The Call Center Industry is changing fast. Technology is advancing fast and competition is getting fierce with less people to call on in the Telemarketing Industry, especially with the FCC enforcing the standards of the FTC “Do Not Call List.” There have been massive layoffs in the Out Bound Telemarketing business. Many telemarketing companies stayed in business because they work for politicians campaigns or contract with the major parties or PACs. Others have gone into the non-profit sector to pitch for funds from donors as the non-profit sector is hard up for cash as the economy makes it’s U-Turn and taxi’s onto the runway for a cleared for take-off election year flight to 11,500.
We noticed in our company along with many small and medium mobile service type companies have used the services of Call Centers and Answering services to collect calls for the operators. What we are finding when talking to companies which do not have their own telemarketing departments that it is difficult to find a call center company that can keep customer satisfaction rates as high as they need. We are hearing from companies that this is getting tougher and tougher. The consumers are not getting any easier to please either. Call Center rates which take calls and then electronically dispatch by alpha pager or Blue Tooth PDA device charge between $1.50 to $2.80 per call and $.40 to $.90 to dispatch out. Often small companies were getting a break due to the fact that call center companies and answering services had other large Corporate Clientele and larger customers. With the economic hit combined with the Telemarketing hit with the “Do Not Call List” (which no one can deny is needed to keep pesky telemarketers from calling at your residence during dinner times purposely), the change in the call center industry was drastic. Now the economy has rebounded, but in some markets where they were large employers many are still in the job market.
Larger companies now are using several new technologies to lower their costs at call centers and to only use actual operators when absolutely needed. When needed the “in-bound” operator is usually given several up selling screens in order to increase sales for the company and they are often given commissions on up selling. There are hundreds of new white papers on Call Center IT software on Bit Pipe online as the industry is trying to use artificial intelligence in order to limit the time of the operators at the centers.
Many of these telemarketing inbound call centers are not even in the country. Called one the other day in Nova Scotia, Canada. Have called several in India for many very large companies. It is interesting that these companies often process payments and credit cards through these call centers and often take personal information and credit card numbers. There use to be a huge problem with call centers using prison labor, which was going on until the FBI started checking into the identity theft and caught a bunch of them at it. Companies are trying to shave costs where ever they can. Many companies are trying to shave costs where ever they can and that means call centers but using intelligent systems, over seas or out of country operators and/or closing service centers all over. Some have outsourced to third party call centers with some success, which works fine if the call centers can keep your satisfaction rate at 80% plus, usually this is tough, but the India Companies are good at this, being polite that is. Actually and unfortunately for good American’s who had these jobs.
There has been some talk about the out sourcing jobs in these sectors although these jobs are very valuable we should be worried more about IT Jobs being deported to China. And Department of Defense Contracts going to Indian companies for IT. Some in-house state of the art call centers are getting 500% up sell, meaning not only are they getting a live voice to the customer which is perceived as value added in this day of non-personalized service, but also extending customer loyalty by up to 15% a good white paper on this is written by the founder of eLoyalty. The Title of the paper is “Customer Connections – A Breakthrough Model for Analyzing and Influencing Customer Behavior;
It dives into the “paradigm shift” as he calls it as call center computers analysis the voice of the caller and suggest sentences to use to the operator to resolve hostile conflict, build report and then up sell or get a customer to settle down if it is a complaint call. In after phone experience surveys by customer there have been unbelievable improvements in satisfaction. Anyone wanting to improve their businesses ought to read that white paper. Maybe the government ought to get these systems in, because those so called “good folks” in government at their call centers are about the most worthless, un caring folks I have ever seen. And many of their supervisors need to be axed for their attitude. Apparently they have completely forgotten the customer.