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How Call Centres Work

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Call centres are used by online merchants, telemarketing companies, computer product help desks, mail-order organizations, polling services, charities and any large organization that use the telephone to sell and provide products or services or enhance the customer experience.

Typically, an inbound call centre handles a considerable volume of calls at the same time, screens and forwards calls to someone qualified to handle them and logs calls. An interactive voice response (IVR) system will answer calls and utilize speech recognition technology to either address customer queries with an automated message or route calls to the appropriate call centre agents or recipients via an automated call distributor.

Agents in an inbound call centre may handle calls from current or potential customers regarding accounts management, scheduling, technical support, complaints, queries about products or services, or intent to purchase from the company. In an outbound call centre, an agent makes calls on behalf of the company or client for tasks, including lead generation, telemarketing, customer retention, fundraising, surveying, collecting debts or scheduling appointments. To maximize efficiencies, calls are usually made with an automated dialler and then transferred to an available agent via an IVR system once a connection with a person has been made. Outbound call centres must ensure compliance with the National Do Not Call Registry, a list to which citizens can add their phone numbers to avoid receiving unwanted solicitation calls.

A blended call centre handles both inbound and outbound calls.