Your Company May Have a Call Center and Not Even Know It
September 19, 2016
The classic definition of a call center is a centralized place where calls are answered. Though the answer is straightforward, identifying corporate call centers is not always so easy.
Yes, the obvious corporate call centers are those large rooms with rows of cubicles staffed by people who spend their day talking on the phone to customers and prospects. Yet the larger the company the more likelihood they have other call centers, too. These may be harder to find and may require a bit of investigation to uncover them.
Consider the following situations:
A Team That Fields Phone Calls: Any group of people who handle phone calls for a specific purpose is effectively a call center. This may be for customer service, complaints, a help desk, collections, scheduling, telemarketing, inbound order taking, lead generation, and more. Even if it’s just one person on the phone, he or she is effectively a call center.
A Person Who Handles Customer Emails: If one or more employees have the primary task of responding to incoming email messages or monitoring social media, he or she also fits under the call center banner. (Technically we would label this a contact center, but for now that’s just semantics.)
Staff Who Answers the Phone, Takes Messages, and Transfers Calls: Employees who we might call receptionists, assistants, or department resources often do a lot of work on the phone, such as answering phone calls, taking messages, transferring callers, giving out information, setting appointments, and even placing calls. Yep, these employees most likely make up a call center, even if it’s only one or two people.
Shared Space Where the Phone Rings: Sometimes a group of employees works together as a team. Though their primary task may not be to answer phone calls, this is part of their job description. Collectively they share the responsibility of answering their department’s ringing phone. The unfortunate result is that most of them view phone answering as a secondary duty or beneath them. They hold back when the phone rings, hoping (or expecting) someone else will answer. Taken to an extreme, in stubborn resistance, no one answers the phone and the callers suffer. The result is a most ineffective call center.
These are all examples of corporate call centers in disguise. Labeling them as such is the first step to their proper management and to maximizing their value and success. In most cases, standard business thinking does not apply to call centers. Call centers require specialized management, and without the specific supervision they require, they will flounder at best and fail at worst.
Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier consultancy for corporate call centers, whose team possesses decades of relevant business and call center experience. Contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-901-7706.
Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.
What Are the Key Capabilities a Call Center Manager Needs?
Hire Leaders That Possess These Essential Capabilities and Then Teach Them Other Skills A call center manager must master many things. While they can ...
Manager Versus Leader: What Is the Difference Between a Manager and a Leader?
A Successful Call Center Requires Both a Manager and a Leader Who do you want to run your call center, a manager or leader? Are they the same thing or...
Call Center Managers Must Seek to Maintain a Good Work-Life Balance
Call Center Managers Often Fail Because They Try Too Hard Managing a call center is hard work. Not everyone can do it. In fact, many people can’t. D...
Do You Have a $30 per Hour Nurse Doing $12 per Hour Phone Work?
Many healthcare call centers staff a mixture of registered nurses and telephone agents—or at least they should. The nurses do what they’re trained...
No Client is Too Small to need an Answering Service
Music teacher Kay Carter spends her summers providing private music lessons to elementary through high school students. She began offering the lessons...
Prepare Your Answering Service For Stormy Weather
“Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it,” so said Charles Dudley Warner. Bad weather affects us all, including t...
Why You Might Benefit from Having a Multilocation Corporate Call Center
By strict definition a call center is a centralized place where calls are answered. However, technology now allows this fixed characterization to expa...
Optimize Your Customer Base to Increase Revenue
In last month’s post, Don’t Forget to Sell to Your Existing Client Base, we discussed the importance of including existing answering service clien...