Call Center Capabilities

Predictive Dialing

Many Call Centers are designed to both take incoming calls and place outgoing calls. The same group of agents may be responsible for both sales and collections. The sales calls are primarily incoming, and the collections calls are placed during lulls in incoming traffic.

Outbound calls may be placed automatically using predictive dialers. Predictive dialers analyze incoming call traffic and agent activity, then automatically place outgoing calls when agents are about to be available. These predictive dialers help management increase agent productivity by decreasing idle time. When you receive a call during dinner and there is a slight delay before a telemarketer comes on the line, a predictive dialer was used to place the call. When the system detects that you have answered, it sends the call to the telemarketer.
Some Call Centers may focus primarily or totally on these outgoing calls, known as telemarketing. In these cases, less sophisticated dialers can be used. Regardless of the Call Center orientation (incoming, outgoing or a combination) management require similar features to assure optimal functionality.

Work Force Management (Scheduling)

Large Call Centers frequently extend their business hours beyond the traditional workday. Staff may rotate through different shifts or part-time employees may be used to provide extended coverage.
At the same time, call volumes tend to be cyclical. Some times of day or days of the week will always be more active than others. Management must provide a way to schedule employee shifts to reflect these changing requirements.
Balancing the number of employees and anticipated call volumes is a time-consuming task. Call Centers frequently purchase automated workforce management software to complement their Automatic Call Distribution systems. Another option for maximizing agent productivity is to mix inbound and outbound calling in one center.

Wall Mount Display

A wall-mounted display of Call Center volume and agent performance can also serve as a motivator for agents. Mounted in positions of high visibility, displays can be used to scroll information about incoming/outgoing call volumes, agents on line, average time to answer, etc. These displays serve as a reinforcer to agents, and provide valuable information for supervisors when they are away from their desks.

Screen Pops

Screen Pops can shave seconds from many if not all calls. Using a computer-to-PBX/ACD interface, Screen Pop brings the caller profile to the agent at the same time a call arrives. This saves the agent from having to ask for the caller's name, account number or other relevant information, keying in a data request and waiting for the screen to appear.
Some systems use ANI (automatic number identification of the calling number) to initiate the database inquiry and screen transfer, while others use an IVR (Interactive Voice Response System) to ask the caller to input identifying information that will in turn be used for database access and a screen transfer.

Fax Server

Routine requests for information can frequently be handled by a fax server. Order confirmation and general information can be provided very quickly with integrated fax response functionality.
These features give the caller an element of control over the way the call is handled. By using automation to eliminate the ambiguity and frustration of long hold times, Call Centers can increase customer satisfaction without increasing staffing levels.

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