Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Call Center Technology

Call Center Technology
Are you new to call centers or thinking of carving a career path for yourself in the industry? Before you head out the door for your first interview, get acquainted with some of the terms and technologies you will be faced with. Call centers employ a wide variety of different technologies. This article covers the most common terms and technologies agents are expected to understand and use.

ACD (Automatic call distribution): Part of the CTI that distributes in-coming calls to a group of agents. They are used in companies that take high volumes of calls, where callers require quick service from non-specific agents. More sophisticated systems may route calls to more skilled agents, depending on the reason for the call.

ACW (After call work): Amount of time an agent spends after the call processing customer requests.

AHT (Average handling time): The average time a call takes, including greeting, conversation, wrap-up, and time the caller spent on hold.

ANI (Automatic number identification): Similar to caller ID, a service which provides the receiver of a call with the number of the calling phone. Used in call centers to forward calls to appropriate agents or geographic areas. Also used by 911 dispatchers.

ASR (Automatic speech recognition): Technology used to provide information and forward calls, which allows callers to speak entries rather than punch numbers on a keypad.

ATT (Average talk time): Average amount of time an agent spends in conversation with a caller.

Call Center: A centralized office used to receive and transmit a large volume of requests by the telephone, usually with some amount of computer automation.

Chatterbot: A program that simulates human conversation. An intelligent virtual agent is an example of a chatterbot program that serves as an online customer service representative.

Collaborative Browsing (co-browsing): A technique used by agents to interact with customers using the customer’s web browser to lead them through a situation. May use email, fax, regular and/ or internet telephone as part of the interaction.

Contact Center: A part of an enterprise’s overall CRM which manages customer contact, including letters, faxes, emails, newsletters, mail catalogues, Web site inquiries, and other gathered information.

CPH/ IPH (Calls/ inquiries per hour): Average number calls or inquiries an agent handles per hour.

CRM (Customer relationship management): A corporate level approach for managing an organization’s relationship with its clients. Generally, three components (operational, analytical, and collaborative) of a company’s program must be in place in order to effectively acquire, provide services for, and retain customers. Also called Sales force automation (SFA).

CTI (Computer telephony integration): The technology that coordinates between telephone and computer systems.

Customer Service Chat: An internet service which allows a customer to communicate with an agent using an IM (instant messaging) application.

DID (Direct inward dialing): A service used by inbound call centers to allow multiple calls to be taken at once. In DID a block of telephone numbers is rented by a company without requiring a physical line for each number. Each agent or workstation has an individual number. When all agents are busy, additional inbound calls get busy signals or the agent’s voice mailbox. This service saves the cost of a switchboard operator and makes calls go through faster.

DNIS (Dialed number identification service): A service used by 800 and 900 lines that tell which number was called. It is useful for directing calls when companies deal with multiple numbers at the same location.

DTMF (Dual tone multi-frequency): Also known as “touchtone” phone (formerly a registered trademark of AT&T), the signals that are generated when a caller presses the touch keys of an ordinary telephone. Each key generates two tones, and cannot be imitated by voice.

Fax: Material (images or text) which is scanned and transmitted over a telephone line and received using a printer or other output device.

FCR (First call resolution): A call which completely resolves the customer’s issue. (A call is considered FCR if the caller does not call back with concerns in a set amount of time, usually 3 months.)

Idle time: Percentage of time agents spend not ready to take calls.

IP telephony (Internet protocol telephony): A general term for the technologies that use the internet protocol’s packet-switched connections to exchange voice, fax, and other forms of information.

ITS (Issue tracking system): A program that follows the progress of every problem a system user identifies until the issue is solved.

IVR (Interactive voice response): A computerized system at the front-end of calling centers which uses prerecorded prompts to identify caller needs, extract necessary information, and direct calls to the appropriate agent. Whereas, callers select options from voice menus using the telephone keypad, the newest technology, or Guided Speech IVR, integrates live agents into the system. In this hybrid model, agents assist in four or more calls at a time by listening and guiding callers through the system. This allows callers to respond to open-ended questions and receive a higher quality of service. Companies see higher rates of call completion and customer satisfaction using the new technology.

LEC (Local exchange carrier): The public telephone company which provides local service in an area.

Media gateway: A device that converts data from one format to another.

Outsourcing: The practice of delegating non-core operations to an external entity.

PBX (Private branch exchange): A cost-efficient system that uses multiple phone lines (called “trunk lines”) and a computer to manage the switching of calls within a company. As the PBX is owned by the company rather than the LEC, it saves the cost of requiring a line for each user to the telephone company’s central office.

Personalization: The process of tailoring internet pages to a customer’s preferences.

Predictive dialer: A computerized system that dials telephone numbers, filtering out unanswered calls, busy signals, disconnected lines, and other unproductive calls. Using an algorithm to predict agent availability, the system saves the time an agent would spend in unproductive dialing. Smart predictive dialers use a prerecorded introductory message before connecting customers to an agent, further increasing productivity by turning over calls only to interested customers.

Predictive technology: Tools that analyze patterns and use discoveries to forecast likely future behavior.

QED (Quality and efficiency driven): Philosophy maintained by call centers that company strategies should be balanced between aims for quality and efficiency.

Queue: A line of people or calls waiting to be handled, usually in sequential order. Real Time: Level of computer responsiveness considered sufficient to the task required.

SL% (Service level percent): Percentage of calls answered within the determined time frame.

Speech/ Voice Recognition: Ability of a program to recognize and carry-out voice commands. More sophisticated software has the ability to accept natural speech, or the speech used in general conversation.

Telemarketing: A registered trademark of Nadji Tehrani, referring to the form of direct marketing using the telephone to sell products and/ or services.

TCA (Total calls abandoned): the number of calls abandoned by callers.

TPV (Third party verification): The legal requirement for some companies (e.g. long distance providers, gas, electric) to have a third party confirm that a customer has requested a change in service. Generally, the customer will be put on a three-way call and the TPV provider will confirm the order. TPV aids in billing disputes by verifying the customer actually requested the change.

TTS (Text to Speech): A system that converts normal language text into speech.

UMS (Unified messaging system): A program that enables voice, fax, and regular text messages to be held in a single mailbox and accessed by a user over email or telephone.

Virtual Call Center: A call center where the agents are geographically dispersed, either working in several small offices, or (more frequently) working from their own homes.

Virtual Queuing: A system used in inbound call centers in which a caller will be informed of the estimated wait time before an agent will be available. Caller can choose to wait on hold, or keep their place in the queue by giving their telephone number. Callers receive a call back when their turn comes up.

Voice mail: System that manages telephone messages for a large group of people.

Voice Portal: A web site or other service that a customer can reach for information such as weather, sport scores, or stock quotes.

VoIP (Voice-over Internet Protocol): The routing of voice conversations over the internet. Using VoIP, agents can work from home, as long as they have a fast and stable internet connection.

Web Analytics: A method of analyzing the behavior of a web site’s visitors to make changes that attract and retain more customers.

Web Self-Service: A computerized system that allows users to perform routine tasks over the internet without requiring live interaction.

Call centers are complex operating environments that depend on a wide variety of sophisticated technology to process transactions. While call center technology is essential, it's really the agents who leave a lasting impression on customers and they are the key to retaining clients and enhancing relationships. Above technologies help to offshore technical support services and get 100% call center customer satisfaction .

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Call Center Outsourcing: The Right Choice for Business Owners

Saving costs and staying ahead of the competition are just two great benefits that have made call center outsourcing the top solution for business owners.
This way, they can eliminate in-house technology issues and considerably reduce overhead expenses.

Focus on core competencies
With the contact center needs in your business being taken care of by a professional outsourcing company, you will be able to focus on doing more important activities in your business. This can result to a good boost of productivity and gain more time to increase the quality of work.

If you want to implement the marketing plan, you can just easily hire quality telemarketing services, while you put all efforts at meeting new clients or creating new products.

Knowing when to outsource

There are certain factors to consider when to outsource your contact center needs. If your company has immediate needs to form a team of customer service reps, companies offering call center services is certainly the perfect route to go.

With call center outsourcing firms ready to provide you with qualified and trained contact center agents, you can swiftly get the team you want and immediately initiate the campaign.

Or when you are in need to employ contact center support staff, but don't have enough budget for the hiring and training costs, or even for payroll taxes and office expansion, you should consider outsourcing to BPO services.

You can hire their services at lower labor cost without having to spend money on new equipments.

Picking the right call center outsourcing company

Cherry-pick company that provides call center services based on their expertise, especially in your type of business. Match your specific business requirements with their experience and skills. This would make sure the quality results you hope to get from them.

A compatible outsourcing company will more or less know what best strategies to use when introducing your business to the targeted consumers. Or at least, they will now better what it takes to achieve the goals of your marketing efforts.

Establish standard performance

Since the business process outsourcing company will be one to represent your business to the consumers, you have to let them know about the standards and quality of service you expect from them, or your customers are expecting from your business. You have to talk with them at least twice and communicate your business goals in detail, and how would you like your business to be represented.

Outsourcing Non Voice Support Services The Virtual Brain Behind Your Business Growth

Outsourcing Non Voice Support Services The Virtual Brain Behind Your Business Growth

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Call Center Outsourcing Pros and Cons - Know them well

Outsourcing is a very common business concept that is excessively implemented in any call center operation in saving cost and effort. Whether its a small unit or any big business establishment, it is always a concern for them to take care of its operational activities through management professionals. Business outsourcing services is a vital dimension of the global outsourcing field in the developed and developing nations such as UK, US, Australia and Europe.

Outsourcing these customer center services, the multinational and growing companies can build a better concentration in their business activities and therefore establish constructive strategy through better client satisfaction methodologies. Through this article, we will discuss some of the Pros and Cons of call center outsourcing. Here it goes.


Firstly, the outsourcing of KPO or BPO services enables a firm to develop their business strategies through a better monitoring process, that are offered by the emerging customer care centers. The relationship with the patrons is established in better quantity. Secondly, there is always a surety of getting any assistance service throughout the clock. Call center operation services enable the users to manipulate time in serving the clients with any detailed information or receiving any query from the client.

The lower workforce cost, reduced operating cost & overheads, higher employee production, reduce cash flow, etc. are some of the crucial factors that are always considered before outsourcing client care services. There is no investments in infrastructure without any predictable and manageable costs. In addition, these outsourcing services also saves a major part of your money that is normally used for manpower and training.

The accelerated pace of technology is a very big factor to be taken care of. Today, various outdated technologies are replaced by advanced technology that changes the business in seconds. In this context, sometimes it may not be possible for an establishment to buy a new technology and train its manpower for smooth operation of their processes. In this case the outsourcing of customer care centers becomes the only solution to save money and time.

In addition, if you outsource these service providers, the productivity is enhanced and customer service gains priority. This will allow you to focus on the betterment of the services and further make you the appropriate choice by the clients in the long run. Last but not the least, there prevails no cost of Human Resource and Management Cost. Better, you invest your capital in other fields of your business operations.


For example, it is very complicated to explain your personal business strategy to a third party. You can't depend upon all their assistance and fetch the feedback, the market is facing with the services you are offering. This factor of. dependency is a big constraint in the business escalation process. Likewise, the absence of direct contact of call center staff with the target marketing staff.

Secondly, it becomes very difficult in the integration process with other internal company functional organization or related applications. Simply it is nothing but can be a 'Communication Breakdown.'

Thirdly, the communication process is always obstructed by language and cultural barriers, as a result of which the turnover rate increases. It is also found that many Call Center Outsourcing companies is deeply involved in selling confidential data. to other companies. This factor can ruin the status and bring downfall to the company in an indirect manner.

Call centers plays a dominant role in helping the organizations to improve their level of business profit. Outsourcing the service industries has become very effective in the last few decades and still in progress though it has some discrepancy. Therefore, its always better to take the positive side and keep moving so that the future is prosperous.