Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Inbound Call Center and Customer Relationship Management

Call centers are created by organizations to receive inbound calls for varied day-to-day business reasons. Since companies invest tremendous amounts of money into customer- care relationships, they carefully monitor customer perceptions of their efforts to serve them. There’s a growing awareness in the business community that customers are unhappy dealing with computerized message delivery systems. Callers tend to perceive interactive voice response systems (IVR), voicemail, and even a standalone answering machine as too formal and not user friendly. Call centers and answering services that feature live phone operators are viewed much more positively by callers, and give companies a more personal, caring and relaxed image.

Inbound calls to any organization generally fall into one or more categories; calls are placed to obtain information, report a problem or error, or ask for assistance. This is different than outbound calls placed by a sales agent with the purpose of selling a product. This practice is known as telemarketing, which entails a different set of methods and requirements for successful operation. Inbound call centers can be expensive to run, but they are invaluable to today’s businesses.

Companies increasingly outsource their call center needs to large call center companies located in India, The Philippines and some parts of Latin America where there is a large population of professionals who are fluent English speakers. Overseas outsourcing isn’t always necessary. There are many call centers located throughout the United States that large and small companies utilize for inbound customer service and sales calls.

The definition of routine business is constantly expanding to include transactions that used to be handled on site, in person. Call centers offer more to inbound callers than simple message taking, order taking and the like. Call centers are quickly growing to meet the needs of retailers, taking orders for fast-food giants and local restaurants. The agents are taking orders for flowers, gourmet food items, direct-to-video DVDs and just about any other product that’s sold on the open market. Some large call center companies are broadening their range of offerings by increasingly dealing in complicated solutions aimed at low-cost service enhancements. Bundled with automatic services, live inbound call centers thrive all over the globe.

Ira Spere is a writer for EFLS . com where you will discover a wealth of resources on inbound call centers and other related information.

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