What is a call center?

A call center in the traditional term is a center where all the calls are being handled whether inbound or outbound. What sets it apart from a conventional office is the sheer volume of calls. The call center team’s primary role is to handle telecommunication. It can be answering incoming calls which may consist of general inquiries, online booking, etc. or outgoing calls which can be appointment setting, telemarketing, collection, etc.

A call center is at the forefront of communication between the company and its customer; it becomes the voice of the company. The call center is regarded as the heart of any business. The call center activity can be divided into two primary categories: Inbound and Outbound.

An inbound call center deals with any incoming calls. These call centers may make few outgoing calls. If they do, then it can be termed as blended.

The inbound call centers handle the following types of call to name a few:

1) Customer Service
2) Inbound Sales
3) Tech Support
4) Billing

Some of the KPIs in an inbound call center are:

1) ACHT: ACHT stands for Average Call Handling Time. The ACHT consists of average talk time + hold time + after call work (ACW). All of these are added to find out the average time it takes for the agent to handle the call. It is tied up directly with incentives that an inbound agent gets.

Point to be noted: For inbound sales, these metrics may not be valid as the primary focus will be on the number of sales.

2) AWC: Active Waiting Calls shows the number of calls in queue. The managers forecast the number of calls expected during a shift and on a given day. It is based on historical data.

The shift manager (also known as floor manager) keeps an eye on it to ensure traffic is up to company targets. It gives them a quick view of the real-time workload.

3) Call Abandonment: The call abandonment metrics indicates the number of calls that are getting disconnected before they are connected with the agents.

4) Cost per call: Calling costs money. For a toll-free number the company has to bear the cost for the minutes, the cost of agent’s time, resources, etc.

The call center manager monitors the cost per call and tries to optimize it and keep it within a target value. It ensures that the costs are minimized and do not go out of hand.

5) Customer Satisfaction: Customer satisfaction is crucial for any business to survive after all this is one of the reasons why companies are bearing all those extra costs.

Customer satisfaction index gives the company a view on how their call center agents are performing. With this metric, they can monitor and fix loopholes.

These are some of the primary metrics in a call center to monitor the overall performance.

An outbound call centers are the ones who are making outbound calls. These calls can be:

1) Sales call
2) Appointment setting
3) Payment Reminder
4) Surveys
5) Debt Collection
6) Fundraising

Some of the KPIs in an outbound call center are:

1) Conversion rate: Percentage is used to derive the conversion rate. In simple word, it tells you how many calls did it take to achieve the desired outcome (sales, appointment, number of connects, etc.) for the project.

The conversion rate is one of the metrics that is followed religiously in all sales processes.

2) FCC (First Call Close): FCC indicates the number of sales made by an agent on a first call or contact by the agent. FCC is most likely to happen in a B2C transaction where the deal value is relatively less.

The higher the transaction and the more decision makers involved, the longer time it will take.

3) List Penetration Rate: LPR indicates the number of prospects closed vs. the overall number of records. Each record has an acquisition cost.

The metric is also used to evaluate the accuracy of the list.

4) Total Agent Call Connects: The Total Agent Call Connects is crucial. The metrics tell you if your call center agents are connecting with enough prospects. When low it means you are not maximizing the productivity level of the agents.

If you are facing the low call connects you want to revisit the calling data as it may be inaccurate. It also can indicate some technical issues with the dialer.

5) Occupancy Rate: Occupancy rate is the time an agent spends on calls versus the time spent between the calls. It shows you how productive your agents are.

You can find more KPIs for an outbound call center in this blog.

Depending on the kind of campaign and the technology you are using this may vary. For example, if you are using a manual dial, you would want to see the number of calls made by the agent.

What is the difference between the contact center and call center?

The contact center and call center are both the same except contact center are multichannel, but the call centers are omnichannel.

Multichannel includes email, phone, chat, social media, etc. Most of the call centers today are contact centers as they are equipped and proficient at handling multichannel communication.

What is different between the call center and BPO?

The word BPO stands for Business Process Outsourcing. BPO does not individually stand for call centers. A company may decide to outsource one of its units such as manufacturing, back office processing or customer service which is outsourcing a process of the business.

The call center is the subset of BPO which focuses on telecommunication for communication with clients.

What is the importance of a call center?

A call center is crucial to any business operations. Even though it is considered an unwanted expense, the fact is you can’t leave with or without it.

A winner in today’s competition is the one with superior product and support.

A call center gives a voice to your brand. It provides the human touch that none of the technology, so far, can imitate

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