Acall centreorcall centeris a centralised office used for receiving or transmitting a large volume of requests bytelephone. An inbound call centre is operated by acompanyto administer incoming product support or information inquiries from consumers. Outbound call centers are operated fortelemarketing, solicitation of charitable or political donations, debt collection andmarket research. Acontact centreis a location for centralised handling of individual communications, includingletters,faxes,live support software,social media,instant message, ande-mail.
A call centre has an open workspace forcall centre agents, with work stations that include a computer for each agent, atelephoneset/headsetconnected to atelecom switch, and one or more supervisor stations. It can be independently operated or networked with additional centres, often linked to a corporatecomputer network, includingmainframes,microcomputersandLANs. Increasingly, the voice and data pathways into the centre are linked through a set of new technologies calledcomputer telephony integration.
The contact centre is a central point from which all customer contacts are managed. Through contact centres, valuable information about company are routed to appropriate people, contacts to be tracked and data to be gathered. It is generally a part of company’scustomer relationship management.
A contact centre can be defined as a coordinated system of people, processes, technologies and strategies that provides access to information, resources, and expertise, through appropriate channels of communication, enabling interactions that create value for the customer and organization.Contact centres, along with call centres andcommunicationcentres all fall under a larger umbrella labelled as the contact centre management industry. This is becoming a rapidly growing recruitment sector in itself, as the capabilities of contact centres expand and thus require ever more complex systems and highly skilled operational and management staff.
The majority of large companies use contact centres as a means of managing their customer interaction. These centres can be operated by either an in house department responsible or outsourcing customer interaction to a third party agency
An auto dialer, autodialer, or autodialler is an electronic device or software that automatically dials telephone numbers. Once the call has been answered, the autodialer either plays a recorded message or connects the call to a live person.
When an autodialer plays a pre-recorded message, it's often called "voice broadcasting", or "robocalling". Some voice broadcasting messages ask the person who answers to press a button on their phone keypad, such as in opinion polls in which recipients are asked to press one digit if they support one side of an issue, or another digit if they support the other side. This type of call is often called "outbound interactive voice response".
When an autodialer connects an answered call to a live agent, it is often called a "predictive dialer" or "power dialer". A predictive dialer uses realtime analysis to determine the optimal time to dial more numbers, whereas a power dialer simply dials a pre-set number of lines when an agent finishes the previous call.
Any entrepreneur getting into the call center business today should be aware that he is entering a commodity-like business. Anyone claiming that they will offer innovation with niche practices is clearly not in the loop of the industry. One should accept the fact that this is not an innovative business. Given this how does one go ahead and make it a good proposition of investing in this pretty capital-intensive foray. After having finalized that you would want to get into the call center business, it is imperative that you have the required infrastructure in place, the core team to propel the business and around ten call agents fully trained and capable of taking up a pilot project.
One has to make a mark in the call center business, the focus should be based on high-end quality and experience people at the helm to drive this extremely intense business. Accent neutralization and training in various situations should be absolute and the message should be pretty much clear on how a call should be handled. The business is in real time and there is no getting back after a call is messed up. Next to this is to register under STPI so as to get the benefit of duty free imports for all the required hardware. In addition to this the important requirements are carpet area, equipment, communication and manpower. The carpet area depends on the number of seats. It can range from 55-155 sq feet per agent, depending on the services rendered by the center. Based on this, and the space planned for facilities, amenities and support areas, you can estimate the total carpet area. Communication/connectivity depends on the volume of traffic and services rendered from the center. A 200-seat call center will usually invest in a 2 Mbps international private leased circuit for inbound services, comprising two half circuits-one in India and the other in the US or UK through an international carrier.
Manpower deployed in a center falls under two broad categories-operations or agents and support or management. The ratio between the two varies depending on different parameters based on organization, services deployed and client requirements. Technology needs: In terms of technical resources, a voice witch/EPABX, multiplexers (for data and voice transport), modems, routers and RISC/ CISC servers, headsets, desktops, E1/T1 circuits for the connectivity, IVR, CTI and ACD (Automatic Call Distributor) are needed. Detailing further on the kind of investment, One would be surely looking at around $10,000 per agent for setting up the center which includes all the trappings. The cost of maintenance of a seat will be in the range of $4000-$5000 per year. Usually most of the operators costs will be two-thirds of their billings.
As highlighted, one should deliver consistent value and should not be a generalist but should have precise vertical focus. In terms of getting a client signed on, the essential is to have a core team who has gone through the learning process in a call center and the essential team of HR, Finance, Trainers, and Operations in place. If the business is managed efficiently, the entrepreneur can look at breaking even in around two and half years. One more crucial aspect that one should accept and work it in the business plan is that the attrition levels in this industry north of 35 per cent. One should have a proper recruitment plan in place for such attrition levels and should not try to swim against this tide.
Interactive voice response (IVR) is a technology that allows a computer to interact with humans through the use of voice and DTMF tones input via keypad.
In telecommunications, IVR allows customers to interact with a company’s host system via a telephone keypad or by speech recognition, after which they can service their own inquiries by following the IVR dialogue. IVR systems can respond with prerecorded or dynamically generated audio to further direct users on how to proceed. IVR applications can be used to control almost any function where the interface can be broken down into a series of simple interactions. IVR systems deployed in the network are sized to handle large call volumes.
IVR technology is also being introduced into automobile systems for hands-free operation. Current deployment in automobiles revolves around satellite navigation, audio and mobile phone systems.
It is common in industries that have recently entered the telecommunications industry to refer to an automated attendant as an IVR. The terms, however, are distinct and mean different things to traditional telecommunications professionals, whereas emerging telephony and VoIP professionals often use the term IVR as a catch-all to signify any kind of telephony menu, even a basic automated attendant.
A dialer is an electronic device that is connected to a telephone line to monitor the dialed numbers and alter them to seamlessly provide services that otherwise require lengthy access codes to be dialed. A dialer automatically inserts and modifies the numbers depending on the time of day, country or area code dialed, allowing the user to subscribe to the service providers who offer the best rates. For example, a dialer could be programmed to use one service provider for international calls and another for cellular calls. This process is known as prefix insertion or least cost routing. A line powered dialer does not need any external power but instead takes the power it needs from the telephone line.
Another type of dialer is a computer program which creates a connection to the Internet or another computer network over the analog telephone or Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) network. Many operating systems already contain such a program for connections through the Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP).
Many internet service providers offer installation CDs to simplify the process of setting up a proper Internet connection. They either create an entry in the OS's dialer or install a separate dialer (as the AOL software does).
In recent years, the term "dialer" often refers specifically to dialers that connect without the user's full knowledge as to cost, with the creator of the dialer intending to commit fraud.