Call Centers In Organisations
No one would argue that call centers have particular significance in three areas: in customer service and retention, in direct marketing, and as sources of management information and customer feedback (Friedman, 2001).
1. Customer service and retention: call centers have become the primary contact point with customers in business operations, and serve as the means by which the organization creates a long-term relationship with individual customers and maintains customer satisfaction. In its turn, customer satisfaction will generally lead to retention and to word-of-mouth recommendations. If talking about distance education, call centers can help create the same type of relationship. If regarding the context of a university's service standards for processing applications, marking assignments, or answering calls and messages, call center staff are the consistent point of contact with the student, and become their advocate.
2. Direct marketing opportunities: the support provided by a call center is increasingly seen as a service that customers expect to find integrated with product offerings, and to be available by phone and on the Internet. The contact with the customer (who, in the case of online or distance education, is a student) may result in opportunities to help the student choose additional products (programs or courses) and services (e.g., advising, counseling, tutorial).
3. Source of management information and student or customer feedback: a call center with good software accumulates a great deal of information about customers or students. Such information is collected by analyzing call documentation data, or by directly presenting questions to the customer or student. In distance education institutions one should make the collection and analysis of information a major call center goal.