A call center is a physical place where customer and other telephone calls are handled by an organization, usually with some amount of computer automation. Typically, a call center has the ability to handle a considerable volume of calls at the same time, to screen calls and forward them to someone qualified to handle them, and to log calls. Call centers are used by mail-order catalog organizations, telemarketing companies, computer product help desks, and any large organization that uses the telephone to sell or service products and services. Two related terms are virtual call center and contact center.
A call center< is an office where a company’s inbound calls are received or outbound calls are made. Call centers are increasingly popular in today’s society, where many companies have centralized customer service and support functions. Call centers employ many staff in customer service, sales, and support functions.
Call centers are often large offices staffed with representatives who either make or receive phone calls. Depending on the size of the call center, a single office could have anywhere from a few dozen to hundreds of telephone staff. Depending on the needs of the company, call centers can make either incoming or outgoing calls.
Some call centers focus on answering inbound calls, such as a bank that gives out a toll-free number for customers needing assistance. In this example, call center representatives can give account balances and take loan applications over the phone. Other call centers focus on outbound calls, such as a survey company, where representatives make outbound calls to ask people to answer survey questions over the phone.