Colette has taught many business and management courses and has a Masters in Adult Education and Training as well as an MBA
Introduction to Call Centers
One of the main factors that contribute to the success of a company is customer service. It's very important for a business to provide clients and customers and vendors with a support system. In this lesson we will discuss three main types of call centers and explain the job responsibilities assigned to each type of center.
The three major classifications of call centers are inbound, outbound, and automated. Businesses use these three types of call centers for various product or service needs that require an increased amount of customer service.
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- 0:03 Introduction to Call Centers
- 0:37 The Inbound Call Center
- 1:30 The Outbound Call Center
- 2:03 Automated Call Center Services
- 2:44 Lesson Summary
The Inbound Call Center
The first type of call center is the inbound call center. This type of center is used for customer service questions and transactions. Examples of the information and services provided can include:
- Chat support
- Email responses
- Technology support
- Loyalty programs
Other services are often provided as well, but these are the most common ones. The inbound call center can be located in the corporate office or another location that is run by the business itself, or it can be centrally located at a site where many agents from numerous companies work together in the same location. This arrangement is commonly referred to as 'outsourced.' The center can be located domestically (in the United States) or internationally (in another country). There are also an increasing number of representatives that do this type of work remotely from their own home.
The Outbound Call Center
The second type of call center is the outbound call center. This type of center is used mainly for sales, promotions, and market research. Examples of services provided can include:
- Election polling
- Warranty extensions
- Appointment scheduling for cable television
- Call backs for online price quotes
- Following up on leads for product or service sales
As with an inbound center, the outbound call center can be located in-house, outsourced, or remote. This type of center is typically located in the originating country of the business, but can be international as well.
Automated Call Center Services
Another wonderful thing about call centers and technology is the ability to automate some of the services that a business may need. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is used by companies to delegate some customer service functions to automated systems. Here is a list of some functions that are frequently outsourced for automation using Interactive Voice Response (IVR) software programs:
- Checking order status
- Completing surveys
- Validating and authorizing credit cards
- Troubleshooting technology issues
- Updating database information
- Announcing new products and services
- Transcription services
- Appointment setting
Inbound, outbound, and automated call centers are fast-paced environments where customer service is the number one priority. Businesses use call centers to assist customers by answering questions, completing transactions, and providing information to the customer. Call centers also allow the company itself to gather information.
Inbound call centers focus primarily on answering customer questions and completing transactions, whereas outbound call centers are usually focused on sales and research. Inbound and outbound call centers can be in-house, centrally located, or remote and may be domestic or internationally located.
Businesses can also delegate processes by using automated services software. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is used when the customer does not need to speak directly to a live person in order to complete the call. This is helpful to the customer and to the business because it decreases customer wait time. Checking order status, completing surveys, and activating credit cards are some ways that businesses use this service. Call centers can increase customer satisfaction and streamline processes for the business, thereby increasing productivity and profitability.
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Call Centers: Definition & Types
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