Today’s call center technology has advanced rapidly over the past years. Having the latest technology has always been challenging for small businesses and even for medium-sized ones who could not afford to buy the hardware and software required for a call center. Whereas there was once only premise-based call center technology, now there is also virtual call center technology and cloud computing for call centers. New technology has completely changed the way that businesses handle their communication with customers. Although many large businesses continue to own and operate their own call centers, many are transferring to virtual call centers. These businesses must own and operate their own equipment, and when upgrades in software are needed, they must purchase these. They also have an IT staff who maintains and updates new equipment.
Traditional call center technology is a private branch exchange (PBX) telephone exchange. This system connects the phones within the company and uses trunk lines to connect them to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). Automatic call distributors (ACDs) send incoming calls to the next representative available. Modern ACDs manage a single large queue to store calls until a representative is able to take their call. Over the last 20 years or so, hosted PBX has become more popular. This service delivers calls via the Internet, and the calls are handled from a central location. With this technology, there is no need for businesses to buy expensive hardware and software for their call centers. A maintenance staff with IT workers is also eliminated for further savings.
A major advantage of using a company that provides call center technology is that customer service can continue nonstop even if a power outage occurs. By paying a monthly fee, businesses can use the call center service’s technology and labor force. It is even possible for a company to connect their main office with remote offices and outsourcing locations as well. Another advantage of virtual call center technology is that it allows workers to work from home. Those with physical disabilities can work from their computers rather than having to travel to a central office.
Call centers receive inbound calls by customers to ask for help or information, and outbound calls to offer sales of various products are also made at this location. Most call centers have employees who work in tiers. If the person who handles the call is not able to answer a question or provide enough technical help, the call is transferred to the next tier of workers. The employees on this level usually have more technical training or may be in the supervisory position, so they have the authority to provide refunds and more services to the caller. Some call centers are completely automated without any human interaction from the center, and callers respond to options by pressing digits on their phone pads.
Call center technology offers a variety of responses to customer needs besides answering phone calls. Some businesses offer outsourcing to companies that are too large to handle the number of phone calls that they receive. These virtual call centers can arrange outsourcing overseas or within the native country. Of course, even if English is the second language in a country, the accents of the operators may be difficult for callers to understand. It is a very inexpensive option for businesses to use if absolutely necessary due to the extremely low cost of overseas outsourcing. Outsourced call centers also handle faxes, emails, and chat logs for businesses to keep a company’s operations going through the day and night. Call center technology also allows operators to take applications over the phone and to handle customer service requests besides processing sales orders and providing technical support.