Submitted to, Prof. B.K. Srivastava Operations Department Submitted by, R.Mukundan Harish Kumar MBA Entrepreneurship 2009-2011

Executive Summary
A call centre is a place used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone. Nowadays many centers have implemented CTI (Computer Telephone Integration) technology to handle calls. Large companies generally operate call centers to provide customer service for their clients. For instance, US-based PC manufacturer Dell has housed its call centre in India. If any client of this company calls for customer support, their call will be automatically routed to India for the relevant solution. Besides, some companies also use call centers for their internal purposes such as help desk service and sales support. Call centers are being considered as a booming industry. Call centers can be divided into various categories based on their strategy of function and nature of service. But there are mainly two types of call centres such as inbound call centre and outbound call centre. In an inbound call centre, customers generally place their queries about product information and report any technical glitches. In an outbound call centre, agents initiate a call to a customer mostly to sell a product or a service. The Indian government gives tax exemption on the export of ITES (Information technology Enabled Services) and provides other assistances for Indians in building software technology parks. Time factor also drives global companies to choose India as an outsourcing destination. By taking advantage of India's time difference, companies in the US have been able to ensure that their customers receive round-the-clock customer support. The report provides an insight into the following 1. 2. 3. 4. Idea about the Call center Knowledge about the technologies of Call Center Idea about the setup of Call Center Call Center Operations

A call centre or call center is a centralized office used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone. A call centre is operated by a company to administer incoming product support or information inquiries from consumers. Outgoing calls for telemarketing, clientele, and debt collection are also made. In addition to a call centre, collective handling of letters, faxes, and e-mails at one location is known as a contact centre. A call centre is often operated through an extensive open workspace for call centre agents, with work stations that include a computer for each agent, a telephone set / headset connected to a telecom switch, and one or more supervisor stations. It can be independently operated or networked with additional centers, often linked to a corporate computer network, including mainframes, microcomputers and LANs. Increasingly, the voice and data pathways into the centre are linked through a set of new technologies called computer telephony integration (CTI).

Most major businesses use call centers to interact with their customers. Examples include utility companies, mail order catalogue firms, and customer support for computer hardware and software. Some businesses even service internal functions through call centers. Examples of this include help desks and sales support.

Varieties of Call Centers:
Some variations of call centre models are listed below:

Remote Agents – An alternative to housing all agents in a central facility is to use remote agents. These agents work from home and use internet technologies to connect.

Temporary Agents – Temporary agents who are called upon if demand increases more rapidly than planned. Virtual Call centers – Virtual Call centers are created using many smaller centers in different locations and connecting them to one another. There are two methods used to route traffic around call centers: pre-delivery and post-delivery. Predelivery involves using an external switch to route the calls to the appropriate centre and post-delivery enables call centers to route a call they've received to another call centre.

Contact centers – Deal with more media than telephony alone including Email, Web Callback and internet Chat.

Mathematical theory of call centers:
A call centre can be seen from an operational point of view as a queueing network. The simplest call centre, consisting of a single type of customers and statistically-identical servers, can be viewed as a single-queue. Queueing theory is a branch of mathematics in which models of such queueing systems have been developed. These models, in turn, are used to support work force planning and management, for example by helping answer the following common staffing-question: given a service-level, as determined by management, what is the least number of telephone agents that is required to achieve it. (Prevalent examples of service levels are: at least 80% of the callers are answered within 20 seconds; or, no more than 3% of the customer’s hang-up due to impatience, before being served.) Queueing models also provide qualitative insight, for example identifying the circumstances under which economies of scale prevail, namely that a single large call centre is more effective at answering calls than several (distributed) smaller ones; or that cross-selling is beneficial; or that a call centre should be quality-driven or efficiencydriven or, most likely, both Quality and Efficiency Driven (abbreviated to QED). Recently, queueing models have also been used for planning and operating skills-basedrouting of calls within a call centre, which entails the analysis of systems with multi-type customers and multi-skilled agents. Call centre operations have been supported by mathematical models beyond queuing, with operations research, which considers a wide range of optimization problems, being very relevant. For example, for forecasting of calls, for determining shift-structures, and even for analyzing customers' impatience while waiting to be served by an agent.

Administration of call centers:

The centralization of call management aims to improve a company's operations and reduce costs, while providing a standardized, streamlined, uniform service for consumers. To accommodate large customer bases, large warehouses are often converted to office space to host all call centre operations under one roof. Call centre staff can be monitored for quality control, level of proficiency, and customer service by computer technology that manages, measures and monitors the performance and activities of the workers. Typical contact centre operations focus on the discipline areas of workforce management, queue management, quality monitoring, and reporting. Reporting in a call centre can be further broken down into real time reporting and historical reporting. The types of information collected for a group of call centre agents can include: agents logged in, agents ready to take calls, agents available to take calls, agents in wrap up mode, average call duration, average call duration including wrap-up time, longest duration agent available, longest duration call in queue, number of calls in queue, number of calls offered, number of calls abandoned, average speed to answer, average speed to abandoned and service level, calculated by the percentage of calls answered in under a certain time period. Many Call centers use workforce management software, which is software that uses historical information coupled with projected need to generate automated schedules to meet anticipated staffing level needs.

Technology of call centers:
Call centers use a wide variety of different technologies to allow them to manage large volumes of work. These technologies facilitate queueing and processing of calls, maintaining consistent work flow for agents and creating other business cost savings.

These include:
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

ACW (After call work - Sometimes called "wrap" or "wrap-up") ACD (automatic call distribution) Agent performance analytics AHT (Average Handle Time) ANI (automatic number identification) Automated surveys BTTC (best time to call)/ Outbound call optimization Call Recording (call recording software) CIM (customer interaction management) solutions Chat and Web Collaboration CTI (computer telephony integration) CRM (customer relationship management) Desktop Scripting Solutions Electronic performance support systems Email Management Enterprise Campaign Management Issue tracking system IVR (interactive voice response) Knowledge Management System Outbound predictive dialer PDS (Predictive Dialing System) Outsourcing Quality Monitoring (call recording software) Speech Analytics Third party verification TTS (text to speech) Virtual queuing Voice analysis Voicemail VoIP

• •

Voice recognition WFM (workforce management).

Call centre setup:

Criticism of call centre’s:
Criticisms of call centre’s generally follow a number of common themes: From Callers:
• • •

Operators working from a script. Non-expert operators (call screening). Incompetent or untrained operators incapable of processing customers' requests effectively. Overseas location, with language and accent problems. Automated queuing systems. This sometimes results in excessively long hold times Complaints that departments of companies do not engage in communication with one another. deceit over location of call centre (such as allocating overseas workers false English names)

• • •

From Staff:
• • •

Close scrutiny by management (e.g. frequent random call monitoring). Low compensation (pay and bonuses). Restrictive working practices (some operators are required to follow a pre-written script). High stress: a common problem associated with front-end jobs where employees deal directly with customers. Repetitive job task. Poor working conditions (e.g. poor facilities, poor maintenance and cleaning, management interference, lack of privacy and noisy). impaired vision and hearing problems

• •

The net-net of these concerns is that call centers as a business process exhibit stratospheric levels of variability. The experience a customer gets and the results a company achieves on a given call are almost totally dependent on the quality of the agent answering that call. [3] Call

Centers are beginning to address this by using technology to standardize the process all agents use.

Call Center Organogram:

Call Center Operations:
It all begins with the operations manager, sometimes also known as a call center manager. They are responsible for all departments within the call center, as well as relations with all outside contacts such as maintenance, vending, payroll, human resources, or any other company the call center works with.

There is usually someone else responsible for a particular department, however it is the operations manager’s responsibility to work with them and ensure the department is run efficiently and effectively. The operations manager will usually decide how much time is spent to train customer service agents and management teams which will set the tone for the quality of customer service offered to customers. The shift supervisor is the person that communicates between the operations manager and the team managers, ensuring everyone is on the same page. They will produce reports that are needed and make sure all team managers report directly to them in regards to problems with things such as attendance, call times, and customer satisfaction rates. A shift supervisor will also oversee the adherence to policies and procedures set in place. They may also deal with clients and take the role of the operations manager when needed. Of course, a shift supervisor should never be to busy to take customer calls when escalated for both positive and negative reasons. Team managers spend their time on the call floor, coaching the customer service agents in a positive manner when it comes to attendance, quality, policy adherence, and following procedure. Customer service agents would report directly to the team manager in all aspects of their work including calling them when they will miss a day, or coming to them when they have an issue they cannot correct or handle on their own. Team managers will also ensure that agents are comfortable and in a positive frame of mind while at work. Essentially, a big part of a team manager’s job is to be a cheerleader of sorts. As a shift supervisor completes reports for a shift, a team manager will complete reports for their team on a daily basis to be sent to the shift supervisor. This position is one that you will have to stand out as a positive role model, knowing that what is said and done by a team manager is what sets the tone for everyone else. Training is an important aspect of running a quality call center, as customer service agents will not appropriately represent a company without it. Within a training

department, there is usually a training manager that oversees trainers on a daily basis and reports daily achievements and problems to the operations manager. Trainers will participate in training new hires on how the job is done, the policies and procedures, expectations of the company, and how to successfully provide excellent customer service. A trainer has a very important role to play because they are the first interaction a newly hired customer service agent will have with the company. Their style of training and the way they interact with people will determine how agents feel about the job in itself. Trainers will also be responsible for ongoing training when procedures or products change, and also ensure that everyone is up to date on things they may have forgotten. Quality assurance is monitored within a call center, to ensure customers are receiving the best possible experience when calling in. Quality teams will consist of a manager within the department who reports to the shift supervisor, and a team of agents who listen to customer calls and score them on a number of things.
The quality department is there to make sure customers are receiving the correct information, and treated with respect. Quality reports are used to help coach a customer service agent on issues they may be having when taking phone calls, and will help determine the overall proficiency of the entire call center. One of the most important things a quality department does to keep themselves on the same page is to calibrate calls with each other. Meeting once a week or so, they will listen to the same call together and score it to ensure they are all scoring at the same rate and for the same reasons. Without an IT team, the call center simply cannot run. They are the ones to keep the equipment including phones and computers running smoothly so calls can be answered in a timely fashion. The IT department will usually report to the operations manager, but all departments will report to the IT team with problems that need to be addressed. IT teams are housed within the call center so things can be fixed pretty quickly, so this team has a lot on their shoulders. The size of an IT department is subject to the equipment used by a call center, but will usually consist of at least 2 people.

Last but certainly not least is the bread and butter of the call center. A customer service agent is what makes a company. Without them, there is nothing to operate, as they are the ones whom are relied on to represent the company and take care of any customer contacting the company. There is a lot of responsibility for an agent to deal with on a daily basis as far as keeping within policy and procedure guidelines while sometimes dealing with irate customers and still keeping a smile on their face. In all honesty, of all different aspects of a call center, customer service agents are known to have the highest turnover for many different reasons. To lessen the turnover in a company all departments must operate effectively with each other to provide the agent with essential needs such as support and ongoing training. Without it, the agent simply cannot deliver great service to the customer!

Call centers offer a wide range of services which are given below:
• Customer acquisition: It is one of the effective services offered by call centers. The aim of this scheme is not only to generate customers but also to allow consumers to contact a representative to make a purchase. Basically, a business nominates a call centre to conduct marketing services on behalf of them. • Customer care: Customer care is one of the common services offered by the call centre. When a customer buys any product or service from a particular company, they are advised to contact the customer care division of the call centre. Many companies in the western world outsource their customer support facility. This in effect reduces the operations cost of hiring new workforce. • Direct response: It is one of the important services offered by the call centre to the business. During product advertisement, companies mention a phone number for the customers. When any call is initiated to this number, the call centre provides adequate information to make an informed purchase decision.

Business to business: It is a potential call centre solution for any company to generate business-to-business sales. The role of the call centres in this regard is to reduce cost and provide resources for a business to beef up its revenue.

Call centers are being considered as a booming industry. Call centers can create huge employment opportunity. It enables global organisations to provide their customers with 24x7x365 days services. China's continuing economic growth holds a bright future for the call centre industry. Remarkable IT-enabled services in India are helpdesk services, accounting services, transaction processing services, remote network management and end-to-end processing etc. Call centers in India can offer expert product specific solutions, such as risk modelling, data mining, actuarial services and underwriting variation analysis. But most importantly, expert human resources are vital in order to ensure the development of the call centre industry. In this regard, private companies should come forward to train people and the government must ensure the quality issues so that the entire system works smoothly and perfectly.

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