Direct Line to Customers: Why Call Centers are Important to Your Business

By: kaye

Customer service is an important part of modern business practice. It is defined as a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction, and whether its good or bad can determine if a customer will patronize your company's products or services thus affecting your bottom line. After all, more business means more profit. Meeting customer expectations even before they purchase the product or service that you are offering is the most pro-active strategy you can utilize in order to stand out from the competition. One way of doing this is by having a call center.

A call center, also referred to as a contact center is a centralized office administering product support and information for a company, usually through phone calls, faxes or emails. It may be described as a set of functions or actions that can be carried out in a number of ways using multiple delivery channels. Call centers merge information and telecommunications technology, allowing clients to talk to knowledgeable representatives who have speedy access to information. Among the services they offer are toll free customer service, appointment scheduling, order taking services, emergency response, direct response, interactive voice response (IVR), 24 - hour help desk, conference and registration, virtual receptionist, and infomercials which can be tailored to suit your company's specific needs.

Customers will go through an (IVR) system which is programmed to respond to customers, giving them options on how to proceed. This allows the caller to choose from a set menu for predictable customer questions, which gives them prerecorded answers. If their issue is not adequately addressed by the IVR, customer calls are routed to trained representatives connected to a sophisticated network of computers and telecoms switches. These service representatives, also called agents, are on standby 24 hours a day to serve the customers. This means that your company can cross the boundaries of distance and time zones so you can do business with people worldwide.

Providing great customer service doesn't have to come with an expensive price tag. Outsourcing the service to a call center at a set price is a cost-effective solution for any business, large or small. This leaves you free to concentrate on delivering the product or service without having to worry about the large cost of putting up your own call center and hiring employees to man the phones while being assured that customer satisfaction is being closely monitored. Service quality in a call center is strictly monitored based on a set of performance markers for agents such as call handling time, call queue length and number of available agents. Agents who fail these markers are subject for calibration with company standards or retraining as their progress requires.

A call center opens a channel between a company and its customers, giving the latter a forum in which their concerns may be addressed and complaints resolved. It is also a way for your company to improve the product or service that you are offering because customers can tell you directly exactly what they want. With every customer contact, all efforts made to improve and retain relations, creating opportunities for more business.

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