Types of Call Centers

Whether you are looking to outsource your call center or run one yourself, you should consider the different services offered by call centers. The services you need might affect which types of call centers would work for your needs. There are different types of call centers to suit different situations and goals. A company looking to increase customer solutions, support systems, and market research will need additional services in a call center compared to a company that just wants customer service support. Before you decide on a call center, investigate the different types to ensure your needs will be met.

 

Inbound Call Center

An inbound call center is what most people think of when they imagine a call center. Customers call a phone number and are connected with an agent hired by the company. Support teams will typically monitor calls that are primarily from existing customers with technical questions or support issues. Most inbound calls are quick fixes or first level support for common issues, but more specialized agents can handle more complex calls. In general, inbound calls will consist of the following:

  • Product or tech support
  • Order processing or payment processing
  • Upgrade and renew inquiries
  • Answer business inquiries
  • Customer service

 

Has the Landscape of Direct Response TV Marketing Changed?

An outbound call center is when agents call potential or existing customers rather than have them initiate the call. Outbound call centers are typically used for sales, promotions, market research, and customer surveys. Some companies use outbound call centers for a welcome call where new customers are created and given more information about the company. This process is made faster with the help of predictive dialers so agents can get through large call volumes in one day. While the exact tasks vary by call center, most outbound call centers will handle and provide these services:

  • Proactive announcements like communication delays or order changes
  • Prospective calls to convert potential customers
  • Renewal calls to entice existing customers to repurchase
  • Cross-selling to existing customers to encourage sales of new products
  • Debt collection or owed balance reminders
  • Customer satisfaction surveys after varying periods of time
  • Market research
  • Appointment booking for in-person support or appointments

 

In-House Call Center

An in-house call center is directly responsible for customer loyalty, support, and other services, making in-house call centers ideal for companies with intricate internal workings or support processes. In-house call centers are typically staffed by dedicated and well-trained agents that facilitate all interactions with new, old, and potential clients from within the company. In-house call centers let a company offer the personal touch, control every aspect of support and outreach, and keep their data in-house as well, but it is not a perfect solution for everyone.

Virtual Call Center

Virtual call centers use geographically dispersed agents but use cloud technology to create a unified call center. The cloud technology is relatively simple and does not require special equipment or programming. You only need a phone, computer, and internet connection to get a virtual call center up and running. Once the virtual call center is running, you can manage the system with a CRM tool or sales support system with no expensive or complicated software required. This system lets agents work in groups or from home while not sacrificing the quality of their services. You can even divide virtual call centers into domestic and international groups, so incoming domestic calls are sent to the domestic agents, and international calls are sent to the international group of agents. International call centers often use toll-free or local numbers to minimize fees for customers.

Choosing a call center can be an overwhelming decision, as they are many factors to consider. It can be hard to navigate the choices, but ListenTrust is here to help. Contact ListenTrust to learn why we are the best choice to run your next call center and ensure your business has its needs met by an experience industry partner.

 

 

Get Started by Contacting ListenTrust Today!

For more information, contact Tom Sheppard, VP Business Development, at: tsheppard@listentrust.com.

Advantages of a Call Center

Advantages of A Call Center

 

Call centers are specialized departments that exist to handle large call volumes for a business, whether that be fielding customer service calls, screening new patients, or various other services. Each call center staffs agents trained in customer service, market research, general support, and more to field the calls. Call center employees focus on roles within the company, and the specialized training allows agents to obtain relevant information that can help the company in future interactions. Call centers are a widely used and incredibly valuable tool, but there are many advantages of a call center that not everyone sees.

 

What are the benefits of call center?

Call centers can help a business of any size. Between reducing in-house costs, improving customer satisfaction and experience, providing marketing information, and more, there is no shortage of benefits to a call center for even smaller businesses.

 

Reduced Costs

If you decide to outsource or use a separate business to run your call center, you are only paying for the time agents spend on your calls plus operation fees. This system is significantly cheaper than running your call center in-house, but you can also run your own call center. If you want to run your call center, you are still not paying as much as you would for specialist or skilled labor, as most call centers consist of entry-level employees. Call centers are popular jobs for students who want to gain experience in an industry, which also keeps the costs low for you.

 

Increased Customer Satisfaction

A reliable call center will use defined roles to ensure all issues have sufficient covering; when a customer calls in, they talk with a representative who has enough information to solve the problem or find someone who does. The more proficient and efficient a call center is, the better the customer’s experience will be. Low wait times, a simple phone tree, knowledgeable agents, and more all make the customer experience better. When the customer experience is better, your customers will likely become loyal to your brand.

 

Increase Sales

When companies handle their own calls or a voicemail to catch customer calls, they miss up to 90% of calls. Many customers simply will not leave a voicemail or wait through long hold times to speak to a representative, which means your business loses sales. A dedicated call center ensures you do not miss those calls and have every opportunity to turn those calls into sales. You can also use a call center just for overflow calls when your employees are all already busy, so you are not constantly paying for a call service you don’t always need.

Competitive Advantage

If your competitor has a business phone number staffed by 24/7 agents compared to your office number that doesn’t list hours or time zone, most customers will choose your competitor. It is not enough to sell a good product; you also must support your customers. Adding a call center to your business helps your company stand out by telling customers you care about them and what happens after buying a product. A customer will be more willing to make a big purchase with your company if they are confident in your customer support compared to your competition.

 

Saves Money

It might sound expensive to hire a call center when you could directly hire a few people to manage your calls, but that is not the case. With shared service call centers, you only pay for the minutes or hours the agents manage your business’ calls. Hiring a call center to monitor your calls 24/7 is often cheaper than hiring one person to cover your calls full-time. Instead of paying one person’s wages, benefits, equipment, and other needs, you can hire a call center to do the same job for less overall.

Deciding to add a call center to your business is a big decision, and there are so many different providers to choose from. Learn more about ListenTrust and discover why ListenTrust is the best choice for your next call center. We have the industry experience and knowledge to be your best call center partner at a reasonable price.

 

 

Get Started by Contacting ListenTrust Today!

For more information, contact Tom Sheppard, VP Business Development, at: tsheppard@listentrust.com.

Nearshore VS Offshore: The Call Center Dilemma

Nearshore VS Offshore: The Call Center Dilemma

There are numerous options for businesses looking for a call center partner: not all of them are created equal.

Call center outsourcing is popping up everywhere. From India to the Philippines, South America to Mexico, for businesses and nonprofits, the options are vast. What’s the right approach? Should you opt for a near-shore or offshore contact center?

To some, the answer might appear obvious: You pick the most affordable option.

Businesses typically select a contact center partner based on cost, location, cultural considerations (like language), or a combination of the three. Most often, however, price wins the battle. But, as is the case with many things, from your coffee maker to your call center, the cheapest option isn’t always the best.

Could the Least Expensive of the Outsourcing Options Damage the Value of your Brand?

Brand equity is priceless, it is the intangible value earned through years of hard work. And, it can be damaged in minutes. Think of your favorite brand, they’ve spent considerable time and effort (as well as money), to develop a relationship with you, earn your trust, and keep you coming back. At some point, we’ve all been let down by a favorite brand, or any brand, for that matter.

When a business lets you down, the process of earning your trust again is an uphill battle. The bad taste lingers beyond the poor experience, and sometimes, there’s no coming back.

The hard work and money you’ve invested in building a successful brand, and the trust you’ve earned with your audience, can be eliminated with just one bad call. While the cheapest offshore (or onshore) contact center is an attractive solution, the probable harm negates any potential gains (this includes saving money).

Brand equity is difficult to earn and easy to lose.

Enculturation: Why Nearshore Outsourcing is the Best Solution for your Brand

Enculturation:
Noun
The gradual acquisition of the characteristics and norms of a culture or group by a person, another culture, etc.

Enculturation is one of the most significant factors to consider when selecting a contact center partner for your business or nonprofit. According to Wikipedia, “Enculturation is the process by which people learn the dynamics of their surrounding culture and acquire values or norms appropriate or necessary in that culture and worldviews.”

Yes, while the offshore contact center in India or the Philippines you’ve selected offers English-speaking agents, those agents likely lack the knowledge and first-hand cultural experience to relate to your customers. From a philosophical standpoint, meeting your customers where they are, i.e., having the ability to empathize, understand, and connect to them from a cultural perspective, is a factor critical to success.

“Enculturation is the process where the culture that is currently established teaches an individual the accepted norms and values of the culture of society where the individual lives. The individual can become an accepted member and fulfill the needed functions and roles of the group. Most importantly the individual knows and establishes a context of boundaries and accepted behavior that dictates what is acceptable and not acceptable within the framework of that society. It teaches the individual their role within society as well as what is accepted behavior within that society and lifestyle.” Conrad Phillip Kottak, American Anthropologist, in Window on Humanity

We learned this the hard way.

ListenTrust operated a contact center in beautiful Belize. Our agents were highly trained and spoke English masterfully, as, for most of them, English is their first language (it is the official language of Belize). We assumed, incorrectly as it turns out, that a mastery of the English language is the only component necessary to hire and train a team of exceptional agents.

Take it from us speaking perfect English isnt the only factor for determining a successful call.

Our agents in Belize, skilled as they are, were unable to make a connection with American customers. It isn’t easy for the average Belizean to travel to the United States. As a result, they were unable to relate to the kinds of conversation unique to American callers. For example, topics related to sports in the United States, American films or television, or references unique to an American audience, went over the head of our culturally unfamiliar representatives. Our agents grew frustrated, we became frustrated and, most significantly, customers were unhappy.

We learned, through trial and error that language alone does not make up for lack of cultural understanding.

Conversely, agents stationed at our Hermosillo, Mexico call center, many of which have spent time living and working in the United States, possess a mastery of the English language and understand the subtle (and not-so-subtle) cultural nuances of an American audience. Where, in Belize, building rapport with an American caller was nearly impossible due to a substantial cultural barrier; in Hermosillo, we’ve witnessed the opposite.

Our Hermosillo-based contact center agents excel at building rapport with a U.S-based audience. This is almost entirely due to their familiarity with the United States from both a cultural and language perspective.

We’re not too close to the border.

It’s worth pointing out, Hermosillo, unlike Tijuana which plays home to many contact centers, has proven to be an ideal location for agent success not too far from the American border and not too close this is a distinction we should discuss. Turnover within call centers in Tijuana is disproportionately high when compared to Hermosillo. Tijuana is home to a transient population of workers just passing through. This makes it virtually impossible for border-close contact centers to build a base of skilled workers with the kind of professional experience that can be established only through tenure. It also means contact centers in Tijuana are populated with agents unfamiliar with the deeper characteristics of an American audience and they won’t be able to relate to your callers.

We should discuss accent.

There is a common perception that agents in a Mexico-based near-shore contact center, will turn off a U.S.-based audience due to their accent. We’ve never found this to be an issue; our highly-skilled, expertly trained agents sound no different than any number of Hispanic individuals you’re likely to encounter in your own workplace. The likelihood that an offshore contact center will be unable to compensate for issues related to accent, however, is high.

ListenTrust is the Ideal Nearshore Outsourcing Partner for your Business or Nonprofit

If you’d like to learn more about our team of skilled, culturally aware agents, and how ListenTrust can help to enhance the brand equity of your business or nonprofit, please contact Tom Sheppard, VP Business Development, at: tsheppard@listentrust.com.