Call centers can be used for a large variety of services such as customer support or complaints handling. Most call centres are used for inbound services, whereas telemarketing is considered to be an outbound service. Inbound centers are utilized to receive calls from consumers or customers who have questions, need information, are reacting to an advertisement or offer, want to report a problem or file a complaint, need assistance, etc.
Conversely, an outbound telemarketer will concentrate on selling a product or service to a business or consumer. There are also telemarketers who focus on lead generation and appointment setting for more senior level managers. Furthermore, a telemarketing service can be used to encourage people to sign up for conferences or seminars, or attend industry events.
Advanced technology is used in order to ensure organized, well-monitored and accurately measured results. In fact, the global call center technology industry is a multi-billion dollar market! Some centers now have live chat functions allowing employees to chat online with customers, rather than speak to them over the phone. As businesses become more advanced in their product and service offerings, so too must call centres and telemarketing companies. Almost all call centers have recording devices to ensure that every call is recorded for quality assurance. Many figures are obtained in order to judge each employee's success rate, such as the Average Handle Time (AHT), Average Talk Time (ATT) and Average Speed of Answer (ASA). By careful measuring, managers can also balance each person's workload and schedule.
Large call centers usually have an overall manager, several supervisors or team leaders, dedicated account managers and sales executives, customer care representatives, a quality assurance department, a human resources department, and perhaps also a department dedicated to training and development. In some call centers, staff are arranged in tiers. For example, a first tier employee could be operators, order takers or appointment setters. Higher tiers will consist of more advanced employees, perhaps specialized in technical support or managing large accounts. A successful call center will motivate their employees and reward their success frequently and generously. It's critical for them to keep morale high and encourage friendly competition in order to keep telemarketing executives motivated and in high spirits.
The Federation of European Direct and Interactive Marketing Association (FEDMA) was formed as a result of a merger between the European Direct Marketing Association and the Federation of European Direct and Interactive Marketing. FEDMA works in the best interest of telemarketing industry professionals to provide information and negotiate industry regulations.
The International Customer Service Association (ICSA) is a non-profit group which offers information and advice to help its members around the world increase their knowledge, skills and contacts in the customer service field. Managers who run call centers and contact centers would be wise to join such affiliations.