A call center is a centralized office the principally functions to receive calls to provide customer services or give calls to market products and services through a telephone. Depending on its trust and objective, the call center may receive incoming calls for product support or information inquiries or initiate outgoing calls to clients to market, advertise, sell products or services or collect debts, among others. The keyword here is “call” which means that all service operations are facilitated through a telephone. If the company also engages in the use of other media such as email or chat in interacting with customers, then the office would be more appropriately referred to as a contact center.
A call centre office is usually operated through a broad space subdivided by partitions to create individual work stations of every agent. Each workstation is usually installed with a computer with a headset. All computers are networked and linked to a central database that is controlled by management.
Most major businesses have traditionally used call centers to interact and deal with their customers. Financial credit card institutions use call centers for debt collection of delinquent clients. Utility companies (e.g. Meralco) and Telcos (e.g. Smart and Globe) use call centers to receive customer inquiries and complaints. The emergence of the call center industry in the late 90’s however was spurred with the growth of outsourcing. Many multinational call center companies came to the Philippines to subcontract the call center requirements of the companies abroad. The Outsourcing phenomenon has drastically taken a big leap due to the standardization and decreasing cost cheaper of IT hardware and software platforms, the faster telecommunications technology and the availability of cheap quality manpower in the Philippines.
There are basically three kinds of a call center, the inbound, outbound and the blended. The first type handles call initiated by clients, the second pertain to calls made by agents to clients and the last is a combination of the both. Call centers that also utilize web based media for customer interaction (e.g. live chat) and facilitate online transactions are called Web Enabled Call Centers. Call center companies that is specializes in sales promotion and product promotion are specially called Telemarketing Call centers.