Tuesday, May 29 2018
By King R. White, CEO, Site Selection Group, LLC
The domestic call center industry has gone through many cycles over the last couple of decades but continues to find its place within the U.S. economy as a critical part of a balanced workforce in communities across the country. Site selection strategies continue to evolve as companies seek to find the optimal location for their call centers. Similarly, call centers have expanded into omni-channel environments doing far more than what they did when the industry first gained a foothold in the 1990s. As a result, companies need to understand the latest trends and challenges faced by call centers and related back office operations within the United States.
The Evolution of the Call Center Industry
Tuesday, May 30 2017
By Lisa A. Bastian
Shortly after the presidential Oval Office change in January, the almost-forgotten trumpet call of "Buy American, Hire American" is heard once again heard across the land after years of muffling. But this time, an added message is resonating with the citizenry; one that demands the end of job offshoring whenever and wherever possible.
Yes, U.S. manufacturing suffered great losses in recent years due to overseas moves. But so did the contact center industry. Sadly, between 2006 and 2014, the U.S. lost more than 200,000 contact center positions; many of which turned up in offshore centers grabbing the lion's share of industry jobs. However, nationalist and globalist forces in play for years are changing this scenario for the better. The industry's health is steadily improving as it finds new and innovative ways to help businesses become leading-edge providers of quality customer satisfaction.
Monday, May 23 2016
By Lisa A. Bastian, President, Bastian PR
The ever-expanding call center industry remains a vital piece of the global customer service industry. Contributing to its growth is a greater emphasis on customer satisfaction, new developments in information technology, and overall cost reductions in operating modern facilities.
Of course, the real reason they are so popular is that decades of experience have proven call centers are the hallmark of successful organizations seeking to give customers the highest quality of assistance when needed. Even better news: Whether it's for inbound or outbound calls, these days retaining the services of a call center can be affordable for small businesses as well as the larger multinationals.
However, while the merits of call centers are many, debates are now flaring about whether a firm should outsource part of their customer service jobs overseas or use a domestic provider right here in America.
Monday, November 30 2015
By Kate McEnroe, President of Kate McEnroe Consulting
Writing an article about call centers is always a tougher assignment than it may seem; not because there is nothing to talk about, but because it is hard to decide exactly how to interpret what this term “call center” really encompasses and how to focus a discussion accordingly. In fact, it’s become so complicated that it is hard to even know what term to use in this article to talk about operations that are called call centers but are really something else, and operations that are called something else but are really call centers. So, for the sake of brevity and clarity in this article, let’s settle for the moment on “call center” to cover all of the infinite variety of operations like these.
The term “call centers” first came into use at a time when the options for businesses to connect with one another or with customers were moving from face to face contact and snail mail to the new model of interacting over the phone. The call center was the new, cost effective option intended to replace at least a part of the more costly face-to-face connections. Very quickly, however, the functions of this type of operation came to include many types of interactions with internal or external customers that did not fall into the face-to-face category. In many cases these functions were being moved from decentralized to centralized models, which may explain why so many of them still include the word “center” as new names are coined. Whether their evolution has a positive or negative net impact on customers and employees remains controversial. For those who were performing their jobs in a decentralized environment such as power company counter reps who accepted payments in most towns in the country, this trend caused a great deal of disruption to relationships, job locations, and work environment and processes. From the company perspective, however processes were standardized and money was saved. In most cases this change was driven or at least enabled by a shift away from paper records to computer systems. On the plus side for employees, call centers created entire new categories of jobs that provided many people with better jobs, better career prospects and better benefits than they may have had in a retail setting, for example, or as an entry level position. Nevertheless, in many places they developed a reputation for being stressful, regimented places to work with a broader image as being the source of annoying phone calls at home.