The hosted call center is a modern option for handling call center functions without the need to construct an in-house call center. Sometimes referred to as virtual call center, the hosted call centre, or center, makes use of software that allows voice communications to terminate at a general data center that handles inbound calls for a number of different companies. Technology of this type can allow even a small company or home business to create the illusion of being a much larger business entity.
One of the most common applications of a hosted call center is related to the task of CRM, or customer relations management. Small businesses that can not afford to maintain a customer care team on duty around the clock can contract for hosted call center services for minimal monthly fees. Clients can call in after hours and speak with an agent who serves as a representative of the company. The agent can sometimes assist the customer and resolve the issue immediately. In other instances, the agent will take information and assure the caller that someone will return the call during normal business hours.
Over the years, the technology used for a hosted call center has improved greatly. Instead of requiring a series of traditional inbound phone trunks, Voice over Internet Protocol makes it possible to use high speed Internet capabilities to make and receive calls at the center. Software and some basic equipment make it possible to convert the data stream carrying the phone signal back into a digital signal that will terminate on standard office phone equipment. In a situation where the hosted call center uses Internet phone services rather than wired services, the data stream does not have to undergo conversion and will terminate directly with the next available agent in the queue.
A hosted call center can also be utilized for functions other than customer support. The center can be used to route calls to personnel who are traveling, redirect calls placed to recently terminated employees to another extension or number, or handle business telemarketing functions such as lead generation or surveys of current customers. All these functions are possible without the need for the call center client to construct an in-house call center and hire agents to perform the same tasks. This can result in significant savings on communication services and make it possible for the business to use those resources in other areas, such as sales and marketing campaigns or research and development efforts.