Saturday, April 23, 2011

>What You Need To Know About Inbound Call Centers

>Call centers provide phone-based services to clients
or customers either in the private or public sector.
Call centers have become an important communication
channel to acquire new customers as well as to support
existing ones. During the past few years, the number
of call centers and the number of employees or agents
has been growing rapidly demonstrating the increasing
importance of call centers.

The direction in which the contact between the
customer and the agent is distinguished through
inbound and outbound call centers. In inbound call
centers, the agents receive calls from outside
customers, and therefore these call centers are driven
by random customer call arrivals. In order to achieve
customer satisfaction, short expected waiting times
are important. The performance can also be measured by
waiting times, availability of service, or customer
abandonment.

How Inbound Call Centers Work

Inbound call centers are there to receive calls from
existing or potential clients. Normally, the quality
of communication in these kinds of call centers, is
perhaps more important than that of outbound call
centers, wherein the agents initiate contact with
potential clients. In case the client is the one to
contact the call center, one thing can be certain: the
client requires aid or information that the agent must
be able to supply.

Typically, the client’s query can be answered by the
first agent who takes the call. In that process, there
is no waiting or lag time, and the client is assured
that the company has the answers he or she needs.
However, it is impossible to have an expert answer
every single call due to the utter volume of inbound
calls that a usual call center receives. For this
reason, most inbound call centers rely on a tier
system in order to deal with several incoming calls.

Also called the multi-tier support, the tier system is
a foundation of call centers handling inbound calls.
In this instance, the client who has a specific
question or complaint about a product he or she has
purchased from the company, the first tier employee
can transfer the call to a technical support
specialist.

However, most inbound call centers that use the
multi-tier support system have a total of three tiers
with the third tier consisting of developers or
engineers of the technology or the product. Through
this, the majority of customer requests and questions
can be dealt with effectively and quickly. Basically,
if the client is satisfied with the responses and if
there are no waiting time, the call center is doing a
good job. The importance of satisfactory communication
should not be underestimated.

The Role of Technology in Inbound Call Centers

Aside from the multi-tier support, technology also has
a role to play in facilitating the company’s method in
dealing with inbound calls. The data received from
inbound calls are normally recorder and reported
making the call center effectively predict the type of
information and the number of agents in each tier that
will be needed in the future. Through this, the time
at which the calls are transmitted between agents
continues to develop and calls can be answered faster.
The technology that minimizes the waiting time and
answers and transfers calls quickly often leads
directly to increased customer satisfaction.

However, the use of technology will always be a
support instead of a substitute for human interaction.
The agents or the employees remain the backbone of
inbound call centers and the only means of ensuring
customer satisfaction and preservation is through the
quality of communication.

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