A call center is a centralized facility that receives and transmits huge volumes of phone calls. Call centers usually handle companies’ customer service needs, as well as sales and collections.
A company may have its own call center, but in most cases companies outsource their call center needs to others companies whose sole business is providing call center support. Some call centers are also known as contact centers, since they not only handle phone calls but emails, chat, letters, and faxes as well.
Call centers are vital to any business’ operation. Call center agents deal directly with customers and thus provide customer service. Customer satisfaction hinges largely on how the call center agents handle their calls, which can result in winning back an unhappy customer or losing a valued one.
Call centers are generally considered to have high-stress environments, resulting in high employee attrition rates. The stressful environment can be attributed to lack of employee empowerment, poor working environment, abusive customers, lack of training, and close scrutiny by management and clients.
Common customer complaints about call centers include: long hold times, non-expert operators (can partially be attributed to high employee attrition rates), accented operators, and deceit (especially for outbound sales).
Despite the downsides of call centers, they are still a popular model for providing customer service since right now there is no other way to handle the volume of customer support needed by companies.