A call centre or call center is a centralised office used for receiving or transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone. An inbound call centre is operated by a company to administer incoming product support or information enquiries from consumers. Outbound call centres are operated for telemarketing, solicitation of charitable or political donations, debt collection and market research. A contact centre is a location for centralised handling of individual communications, including letters, live support software, social media, instant message, e-mail. A call centre has an 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, one or more supervisor stations, it can be independently operated or networked with additional centres linked to a corporate computer network, including mainframes, microcomputers and LANs. The voice and data pathways into the centre are linked through a set of new technologies called computer telephony integration.
The contact centre is a central point. Through contact centres, valuable information about company are routed to appropriate people, contacts to be tracked and data to be gathered, it is a part of company's customer relationship management. The majority of large companies use contact centres as a means of managing their customer interaction; these centres can be operated by either an in house department responsible or outsourcing customer interaction to a third party agency. The origins of call centres dates back to the 1960s with the UK-based Birmingham Press and Mail, which installed Private Automated Business Exchanges to have rows of agents handling customer contacts. By 1973, call centres received mainstream attention after Rockwell International patented its Galaxy Automatic Call Distributor for a telephone booking system as well as the popularization of telephone headsets as seen on televised NASA Mission Control Center events. During the late 1970s, call centre technology expanded to include telephone sales, airline reservations and banking systems.
The term "call centre" was first published and recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary in 1983. The 1980s experienced the development of toll-free telephone numbers to increase the efficiency of agents and overall call volume. Call centres increased with the deregulation of long distance calling and growth in information dependent industries; as call centres expanded, unionisation occurred in North America to gain members including the Communications Workers of America and the United Steelworkers. In Australia, the National Union of Workers represents unionised workers. In Europe, Uni Global Union of Switzerland is involved in assisting unionisation in this realm and in Germany Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft represents call centre workers. During the 1990s, call centres expanded internationally and developed into two additional subsets of communication, contact centres and outsourced bureau centres. A contact centre is defined as a coordinated system of people, processes and strategies that provides access to information and expertise, through appropriate channels of communication, enabling interactions that create value for the customer and organisation.
In contrast to in-house management, outsourced bureau contact centres are a model of contact centre that provide services on a "pay per use" model. The overheads of the contact centre are shared by many clients, thereby supporting a cost effective model for low volumes of calls; the modern contact center has developed more complex systems, which require skilled operational and management staff that can use multichannel online and offline tools to improve customer interaction. Call centre technologies include speech recognition software to allow computers to handle first level of customer support, text mining and natural language processing to allow better customer handling, agent training by automatic mining of best practices from past interactions, support automation and many other technologies to improve agent productivity and customer satisfaction. Automatic lead selection or lead steering is intended to improve efficiencies, both for inbound and outbound campaigns; this allows inbound calls to be directly routed to the appropriate agent for the task, whilst minimising wait times and long lists of irrelevant options for people calling in.
For outbound calls, lead selection allows management to designate what type of leads go to which agent based on factors including skill, socioeconomic factors and past performance and percentage likelihood of closing a sale per lead. The universal queue standardises the processing of communications across multiple technologies such as fax and email; the virtual queue provides callers with an alternative to waiting on hold when no agents are available to handle inbound call demand. Call centres have been built on Private branch exchange equipment, owned and maintained by the call centre operator themselves; the PBX can provide functions such as automatic call distribution, interactive voice response, skills-based routing. In virtual call centre model, the call centre operator pays a monthly or annual fee to a vendor that hosts the call centre telephony equipment in their own data centre. In this model, the operator does not own, operate or host the equipment that the call centre runs on. Agents connect to the vendor's equipment through traditional PSTN telephone lines, or over voice over IP.
Calls to and from prospects or contacts originate from or terminate at the vendor's data centre, rather than at
A telephone, or phone, is a telecommunications device that permits two or more users to conduct a conversation when they are too far apart to be heard directly. A telephone converts sound and most efficiently the human voice, into electronic signals that are transmitted via cables and other communication channels to another telephone which reproduces the sound to the receiving user. In 1876, Scottish emigrant Alexander Graham Bell was the first to be granted a United States patent for a device that produced intelligible replication of the human voice; this instrument was further developed by many others. The telephone was the first device in history that enabled people to talk directly with each other across large distances. Telephones became indispensable to businesses and households and are today some of the most used small appliances; the essential elements of a telephone are a microphone to speak into and an earphone which reproduces the voice in a distant location. In addition, most telephones contain a ringer to announce an incoming telephone call, a dial or keypad to enter a telephone number when initiating a call to another telephone.
The receiver and transmitter are built into a handset, held up to the ear and mouth during conversation. The dial may be located either on a base unit to which the handset is connected; the transmitter converts the sound waves to electrical signals which are sent through a telephone network to the receiving telephone, which converts the signals into audible sound in the receiver or sometimes a loudspeaker. Telephones are duplex devices; the first telephones were directly connected to each other from one customer's office or residence to another customer's location. Being impractical beyond just a few customers, these systems were replaced by manually operated centrally located switchboards; these exchanges were soon connected together forming an automated, worldwide public switched telephone network. For greater mobility, various radio systems were developed for transmission between mobile stations on ships and automobiles in the mid-20th century. Hand-held mobile phones were introduced for personal service starting in 1973.
In decades their analog cellular system evolved into digital networks with greater capability and lower cost. Convergence has given most modern cell phones capabilities far beyond simple voice conversation, they may be able to record spoken messages and receive text messages and display photographs or video, play music or games, surf the Internet, do road navigation or immerse the user in virtual reality. Since 1999, the trend for mobile phones is smartphones that integrate all mobile communication and computing needs. A traditional landline telephone system known as plain old telephone service carries both control and audio signals on the same twisted pair of insulated wires, the telephone line; the control and signaling equipment consists of three components, the ringer, the hookswitch, a dial. The ringer, or beeper, light or other device, alerts the user to incoming calls; the hookswitch signals to the central office that the user has picked up the handset to either answer a call or initiate a call.
A dial, if present, is used by the subscriber to transmit a telephone number to the central office when initiating a call. Until the 1960s dials used exclusively the rotary technology, replaced by dual-tone multi-frequency signaling with pushbutton telephones. A major expense of wire-line telephone service is the outside wire plant. Telephones transmit both the outgoing speech signals on a single pair of wires. A twisted pair line rejects electromagnetic interference and crosstalk better than a single wire or an untwisted pair; the strong outgoing speech signal from the microphone does not overpower the weaker incoming speaker signal with sidetone because a hybrid coil and other components compensate the imbalance. The junction box arrests lightning and adjusts the line's resistance to maximize the signal power for the line length. Telephones have similar adjustments for inside line lengths; the line voltages are negative compared to earth. Negative voltage attracts positive metal ions toward the wires.
The landline telephone contains a switchhook and an alerting device a ringer, that remains connected to the phone line whenever the phone is "on hook", other components which are connected when the phone is "off hook". The off-hook components include a transmitter, a receiver, other circuits for dialing and amplification. A calling party wishing to speak to another party will pick up the telephone's handset, thereby operating a lever which closes the switchhook, which powers the telephone by connecting the transmitter and related audio components to the line; the off-hook circuitry has a low resistance which causes a direct current, which comes down the line from the telephone exchange. The exchange detects this current, attaches a digit receiver circuit to the line, sends a dial tone to indicate readiness. On a modern push-button telephone, the caller presses the number keys to send the telephone number of the called party; the keys control a tone generator circuit. A rotary-dial telephone uses pulse
Caller ID called calling line identification, Calling Line Identification, calling number delivery, calling number identification, calling line identification presentation, or call display, is a telephone service, available in analog and digital telephone systems, including VoIP, that transmits a caller's telephone number to the called party's telephone equipment when the call is being set up. The caller ID service may include the transmission of a name associated with the calling telephone number, in a service called CNAM; the service was first defined in 1993 in International Telecommunication Union - Telecommunication Standardization Sector Recommendation Q.731.3. The recipient may inspect the information before answering the call on a display in the telephone set, on a separately attached device, or on other digital displays, such as cable television sets when telephone and television service is provided by the same vendor. Caller ID information may be false or forged. You should not depend upon Caller ID information to identify a caller.
According to Huahong Tu, Adam Doupé, Ziming Zhao and Gail-Joon Ahn, the heart of the issue is a lack of authenticity and accountability in the transmission of telephone identities. In some countries, the terms caller display, calling line identification presentation, call capture, or just calling line identity are used; the idea of CNID as a service for POTS subscribers originated from automatic number identification as a part of toll free number service in the United States. However, CNID and ANI are not the same thing. ANI was a term given to a system that identified the telephone number placing a call, in a non-electronic central office switch. Previous to this, the calling number could not be identified electronically. Caller ID is made up of two separate pieces of information: the calling number and the billing name where available; when a call is made from a given name, this name can be passed on through a number of different methods. For example, the caller's name may be datafilled in the originating switch, in which case it is sent along with the number.
More a database is accessed by the receiving switch, in order to match the number to a name. If the name does not exist the city, Province, or other designation may be sent; some of these databases may be shared among several companies, each paying every time a name is "extracted". It is for this reason that mobile phone callers appear as "WIRELESS CALLER", or the location where the phone number is registered, e.g. "CELL PHONE GA" for a cell phone registered in Georgia, U. S. A.. Additionally, nothing ensures that the number sent by a switch is the actual number where the call originated; as such, the telephone switch, therefore the operating entity, must be trusted to provide secure authentication. The displayed caller ID depends on the equipment originating the call. If the call originates on a POTS line caller ID is provided by the service provider's local switch. Since the network does not connect the caller to the callee until the phone is answered the caller ID signal cannot be altered by the caller.
Most service providers however, allow the caller to block caller ID presentation through the vertical service code *67. A call placed behind a private branch exchange has more options. In the typical telephony environment, a PBX connects to the local service provider through Primary Rate Interface trunks. Although not the service provider passes whatever calling line ID appears on those PRI access trunks transparently across the Public Switched Telephone Network; this opens up the opportunity for the PBX administrator to program whatever number they choose in their external phone number fields. Some IP phone services support PSTN gateway installations throughout the world; these gateways egress calls to the local calling area. ITSPs allow a local user to have a number located in a "foreign" exchange; when that user places a call, the calling line ID would be that of a Los Angeles number, although they are located in New York. This allows a call return without having to incur long distance calling charges.
With cellphones, the biggest issue appears to be in the passing of calling line ID information through the network. Cellphone companies must support interconnecting trunks to a significant number of Wireline and PSTN access carriers. CLI localisation describes the process of presenting a localised CLI to the recipient of a telephone call. CLI localisation is utilised by various organisations, including call centres, debt collectors and insurance companies. CLI localisation allows companies to increase their contact rate by increasing the chance that a called party will answer a phone call; because a localised CLI is displayed on the called party's device, the call is perceived as local and recognisable to the caller rather than a withheld, unknown or premium rate number. The presented telephone number is adjusted depending on the area code of the dialed number. In 1968, Theodore George "Ted" Paraskevakos, while working in as a communications engineer for SITA in Athens, began developin