how many agents they need at various times to handle the call volume quickly and successfully.
A call center needs many staff members to run smoothly, including:
- Call Center Agents – These are the ones who are on the phones communicating directly with the customers, so they’re super important for a call center.
- Call Center Team Leader – Team leaders are essential to oversee the call center agents and provide them the assistance needed to solve every client's needs.
- Call Center Workforce Management Leader – These managers handle staff schedules vacations, and ensure there are always enough employees to handle the call volume.
- Call Center Quality Management Team – The quality management team monitors agents’ performance to ensure the customers' needs are met quickly and to their satisfaction.
- Management Information Systems Executives – This person or team is responsible for all the technology, software, and systems used and ensuring the company maintains a high-efficiency level with up-to-date equipment.
- Call Center Manager – This manager oversees the entire call center to ensure it runs smoothly, efficiently, and successfully.
Call Center Best Practices
Many call centers have dropped the ball in delivering excellent results. The truth is providing exceptional customer care can be the difference in a company just keeping the lights on and driving the revenue through the roof.
On the ball, call centers understand the importance of providing excellent customer care to gain raving fans and drive revenue.
When customers are happy and satisfied, they become loyal, and business grows from there. The majority of consumers choose their brand loyalty based on the customer service provided.
The success of its call center is critical for a business to survive long-term. Finding and gaining customers is half the battle; you must support them, which requires a large team and strategic planning at times. Let’s look at the best practices for running a successful call center.
Focus on Employees
When employees are happy and dedicated to the company, they put in more effort to ensure customers are satisfied and successful.
Retaining customer service agents is tough. Investing in your staff is investing in your company, as employees are the backbone of a business. Ensure your employees feel valued supported, have job satisfaction, and watch things run smoothly.
Let’s face it, technology makes the world go round, and that’s especially true for a call center. Ensuring customers' needs are satisfied quickly and efficiently requires maintaining up-to-date technology, equipment, and software.
It’s vital call center agents know the best practices for providing exceptional customer service. Don’t expect your new hires to provide excellent care; you must show them how to work the magic.
You can give all the training in the world, but if an employee isn’t a good fit, it will never work out long-term. Successfully at least. You must hand-pick capable staff with the right attitude and fit in well with your company culture. It’s a must for success.
Monitor and Analyze
Don’t assume your staff always provides the level of service needed to make customers feel cared for and appreciated. Tracking agents' performance is key to ensuring your team performs to standards. Of course, you must also implement necessary changes or provide additional training to lower-performing agents.
Sending customer surveys after an interaction will give you the valuable feedback you need to know how well your team satisfies customers' needs.
Call centers are a company’s voice as they communicate directly with customers over the phone. Call centers do both outbound and inbound calls depending on the company's needs.
A call center is customizable and can be used for phone communication for anything a business needs, whether conducting sales outbound or taking customer service calls.
Are you ready to get your call center started to take on the essential phone duties for your business? If so, contact Awesome CX today.