Call Center Phone System

Many companies are fielding calls using outsourced call center services to enhance efficiency and keep up with telephone technology. Over the years, especially with the growth of the Internet, outsourcing has become a huge industry. Hiring another person or another company to manage and oversee the daily production of an entire department of a business is referred to as outsourcing. Rather than setting up the infrastructure necessary for a call center phone system within the existing company, it is often more cost efficient to hire a third party to either handle incoming customer calls or to conduct telemarketing campaigns in an effort to boost the client company's customer base. The outsourcing provider and the client company enter into a contractual agreement for a set period of time or indefinitely contingent on the completion of specified projects.

A particular kind of outsourcing is offshoring. Offshoring has become a fairly common practice in the 2000s. Workers living outside the United States and the United Kingdom often charge much less for the same outsourcing job as the American or British company would. This cost efficiency is the main reason that so many large companies have begun to outsource overseas. The distance is simply not an issue with the Internet, phone infrastructure and an increasingly global marketplace. Offshoring is a type of outsourcing, but not the only type. The two terms are often used interchangeably, though they are not the same industry.

When deciding to utilize outsourced call center services, the client corporation would initially ask for bids. The corporation would define the job requirement in a proposal. During this process, many companies with a call center phone system already in place would submit a suggested fee for the purposed job description. The client corporation would review the bids and then choose the outsourcing company. There would be negotiations that would follow, in an attempt to finalize a contract that was suitable to both the client and the service provider. After the contract has been finalized, the third party service provider would take over the daily functions of the call center phone system. The client corporation has much to gain from this type of contractual agreement.

Businesses benefit from the cost efficiency having outsourced call center services, because the infrastructure necessary to field a large amount of calls costs a lot of money. That money has to come out of other departments and programs. If the company chooses to outsource, the contractual fee is the only expense. The client corporation also stands to gain in the quality of service provided. For example, if a large corporate bank tries to field all of its incoming customer calls by employing the tellers to answer them, the tellers may drop calls, mistransfer calls or simply be really slow telephone inquiry takers. However, if this same bank outsources the customer telephone inquiries to an employee specially trained on a call center system, that individual will answer quickly and efficiently transfer the call to the correct bank employee. Another valid reason for choosing outsourced call center services is to free the client corporation from the hassles of fielding customer questions or running a telemarketing campaign. With the call center phone system off site, the client business can focus on their core agenda and competence.

Outsourcing is not without its critics. Many of those opposed to outsourcing suggest that the third party company rarely delivers the quality of product and service promised to the business, as a tangible return on investment. This also makes shareholders hesitant to vote for a third party vendor to handle a part of the production of the public company in which they own a portion. Getting a diverse group of shareholders to agree on whether or not to outsource and which company's bid to accept often proves quite difficult for upper management.

There are also concerns about social responsibility when it comes to dealing with an offsite call center phone system. Many times the workers in these types of call centers are poorly paid and seldom treated well. Is it socially responsible to employ individuals in an effort to save money if the savings is coming directly out of their salaries? Offshore, or non-domestic, outsourced call center services pose more of a problem due to the poorly regulated labor laws in some foreign countries. The social responsibility issue needs to be seriously addressed in order to locate a third party vendor that treats its employees humanely and pays them well. "Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it." (Proverbs 3:27)

In addition, if choosing an offshore provider, the client corporation needs to make sure that the individuals taking the calls speak English, or the native language of the corporate customers, clearly enough to be understood and trusted by the callers. The frequency of staff turnover among many outsourcing companies is of concern as well. And though a third party vendor of a call center outsourcing really knows its telephone services, the employees may not have adequate knowledge of the client corporation. If this lack of knowledge is apparent to the callers, the customers will quickly lose faith in the client corporation. When hiring any third party company and entrusting them with a portion of a business, the client corporation needs to adequately train the vendor in its own company policies and ethics. Secondly, the service contract should cover additional and continual training to bridge the gap when the call center experiences the inevitable turnover common to that industry.

Automated Phone Systems

Automated phone systems are a great way to enhance communication within companies. Many major retailers, insurance companies, credit centers, medical facilities, and other businesses choose these systems for different reasons. These programs are often used in companies to receive incoming calls. This can be a good way to save money by not having to hire a human being for the job of answering the phones. For some people, holding on the line and hearing only an automate system can be annoying. Cheat codes and messages are often used as a way around this type of set-up. Some companies use these systems to send outgoing messages and calls. This can be useful for a company when notifying consumers of orders that have been received. Telemarketers often used digital phone systems to contact consumers. This can also be annoying; much like when individuals attempt to call companies and receive only automated voices. Both state and national no-call lists have been created as an attempt to solve the problem that many people feel comes from these automated programs. Using automated technology can be positive or negative, depending on the individuals and companies that are concerned.

Companies often want a system to answer incoming calls from customers and clients. Major companies or corporations have call centers or programs set up to filter calls. Sometimes paying bills, solving problems, and other issues can be handled without the need to ever speak with a person. In smaller businesses, automated phone systems are sometimes used just to answer phones. The system will pick up the call and give the caller some options, such as what department or extension they would like to be directed to. This can be helpful in shortening the call time and the need for individuals to be paid to answer phones with the company. This has become more of a hassle than a solution for many people. When they call for problems or concerns, they are sometimes already frustrated and are in need of assistance. With digital phone systems, solutions to problems and answers to questions are not always quick and easy. This has led some individuals to create ways to beat the systems. Many individuals have taken the time to comprise lists of cheat codes around the phone systems that many companies have. Large companies, including credit card companies, retail stores, and insurance companies have all been included in these lists that offer numbers and messages that can be used to be led straight to a person and past the system of automated voices and recordings.

There are many aspects to automated phone systems that make them both positive and negative. Many individuals have very different opinions on these systems and the usefulness they provide. It is very important for people to understand that there are far worse things in this world than digital phone systems where a little time may be wasted. "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24)

This technology is sometimes used by companies and businesses for outgoing calls. When this is the case, the program that is used will allow the company to record the message that will be sent to the recipients. For a company that offers individuals the opportunity to order materials, this type of program can be useful. When orders come in, an automated system can call the individual and let them know that their order has been received and is ready to be picked up. Some companies use outgoing calls through digital phone systems to send greetings to consumers, clients, and others also. For a new business, they may use phone numbers to solicit business from potential clients in the area. Telemarketers are very well known for using automated systems to initiate phone calls. When the individual that receives the phone call picks up and says something, the telemarketer is notified and will pick up the call. Because of this tactic and other issues arising from automated phone systems, no-call lists have been started. This allows individuals to call a phone number or use the Internet to put their number on the list. The list is supposed to keep companies with no previous business with the individual from calling. The only major drawback is that any company that has had any sort of business with the individual in the past years can still make calls to the individual.

Preset programs have many good uses, but some individuals do not enjoy having to speak to automated voices when actual people are needed for help. Many companies use digital phone systems to answer incoming calls from consumers or clients. This will sometimes take extra time that the caller does not have. There have been certain codes and solutions found to these problems that will take callers directly to customer service representatives for help. This can be very helpful and time saving when notifying consumers of orders or when promoting the company. Telemarketing campaigns often use this technology at least in beginning phone calls to potential customers. This can be a very annoying problem that many people seek to end by adding their names to either state or national no-call lists.

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