30. July 2020 Blog

What are the key functions of a call center?

Call centres, in general, are perceived as departments reserved for larger companies. Of course, this domain was popularized thanks to companies with many employees & products or services sold. As a result, call centres are often seen as open spaces with endless rows of desks where customer representatives seat and talk over a phone. Some may even say that their job is repetitive and doesn’t create value. Reality shows something different. Call centre functions are now more meaningful than ever.

Who is a call center for? 

The development of e-commerce, customer service standards, and increased competition force even the smallest companies to deliver high-quality service. Nowadays, all businesses need to keep in touch with clients, resolve their problems, and reply to their questions as fast and as efficiently as possible. 

Fortunately, forming in-house call centers is no longer a hurdle. The better accessibility of call center systems functions helps small businesses to adjust to the rules of the game. 

The game where the prize is customer experience (and likely, higher revenue). It’s not the only benefit, though. Keep reading to find out what are the key call center functions and how you can benefit from them

Types of call centers - what’s the difference? 

It should come as no surprise that the functions of call centers, along with its specializations, have developed over the years. The main types of call centers, however, stayed the same: 

  • Inbound call centers. These types of call centers revolve around support services. If clients have a problem, a query, or doubts, they contact customer service representatives right away via phone. Most cases are related to tech support, billing issues, information about a product, or problems with orders. Even though in today's technology-packed world clients have various contact options to choose from, they are still likely to use phone calls. 
  • Outbound call centers, on the other hand, are departments responsible for the outgoing calls. Agents who represent outbound call centers often engage in selling, collecting debts, or running surveys, just to name a few. From the customer perspective, such calls are sometimes found to be annoying. There are ways to use cold calling to your advantage, though. 

What functions can call center software to fulfill?

While investments in digital infrastructure are among the three business priorities for service leaders, not mentioning about call center system functions would be huge negligence. Especially since the beauty of call center functions is that they impact various business areas. Let us mention a few more benefits of call centers and their functions:

#1 Call centers can maximize sales opportunities 

Less known functions of call centers are those related to handling sales-related tasks. Surprisingly, these are not only cold calls meant for pitching. What options do we have here? 

  • Qualification of leads - in some industries, the number of leads can be counted in thousands, but they are of different quality and thus, need some verification. There’s no need to waste time on ineffective calls. You can have an assigned call center agents to qualify leads first. For example, the list of contacts can be uploaded to your call center software. Then, the agent will call all people from the list. Afterwards, thanks to simple integration with CRM, the qualified leads can go straight to a dedicated salesperson. 
  • Closing deals - today, technologies and online sales went to the level that you can easily agree for a given offer over the phone. Moreover, advanced predictive analytics supports the agents’ work. It suggests the probability of the sale for the given client. This enables reps to suit the offer for each client and close the deal. What’s not to like about that?
  • Returning customers - many companies take advantage of the existing customer base to generate new purchases. Your call center agents can easily call the clients to present new offers, based on the previous clients’ product choices. Speaking of...

#2 Call centers can Improve client retention 

As customer acquisition is sometimes more costly than client retention, the focus on the latter sounds reasonable. One of the functions of call centers is contacting the existing customers to prolong agreements. 

But client retention should be understood in a wider context to help customer service reps keep clients. They should be armed with more arguments to sell more. With new offers, personalization options, discount policies, and availability of new products, the effects may be more spectacular. 

#3 Call centers can help you offer a personalized service experience 

Customer experience is not a cliché used by service leaders to show off. Companies have already found out how crucial the role high-quality service plays in business. That’s why making improvements in service delivery are key call center functions. 

For example, most customer-oriented companies and managers in call centers apply call queuing. They utilize it to hold the clients when reps are busy. The commonly used feature is also call recording. It enables agents to listen to the previous talks before reaching the client.

Another frequently used option is call routing that allows to route calls to the right agent. The options you can choose from are countless, from IVR and skills-based routing to VIP queuing. 

#4 Call centers often mean an efficient utilization of resources 

On the list of call center functions is also effective utilization of resources. This can be achieved only thanks to optimized processes. The huge potential in such optimization is seen in technology. It confirms a recent Gartner research. It says that when customer service reps feel the tools they use improve their ability to handle customer issues, their productivity can increase by up to 20%. 

Another way to improve effectiveness is to introduce clear metrics for customer service reps. Usually, the average handling time (ATH) metric is applied. This measures the total amount of time spent on a complete interaction with a client. Handling a call within the time shows that the agents can quickly respond to the clients' questions. If not, they may require some extra training sessions. 

#5 Call centers can help with market research 

The growth of any business is dependent on the understanding of clients' needs and preferences. Among the functions of call centers are also gathering insights from clients, both existing and prospective ones. These functions may support you when you need to prepare a market study or verify unique product features to run a marketing campaign. In this case, you could use Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology, or actual calls.

#6 Call center systems can help you access valuable insights 

Thanks to call center systems, you can monitor specific KPIs with real-time dashboards. Among popular metrics are wait time, number of clients in a queue, or abandoned calls. It’s also possible to keep an eye on the call center performance by listening to the reps’ talks through the software. In some cases, you can even support less-trained agents by whispering some suggestions and the customer won’t hear that. 

However, monitoring isn’t limited only to measuring call statistics. As the main goal of all types of call centers is to improve client experience, you should monitor it as well. 

Call center functions evolve 

Business owners and managers of any types of call centers face the same question: How to deliver top-notch service cost-effectively? As a result, they test out new options, introduce new system features, and take up new initiatives to motivate the staff. This process leads to the development of call centers functions. 

That’s why you should keep an eye on new opportunities appearing on the market. The faster you implement them, the more fruits you will reap. Start your own call center with CloudTalk now.