A Call Center is an Information Technology Enabled Service, which acts as an access point to the customers of the enterprise. A call center is traditionally defined as a physical location where calls are placed, or received, in high volume for the purpose of sales, marketing, customer service, telemarketing, technical support or other specialized business activity.
Call Centers can be classified on the basis of- location, nature of call, ownership, technology and type of service offered. Call Centers can be classified as Voice based or Web based call centers based on access media used.
In a voice based call center telephone network (PSTN) is used, whereas in the case of a web based call center the customer will access the call center using the Internet. The concept of call centers is thus giving way to "contact centers".
Call centers are also called as "Helpdesk", "customer care centers," "support centers," in view of increasig importance and functionalties of the call centers.
Call centers evolved around 30 years ago, in the travel and hospitality industry. Call centers gained acceptance, once companies learned that service is the key to attracting and maintaining customers. Companies started using call centers to improve their customer relationships, to learn more about their customers, and therefore serve them better. Call centers have thus evolved from cost centers to profit centers.
There are more than 1,75,000 call center worldwide according to a report of Sullivan & Frost. USA, Europe, Australia and New Zealand account for 80% of these call centers.
GE set up an in-house international Call Center in 1983 in Gurgaon near New Delhi for its global customers and marked beginning of the Indian Call Center Industry. Later large number of fortune 500 companies relocated their call center operations to India.
India's call center industry accounts for a quarter of all software and services exports from the countryand Indian call centers employ 160,000 professionals. (Source- Nasscom)
In a Call Center the software used depends on the technology used and the application run in the call center. In addition to following software, many utilities and tools are used for the smooth functioning of a call center.
- Network Operating System
- CTI software
- Group ware
- CRM software