Call centers are setup to ensure businesses provide service and to meet or exceed their customer’s expectations. Businesses designing and building out their call centers must make a decision to either setup the call center on-premise or remote. Both environments have their advantages and drawbacks.
This post will examine both in house and remote call centers, discuss the benefits of each environment and describe how to record calls in both.
What is a Call Center?
A call center is a business communications solution that can be on-premise or remote and is used for making or receiving telephone calls. Call center agents may be employed by the company or work for an external third-party business that is outsourced. There are inbound call centers to provide information, product or service support for customers or potential customers for incoming calls. Outbound call centers are typically operated for both customer service and sales to provide telemarketing, market research, solicitation and any other services the company requires. The primary focus of a call center is to facilitate telephone calls between the company and the customers the business serves. A call center may serve as inbound, outbound or both.
What is an Inbound Call Center?
An inbound call center is a department within a company that receives calls. The calls primarily originate from the company’s existing customer base or prospective customers interested in the company’s product or service. The department may also be referred as a help desk and may receive calls from the business’ employees for support. Calls to an inbound call center are typically from customers seeking for service or support. Companies typically provide a toll-free number available to the public for existing customers or prospective customers to contact the inbound call center free of charge. Call routing, to ensure the callers are routed to the appropriate representative, may also be a service the inbound call center provides.
What is an Outbound Call Center?
An outbound call center is a department within an organization that generates calls. The department may consist of sales representatives or customer support to make calls to existing customers or prospects. The department may be exclusive or combined with an inbound call center. Some outbound call centers use dialers that perform the dialing function for the agents. The dialers may be integrated with the customer relations management (CRM) software to allow the agents to have the proper information regarding the individual they will call. The dialers may be very sophisticated with predictive, progressive and/or preview applications to improve performance and call efficiency.
What is an On-Premise Call Center?
An on-premise or in-house call center may be inbound, outbound or both. This is a department within a business and is physically located within the property. This means both the employees that work in the on-premise call center and the associated hardware are located onsite. The company is responsible for installing and maintaining the equipment within the department. The employees must work onsite alongside with the equipment. On-premise call center configurations may range in complexity. Some organizations may choose to own and maintain the necessary hardware such as a Private Branch Exchange (PBX), hard phones, switches, software, etc. Other companies may choose a cloud solution and allow an external service to facilitate their calling needs. Ultimately, the employees must work on-site.
What is a Remote Call Center?
A remote call center may be inbound, outbound or both. This team is physically located outside the property of the business. This means the employees that work in the remote call center and the equipment they use to make and receive calls are located externally. The department may exist within a business or be outsourced as a service. This means the remote call center may have employees that work remotely from home to receive inbound or make outbound calls. The company may also hire an external service to handle the calls. Some organizations may choose a variation of in house and remote call centers with responsibilities differing between the two departments.
On-Premise Vs. Remote Call Centers
When businesses are considering on-premise or remote call centers, there are many advantages they should consider.
Remote call center advantages:
- Staffing – The labor pool is not confined to a single region. This allows the company to be selective in their candidate quality, cost or experience.
- Availability – Many on-premise call centers maintain regular schedules. Savvy companies may hire staff in multiple time zones or a service that offers 24/7 support
On-premise call center advantages:
- Training and coaching – Employees working in an on-premise call center receive hands-on direct training from managers and may quickly resolve issues as they arrive.
- Work culture participation – Employees working closely with other team members enjoy a sense of culture and teamwork and may work more effectively.
What are Call Center responsibilities?
A call center is critical to the success of a business that relies on call volume. The roles within a call center are numerous and vary in responsibilities. The objective of a call center may vary depending upon the needs of the company. Calls may consist of:
- Sales cold calling
- Customer support
- Market research
- Customer notification
- Information requests
- Inbound sales inquiries
- Post sales retention
A call center is successful only when the department is effective and efficient. There are multiple key performance indicators (KPIs) businesses can monitor and improve to ensure the customer service call center is successful. There are also multiple sales activity metrics a company can monitor to improve the performance of their sales team and raise the top line. To improve the performance of the sales team, sales managers work to coach the sales team for optimal performance. There are tools sales managers may use to monitor their call centers, track KPIs and sales activity metrics to improve the performance of call center agents. One of the most powerful tools to improve call center performance is call recording software.
How to record calls for On-Premise call centers?
There are a number of factors to consider when businesses want to recording calls for their on-premise call center. The company should consider what type of lines are connected to the building, what is the model of the PBX, what are the phone models and the number of phones to be recorded.
When considering what types of lines are connected to the building refers to the “trunk”. These lines could be T1, PRI, analog, E1 or a combination of these. This will determine if recording on the trunk side is a viable option. The PBX is a system that receives and routes calls to the appropriate person. Determining the model and brand of the PBX will help determine if recording on the trunk side is a viable option as well. The appropriate cards are required when recording digital or analog lines. Knowing the telephone model will help determine what type of card is needed. Knowing exactly how many phones need to be recorded, both now and in the future, is important because this will determine if the pricing will make more sense to obtain an individual recording license for each line or recording all calls from the trunk side.
The information provided above is high level. For greater detail, please review the How to record a phone call article.
How to record calls for remote call centers?
There are many configuration options to record calls for remote call centers. The top three options are:
- Build a call recorder for each location.
- Build a central recorder and send a copy of the calls from the remote phones to the central recorder.
- Route the calls from the remote phones through a central recorder and record via mirror ports.
For greater detail, please review the How to record calls from remote site or remote workers article.
On-Premise vs Remote Call Center: Which one to choose?
It is important for any business to have a call center if the business receives and makes a high volume of calls. A successful call center that originates and receives calls effectively will improve the revenue generated within the company. A call center will only improve upon the organization’s top line growth with successful coaching. Business managers trying to decide between an on-premise or remote call center should consider what the right fit is for the company. There are advantages to both environments. The key to making any call center successful and effective is proper coaching and training and that can only be achieved through call recording.
Contact us for the best call recording solution when your business sets up a call center and is ready to begin improve sales and customer retention.
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Last Updated on November 21, 2022