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 email@example.com or 800-901-7706.
Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.
Use an Answering Service to Block Out Time
People at all levels of business, in all sizes of businesses, struggle to find time to focus on key projects. Nowhere is this more critical than for e...
Selling a Distressed Answering Service
Prior posts have addressed the right time to sell your answering service, the wrong time to sell, and about leaving a legacy when it’s time to move ...
Why Insisting on a Stateside Call Center is an Ill-conceived Goal
When people reach a call center, they make assumptions about the agent and the agent’s location based on what they hear. While these assumptions may...
Use an Answering Service to Better Serve Callers
When someone calls your office, what happens? Don’t answer this question with what you hope happens or what you ideally want to occur but with the t...
7 Steps to Deal with an Underperforming Answering Service Sales Rep
If an answering service has sales reps they either produce consistent sales month after month or they underperform. Too often sales reps underperform....
A Professional Billing Service Provides Added Value to Answering Services
With the right software, anyone can generate telephone answering service invoices—and get them mostly correct. Yet it takes a company with unique in...
Use an Answering Service to Back-up Your Staff
In today’s fast paced business environment we all have more to do and less time to do it. Too often something needs to give. We skip some aspects of...
Use an Answering Service to Handle Your Office Hours Calls
Most everyone knows that answering services are great at answering the phone in the evenings and weekends, but they can also answer your phone during ...