Inbound Call Centers: Structure and Training

Published: 20th October 2011
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As businesses expand their operations and clientele base, at some point they may no longer be able to handle the large volume of incoming calls from clients requesting orders or queries. Companies in such circumstances will often outsource their clients to inbound call center service providers to meet their needs. An inbound call center consists of customer service representatives and other service providers who will handle calls on behalf of a business or organization.

The tasks of the inbound sales department can be categorized into sales and order processing (which consists of order taking, sales closure as well as upselling and cross-selling) and customer service (which consists of claims processing, billing inquiries, query resolution, service activations, plan or rate changes, and product support among other things). Other departments may include a technical help desk which provides tech support and troubleshooting to clients.

As evidenced by the variety of tasks listed above, a call center needs motivated, knowledgeable, and professional employees to handle all aspects of inbound services. An inbound customer service representative (or CSR) should have a good command of the required language, posses strong analytical and communication skills, and should be familiar with the basic computer operations utilized in the account.

In addition, a call center agent should possess integrity, maintain a positive attitude, and should be a team worker. Ongoing training must also be provided by the company to ensure competency and efficient solutions. During training, inbound CSRs are coached on the sales process, given instructions on how to guide clients in making good choices with products and services, and overcome customerís objections with careful negotiation.

One of the most important skills inbound CSRs learn in call center training is how to handle difficult clients and deal with them in an efficient manner. It is important for inbound CSRs to learn how to gain clarity in difficult calls by listening proactively to the callerís concern, asking probing questions to clarify the issue, and acknowledging the customerís concern with a brief reiteration. In addition, CSRs must learn how to deliver resolutions in a timely manner utilizing all the resources given by the company (such as Customer Relationship Management software).
@Furthermore, call center CSRs need to maintain a professional and courteous attitude towards all the callers. Calls delivered with empathy will ensure that customers feel valued, which boosts customer loyalty and account retention.

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