Why does a business need a call center?
A business needs a call center whenever they are missing phone calls or if the work of answering calls is disrupting operations. Sometimes businesses only need overflow call support, for when the phone lines are especially busy. In other cases, businesses might want to outsource their entire customer service department. Call centers, often referred to as contact centers, can do this not only on the telephone but also via channels like email, social media, and live web chat.
When should I hire a call center?
You should hire a call center when your team is spending more time on the phone than conducting mission-critical tasks. You should also hire a call center if your customer service satisfaction rates are plummeting. Alternatively, you could hire an answering service from the very beginning, which is what many attorneys' offices and healthcare organizations do. Answering services offer smaller-scale services, such as a virtual receptionist, that are geared toward very small or industry-specific businesses.
What is the difference between domestic and offshore call centers?
Domestic call centers based in the U.S. are generally more expensive. However, they come with more resilient infrastructure, more effective software, and accent-neutral agents whom your customers are likely to understand clearly. Offshore (international) call centers usually cost less, but they tend to lack these desirable features.
There is also a hybrid option, referred to as "nearshore" call centers. These companies are not based in the U.S. but usually in the Caribbean, rather than India or the Philippines. These nearshore facilities often blend Western cultural understanding with the affordability of offshore services.
How much does a call center charge per call?
Call center costs range from $0.70 to $1 per minute. Call centers generally charge a per-minute rate for shared agents, or a per-hour rate for dedicated agents. So, the cost of each call depends on the length of the call and the rate agreed upon between the client and call center.
What are the two types of call centers?
Call centers may provide inbound services or outbound services. Inbound services include managing incoming calls, like order taking, appointment setting, customer service and tech support. Outbound services are generally used for lead generation, market research and sales. This can include services like conducting polls, cold calling leads and following up with previous customers. Some call centers provide both inbound and outbound services.
What do call centers do?
Call centers employ agents who answer calls on behalf of clients. Call centers generally offer multiple service levels, such as the more cost-effective shared agents that handle many clients to the more expensive dedicated agent that is well versed on just a single client.
Call centers also provide useful tools like interactive voice response (IVR) menus. In addition, some call centers engage in outbound services, like polling and surveying customers, following up with warm leads, or even cold calling people to try and drum up new sales.
What do answering services do?
Answering services offer virtual receptionist services that enable businesses to receive caller information, forward messages, schedule appointments, and other key activities that an in-house receptionist typically performs. Answering services appear to the caller as an extension of the client’s business, giving callers a professional experience and ensuring that the right information reaches the client.
What types of businesses benefit from answering services?
Answering services are useful for professional offices such as lawyers or accountants. Additionally, in the healthcare industry, medical answering services are frequently used because they comply with the strict security standards set by laws like HIPAA and the HITECH Act. However, you don't need to be in one of these industries to use an answering service.
What types of businesses benefit from call centers?
Any business that receives a high volume of phone calls or finds that its staff is spending too much time managing the phone lines can benefit from hiring a call center. Additionally, businesses that want to scale up their customer service, marketing, or sales efforts can outsource certain campaigns to a call center. The best call centers can integrate with a client’s CRM software to help track leads and conversations.