First things first. The words “Call Center” and “Call Centre” mean the same. The difference is due to the difference in word usage in US and British English. In US English usage “center” is the standard form whereas in UK English usage “centre” is the standard.
A Call Center is that department in an organization which deals in interacting with customers mainly using voice or telephone. Call center services are used for different purposes. Following are some of those:
- Customer Requests
- Register customer complaints
- Technical support
- Product information and support
Over the past few years, call center industry has become a specialized field. It is not longer simply answering a customer’s call. Call centers today work on high levels of efficiency to maintain low cost and hence more profit to the organization.
Since call center needs large manpower and specialized skills to handle calls, most organizations outsource this work to specialized companies. This is known as BPO or Business Process Outsourcing.
For example, a car manufacturer might not want to open and run a call center for its customers since that is not their speciality. So, they might outsource this work to a BPO which will share the customer feedback with the car manufacturer.
Types of Call Center
Based on the above activities call centers are divided into various types.
Inbound Call Center
An Inbound call center is where executives receive incoming calls from customers and resolve their queries. Most companies give out helpline phone numbers. When customers call up these numbers their calls land in an inbound call center.
Outbound Call Center
Outbound call center is where executives make outgoing calls to customers. Companies need to contact their existing or prospect customers for various reasons. For this purpose they engage the services of an outbound call center. Most of the telemarketing calls you receive are made from one of this kind. Although primarily used for telemarketing, some other campaigns involve complaint resolution, customer satisfaction feedback, welcome calls, debt collection etc.
There are some other varieties of Call Centers listed by Wikipedia. Do Check them.