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A call center generally refers to a centralized location where a company has a dedicated team of employees whose job it is to answer incoming or to generate outbound telephone calls. Call center employees are frequently in sales, telemarketing, customer care, customer service, or technical support positions. A call center is designed to handle a large volume of calls and traditionally thought of as being a facility with rows of employees sitting in individual offices or cubicles, talking on the telephone.
An online call center makes use of the functionality of a conventional call center while employing a virtual work force that is not actually physically present in a central facility. Through the use of computers and the internet, many companies are able to utilize employees that work from home or from remote locations to fulfill many, if not all, of the tasks that can be handled through a conventional call center.
In a virtual call center, calls that are traditionally processed in a central facility are now directly routed to employees wherever they are physically located. In many cases the process is so seamless that those calling in are often unaware that they are not calling a traditional call center and are speaking to someone who is working from home.
An online call center provides companies with several unique advantages. The first advantage is the cost savings of not having to build and maintain a physical location. Another advantage is that companies are no longer dependent on hiring employees from only one local area. With an online call center, companies can select from and hire the best candidates from a wider geographical base.
Many studies have also found that workers in virtual environments are more productive than their counterparts in a physical office. In addition, many companies that utilize an online call center have a higher employee retention rate than companies with employees in traditional call centers.
Employees working in an online call center enjoy unique advantages and benefits of their own. Possibly the main benefit for many employees is the convenience of being able to work from home or from a remote location of their choice. The ability to work from home has also made it convenient for many to work for an online call center as an additional source of income. Now instead of having to commute from one physical place of employment to another, online call center employees simply have to go home to be able to work.