Call center services can fall under the front end of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). Subsets of this industry are Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) and Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO). Using BPO not only frees up a company's time and energy for their core business, it also allows the company to be more flexible, which can help it grow at a faster pace. Typical BPO functions are financial and administration (F&A) processes, human resources (HR) functions, call centre and customer service activities, accounting and payroll. Some contact centers offer more services such as literature fulfilment (sending direct mail either before or after calls), accounting, list buying and list cleansing.
Since a contact center combines various activities rather than concentrating on just one, management in a small center can maximize the productivity of each agent, spreading out their workload according to their clients' needs. This is known as a blended call centre. The risk; however, is that an agent might not have the skill set required for each functions. For instance, if an employee is a very good service representative, it doesn't necessarily mean that he will also be an effective salesperson, especially if the training is minimal or he doesn't often engage in sales activities.
When outsourcing call center services, ask what the ratio is of team leaders to staff. You should find an average of 1 team leader for every 7-10 sales representatives. This ensures that staff is closely monitored and coached in order to obtain maximum results.
If you offer different services in your call center, be sure to divide the office accordingly so that each function has its own work space. Not only will this unite the employees, it will also prevent the people on the other end of the phone from hearing sales pitches or order taking in the background. Perhaps you'll choose to separate the outbound sales from inbound call center services such as the help desk, customer service, technical support, answering services, order taking and dispatch (by telephone or web-enabled, including email and live chat).
The Call Centre Expo and corresponding Customer Management Expo in the United Kingdom takes place every autumn and is a critical event for those dedicated to successful and effective customer contact, such as top-level executives working in fields like customer service, marketing, IT and sales and more. Events like this and the Contact Center Management Conference and Expo in America help attendees find the right call center solution for their needs.
Thanks to ongoing improvements in the range of technologies available in the industry, call center services are becoming more and more sophisticated. For example, Automatic Call Distribution, Skills Based Routing and Priority Based Routing can all be utilized to ensure that calls are directed to the most appropriate agent. Furthermore, Interactive Voice Response can reduce the amount of live human interaction and thereby cut costs by enabling automatic call handling.