Telecoms for Competitive Advantage

4. Call Centres

Call centres can be the focus of both outbound activities (such as telesales, lead generation and market research) and inbound ones (such as order processing and customer service).

4.1 In-house call centres are replacing many field sales forces.

  • A call centre can be anything from two people drumming up orders for a small wholesaler to a large team in a debt recovery or telesales business. It is the degree of automated support for the operation that makes it a call centre.
  • Completely automated call centres can sometimes provide adequate service with no human intervention – for example, booking cinema tickets, where callers just need to press numbers.

4.2 Computer Telephone Integration (CTI) boosts productivity for both inbound and outbound work.

  • For example, your customer service system can match a caller’s number to data in a contact management database and make the details you need pop up on screen.
  • The system must be able to integrate with your customer records, whether held in a spreadsheet or your database.
  • Inexpensive software can give outbound operators one-touch dialling plus on-screen scripts and prompts.

4.3 Outsourcing to a specialist company may be the most cost-effective strategy.

  • If you need 24-hour staffing or your business is highly seasonal, outsourcing is likely to be cheaper.
  • If you need expertise you do not have, outsourcing may be more economical than employing more people. Some internet service providers and software companies outsource the handling of technical queries to specialist call centres.

BHP Infosolutions

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