How A Call Center Works.

"How May I Help You?"

Greetings again and great to be here.

If you've never worked in a call center, I hope this article will give you some insight as to how these businesses operate and if it might be something you would consider as a career. I have worked in many of them and would just like to pass on some insight into what they are all about.

A call centers' reason for being is to handle a wide variety of customer calls for virtually any business in a timely, client-focused way. Years ago, you could pick up the phone and always get a 'real' person as products and services were not as prevalent as today as well as our nation's population has increased many times over. Thus and with today's technologies, call centers came into being to offer support services to millions upon millions of customers for a much wider spectrum of services that we require information about.

I work for a telecommunications company whose services include hardware (phones, etc.), software, and other home and business products. Today and with the proliferation of phones, texting, SMS'ing, TV, the Internet, and so on, there is no end to what people will inquire about and as while the technology is impressive, things DO go wrong and mistakes happen. That's where you and I come in -- to solve those problems and get the customer on the right track again.

Both large corporations and small companies employ the services of call centers to address these inquiries as they may not have the required resources to do so. They will contract out this service to a call center where trained agents can process the inquiries for them and deliver services as mandated by the company.

Call centers are based on what are called "metrics", and these are the sole reason that you like to work there, or conversely, might quit after one month. Metrics involve time measurements, for the most part - you are timed on each and every call from the moment your headset beeps until you are finished. You are measured on 'quality', which involves adherence to a specified customer response script, general attitude towards the caller, and ability to address the inquiry. You lose points if you login five minutes BEFORE your shift starts, and you lose points if you login thirty seconds AFTER your shift starts. If your shift starts at 4PM, then you login at 4PM, not 4:01 or 3:59.

Virtually everything you do is measured, from your lunch, bathroom, and other breaks to the most important, namely your "BAHT", or "Basic Average Handle Time". You are required to resolve the call in the shortest period of time as this leave you available for another call. You lose points and might get your wrist slapped if you end a call and you abuse the "AWT" or "Average Wait Time" before you are ready to take another call. This is the time period from when a call ends and the next one begins. A lot of call centers are paid by-the-call and there are other factors that generate funds for it, so if the major part of the revenue equation is number of calls, then you are required to ALWAYS be ready to take the next one.

You have inbound and outbound departments, where calls come in to be handled or you are responsible for outbound calling activities, where you contact homes and establishments to offer products and/or services or just to conduct a courtesy calls. This is the focus of the telemarketing business but for all those that say "No thanks!" and hang-up on you, there will always be some that will listen and sign-up for what you are selling or promoting.

IF you don't want your number of breaths measured in a day, then you probably should consider something else to do. The driving engine of a call center is the metrics -- the company that hires the center to do this work for them specifies certain rules and conditions that the call center has to meet and abide by in order to generate revenue and keep people hired. Thus, the team managers focus heavily on call quality scores, "AHT" (average handle times), number of calls per shift, and so on. You calls are monitored for quality you are graded on the that quality of that and other calls.

Might be a 'piece of cake' depending on your attitude, knowledge level, interest, and commitment to total customer satisfaction. Invariably, you handle 'irates', people SO upset at the company or service that they call and YOU are the company, and YOU are responsible for their problem, and YOU must fix it asap. These types of calls may have to be escalated to a manager or next level and for the most part are fixable. In all fairness, the irate caller might have just paid a weeks salary for a product or service and something goes wrong that needs fixing and it is your job to assist as best you can.

Call center work can be satisfying if you enjoy customer service. You sit all day and can nibble on company-provided or your own snacks, they have TV's for the 'green' or down time if there are not too many calls that shift, and you are in close proximity to a variety of people to interact with. However, the very number of hairs on your head are measured.

Call centers provide a great and needed service but may not be the job of choice for many. There is on-going training to keep you up to date as well as sales incentives and other benefits that you can take advantage of. But the job CAN be stressful when you get those days and nights where nothing seems to be going right, and it seems ALL the callers are irate at something.

Hope this "Helps You" some and have a nice day!

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