Call Centers: Different Types and Functions

Call Centers come in several varieties and can serve a multitude of various functions. All call centers use telephone communication to convey information verbally. Call centers can be an individual department within a company, but also exist as separate entities hired by companies to handle incoming and outgoing phone calls.

Inbound call centers are typically used for service calls, tech or product support or to answer questions from consumers. If the call center is a part of the company, they may send the customer straight to the company’s tech or product support divisions, or they may field the questions themselves, functioning as both the call center and product support division. If the call center is a separate company, typically operators will convey the information to the company that produces the product or service, and that company can respond later. This is often done as a means to filter easy fixes and misunderstood information, so the company can focus on larger problems.

Outbound call centers serve a variety of functions. They can serve as a means to gather political opinions, collecting outstanding debts, general market research and selling products or services by phone (telemarketing). The process of calling citizens who have not submitted their number for the product, service or cause being promoted via call centers is referred to as “cold calling.” Typically, success rates are low, and some citizens do not like this process of promoting a cause, but it remains a viable option to engage the public and gain support for a cause or sell products or services.

Contact that provide a hub for individual communication. Emails, faxes, and other data can pass through contact centers to be routed to the appropriate party by the operator.

A typical call center includes an open floor plan where individual operators have access to a phone, headset and computer to accomplish their work. Supervisors can walk the floor and pick up on the individual operator’s speaking style and coach them on ways to improve or commend them when the operator is doing well.

Call centers serve as a valuable tool to many companies. Certain services can still be effectively sold through telephone sales, and randomized phone calls to collect data on the public’s opinion has proven to be a trusted means of gathering data.

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