Call centers provide phone-based services to clients or customers either in the private or public sector. Call centers have become an important communication channel to acquire new customers as well as to support existing ones. During the past few years, the number of call centers and the number of employees or agents has been growing rapidly demonstrating the increasing importance of call centers.
The direction in which the contact between the customer and the agent is distinguished through inbound and outbound call centers. In inbound call centers, the agents receive calls from outside customers, and therefore these call centers are driven by random customer call arrivals. In order to achieve customer satisfaction, short expected waiting times are important. The performance can also be measured by waiting times, availability of service, or customer abandonment.
Inbound call centers are there to receive calls from existing or potential clients. Normally, the quality of communication in these kinds of call centers, is perhaps more important than that of outbound call centers, wherein the agents initiate contact with potential clients. In case the client is the one to contact the call center, one thing can be certain: the client requires aid or information that the agent must be able to supply.
Typically, the client’s query can be answered by the first agent who takes the call. In that process, there is no waiting or lag time, and the client is assured that the company has the answers he or she needs. However, it is impossible to have an expert answer every single call due to the utter volume of inbound calls that a usual call center receives. For this reason, most inbound call centers rely on a tier system in order to deal with several incoming calls. Also called the multi-tier support, the tier system is a foundation of call centers handling inbound calls. In this instance, the client who has a specific question or complaint about a product he or she has purchased from the company, the first tier employee can transfer the call to a technical support specialist.
However, most inbound call centers that use the multi-tier support system have a total of three tiers with the third tier consisting of developers or engineers of the technology or the product. Through this, the majority of customer requests and questions can be dealt with effectively and quickly. Basically, if the client is satisfied with the responses and if there is no waiting time, the call center is doing a good job. The importance of satisfactory communication should not be underestimated.
Aside from the multi-tier support, technology also has a role to play in facilitating the company’s method in dealing with inbound calls. The data received from inbound calls are normally recorded and reported making the call center effectively predict the type of information and the number of agents in each tier that at which the calls are transmitted between agents continue to develop and calls can be answered faster. The technology that minimizes the waiting time and answers and transfers call quickly often leads directly to increased customer satisfaction.
However, the use of technology will always be a support instead of a substitute for human interaction. The agents or the employees remain the backbone of inbound call centers and the only means of ensuring customer satisfaction and preservation is through the quality of communication.