• United States
by Steve Taylor and Larry Hettick

Convergence changes call centers, Part 1

Aug 18, 20032 mins

* Start of a series on how convergence technologies transform call centers

We’d like to begin a series of newsletters on how call center operations can significantly benefit from recent advances in convergence protocols and other technologies. As a starting point, today we’ll look at some of the basics of call center operations.

Call centers, customer care centers, contact centers – we’ll make the case (by blatant assertion) that these are three names for the same thing. To stave off a flurry of hate mail from those of our readers who abhor dinnertime telemarketing calls, we’ll also focus our view on incoming calls and look at how outbound calls can become a welcome interruption. 

The basic call center includes four dimensions – the ability to make and receive phone calls, a physical space for call center attendants, customers and employees. Each of these dimensions is undergoing a step-function shift.

By changing to an IP-based telephone network, call centers can receive all the benefits any enterprise gets from a VoIP-based phone system. By applying the advantages of “presence” based on Session Initiation Protocol, many call centers can (depending on the nature of their business) do away with the “mega-center” in favor of a partially or fully distributed workforce. As for customer experience, because a more complete and efficient integration of customer profiles is achievable, the customer experience can be improved. And by taking advantage a customized “unified communications portal” for each employee or employee function, employees can also benefit.

One more introductory note on the series for our call center operators who have had it “up to here” with all the vendor hype about “new technology.” Please sit down with your IT department staff and review this series together; you’ll be amazed at how much you can teach each other.