What Is A Call Center?
A call center is a facility dedicated to fielding incoming phone calls for a business. A typical call center will be a large office with multiple employees working in cubicles. But call-center staff are not merely operators who transfer calls to specific departments and specific individuals within the company. Instead, most call center employees are thoroughly trained to answer customers’ questions, resolve customer frustrations and provide specific services for customers such as credit card processing for individual merchant account clients, activating new services, updating customer account information and occasionally removing fees.
Internal Vs. Outsourced Call Centers
Most credit card processing call centers in the past were operated in-house, meaning they were staffed by employees on the company payroll, typically operating in one of the company’s local office facilities. They often followed standard daytime business operating hours – along with the other departments located in the building – and were subject to local regulations regarding hours worked, pay standards and benefits.
In recent years, however, technology has created a global workplace where call centers are not geographically dependent. Many large companies today outsource their call centers to service companies in other countries where operating costs are lower than in their own countries. By outsourcing their call centers overseas, many companies are saving substantial amounts of money and seeing increased profits while providing merchant account support around the clock, including weekends and holidays.
Virtual Call Centers
Yet another development is the recent shift away from physical locations as dedicated call centers. Many of today’s call-center employees are actually working from home as part of the telecommuting trend. They may work directly for the company they are representing, or they may work for a contracting company located in another location with lower operating costs. Virtual call center workers often use their own telephones and computers and are reimbursed for equipment and utility fees. Telecommuting in this manner allows companies to reduce their costs even further by eliminating the overhead required in operating and maintaining a large, physical office facility, and costs are sometimes reduced even further as many virtual employees are willing to work for reduced wages in exchange for the flexibility of working from home, avoiding commute time and transportation costs, and eliminating dress code requirements.