Most of us picture traditional call centers as brick and mortar buildings located in affordable industrial areas of a town where workers pile in and out of between the hours of 9am and 5pm respectively. We envision these people sitting in half-walled cubicles wearing a headset with an integrated mic, dialing numbers while they squeeze on a balloon filled with sand or throwing a tennis ball up against the wall.
This classical model includes a large bill sent out to subscribers each month to cover overhead and the fixed number of calls made during the previous month. The reality is that this is not the only model out there and is, in fact, slowly becoming outmoded.
If this is correct, how is this model being replaced and what are some of the best alternatives, if not complete replacement solutions? We decided this question deserved to be addressed, so we did some research and came up with the following models.
Call Center Approaches
The move toward offshoring has largely been an effort to lower costs by establishing call centers in less expensive, usually out of country facilities that the parent company often tries to operate using a hands off management approach.
The benefits to this sort of arrangement include lower cost of operations, elimination of staff issues, and 24hr coverage at a lower price per call.
The negatives to offshoring include decreased customer happiness, language comprehension barriers, and unforeseen hidden costs like local taxes.
Finding the right offshoring solution can be done but the host company needs to be sure tight controls are maintained on the above negatives.
2. Focus on SocialCompanies primarily focusing on customer happiness should be keeping a close eye on social media venues. Over the past 5 years, customers have become very expressive regarding how they feel about their experiences with brands and can cause irreparable damage to them. Dedicating a portion of call center manpower to monitoring and responding to problems heard on social media early on can head off big problems with brand perception down the road.
Much effort has gone into computer systems that contact prospects directly over the phone and attempt to interact with them through complex, yet extremely convincing speech technology software. Considerable savings can be realized via these systems, but they are not yet at the point where a large enough percentage of people on the other end of the call believe they are speaking with real people.
4. On-DemandThis is a new solution to the call center dilemma. Rather than have dedicated call people, robo-callers, or software masquerading as actual people, this approach enables elastic demand by building a pool of call agents who work from home, or wherever they choose at the times that they are at their best. This is the most effective call campaigns strategy to date. There are ample benefits to this approach including lower overhead, call agents who are less stressed and perform better, demand elasticity, and lower cost to customer.
We’d love to hear your feedback on these approaches so please respond in the comments section below. In the meantime, I invite you to take a look at our on-demand solution by way of a brief demo, simply click below to get started.