Call centers have become as ubiquitous to today’s business world as the travelling salesman used to be in the 1950s. Call centres have not always had the same kind of respectable reputation that they do now. When they first started out, they were a hard-sell outfit that consumers equated with interrupted suppers and pushy salespeople who would not take "no" for an answer. However through the years, the role of the contact center has evolved tremendously. In fact, the modern version of a call center is more that of an answering service that provides business with every kind of telemarketing and answering service that they might possibly want.
Contemporary call centers offer executives the ability to conduct their business anywhere in the world. An answering service will take their messages, field their calls, book appointments and connect the important clients or suppliers to the right people immediately. Using answering service options means that even start-ups or other small businesses can appear professional in the eyes of their clients by having a first-rate answering service taking all of their calls. It eliminates the need for hiring a full-time receptionist and other support staff until the business is large enough to carry such a permanent overhead.
If an executive has to travel a lot for business, he/she can always sign up with a contact center that offers virtual office services. By doing so, the executive will have access to all of the call centers owned and operated by the parent company. Therefore, if they have an office in the UK, Tokyo and New York, the executive will be able to use the services of the virtual office located in each destination. They will be able to use the fax and copy machines, use the receptionist to field calls and use the conference room for meetings if necessary. The convenience of such a set-up in invaluable to busy executive who do not always have the time or the resources to set things up by themselves while travelling or even to have an assistant travel with them.
The shift in call centers began in the 1990s with the advent of the internet. Once people began getting more of their information through online sources, it became clear that either call centers would have to evolve or risk disappearing altogether. The move to answering service and comprehensive telemarketing provider was a smart one that has allowed the sector to grow exponentially. Now, all of the big companies rely on call centers to take care of the customer service needs. Whether they have an in-house contact center or they have contracted the deal out to an answering service, the fact remains that customer service agents and contact center agents are now one of the most prolific forms of employment around the world. In fact, many of the bigger call centers are located in developing world countries where the sector is giving rise to a burgeoning middle class.
Contact centers are here to stay. They have helped businesses to streamline their operations and to increase their bottom line, therefore, it is most likely that these service providers will be around for a long time yet.