Call centres deliver a variety of services to customers through the use of the telephones and agents. It may be described as a set of functions or actions that can be carried out in a number of ways using multiple delivery channels. Call centres merge information and telecommunications technology, allowing clients to talk to knowledgeable representatives who have speedy access to information. The call centre automatically directs the incoming client call to an agent and simultaneously presents relevant information about the caller's enquiry on the agent's computer screen.
State-of-the-art technology is involved, but call centres rely on people to act as intermediaries between the information in the databases and the servicing of the client. The three components of a call centre are therefore people, technology and work processes.
Work processes allow the call centre to be managed effectively and include such matters as how an incoming call is dealt with either by being directed straight to an agent, queued or answered and put on hold. Work processes also ensure that requests from clients are dealt with properly, for example, if a brochure is requested, ensuring it is sent out and a follow-up call is made. Technology provides that the level of sophistication that enables the call centre to perform this multitude of functions. (http://www.ccma.org.za/DisplayNews2.asp?ID=8
Associations and organisations
Contact Centre Management Group
The CCMG was formed in South Africa in October 2009, and is run by experienced Contact Centre professionals and experts who sit on the advisory board. The CCMG head office is based in Gauteng and Cape Town and operates on a national level throughout South Africa.
As the South African professional body for and including Contact Centre Managers and Supervisors, the CCMG is dedicated to providing a forum where organisations and individuals can interact, having a common goal of professional and business development, service excellence, and continuous improvement. CCMG is dedicated to providing information on matters affecting Contact Centres, including amongst others: industry standards, best practices, product information, templates, tools, training and development, networking opportunities, events on current issues facing the industry, case studies, and award programmes.
CCMG members include executives and management professionals from organisations with inbound or outbound Contact Centres, outsourcers and users of teleservices, trainers, consultants, technology developers and suppliers, and service providers.
Call centres in South Africa
Presentation by Charley Lewis, 24 Oct 2000.
Call centres have become one of the world’s most important job creators, and a critical resource for service oriented industries.