Call centers are customer-centric businesses that provide on-premises, virtual or hosted on-demand calls. Calls may be placed or received: inbound calls are made by consumers and outbound calls are made by agents to consumers. An inbound customer service representative receives and handles customers’ queries: the agent acts as a helpline to customers or as a source of information. An outbound caller often carries out telemarketing—soliciting prospective customers to buy products or services—or collects information from customers.
Many industry call centers have integrated human computer interaction (HCI) and customer relationship management (CRM) to support marketing, sales and service functions. The idea is to provide quick and effective communications between customers and agents and use any necessary method or technology, such as computer telephony integration (CTI (News - Alert)) to control all the functions of the phone call and conversation, to address customers’ inquiries and answer their questions.
Within an on-premises call center, one is likely to find trained representatives ready to place or receive a customers’ call; often, however, centers are equipped with the hardware and software necessary to fully automate it instead of using live operators—this is often used as a solution to cut costs. An automated call center processes incoming and outgoing calls with no human-agent intervention.
Calls centers use technology to empower voice and telephone responses, to allow e-mails and instant messaging to contact customers, and to provide on-screen orders and services on websites.
Call centers today have also been extending to cloud computing platforms for applications and services that are extremely easy to set up and for cost cutting: the Web services and support of application programming interfaces (APIs) can be integrated with CRM applications to administer call center administration without the need to run on-site hardware, software and network architecture.
Since the relationship with customers plays an important role in a call centers success, the communications across multiple technologies to address customers professionally is of utmost importance. Of the many aspects that need to be addressed when interacting with customers, voice is an important one. Technology can now help in this aspect too.
With EngageM8’s online system, which is to launch on August 2, call center agents can adjust the sound of their voice to improve the outcome of a telephone conversation; simply by listening in to both sides of a telephone call, EngageM8 can tell if the speaker is using the right pace, tone and intonation to keep the conversations flowing: EngageM8 uses an easy-to-read traffic light format (red, yellow, green colors) to indicate if the speakers voice is “in harmony with the other person on the phone at each stage of a telephone conversation.”
A possible application for such technology could be in businesses that have used employees from foreign countries to run their call centers. There are many outsourced contact centers and virtual call centers that have been hiring agents in areas where the labor costs are lower just to be covered with customers’ complaints of not being able to understand agents who are unable to communicate in clear English, use a friendly tone of voice, or employ good vocal and listening skills. With EngageM8, communication by telephone from call center centers could be easier: it makes a sales call like “having a conversation face-to-face,” says Simon Bell, the telesales consultant and trainer who has developed the system.
To find out more about EngageM8 Ltd., visit http://engagem8.com/.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO click here.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey