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Call Center (VoIP) - Service Description & FAQ

This article explains a general description of Call Center service provided by ITS to the University and Medical Center.

What is a Call Center?

Why is technology needed for a Call Center?

What is needed to set-up an ACD?

What options will I have for routing incoming calls?

What can a Call Center Manager expect from Call Center technology?

What is an IVR?

What options do I have for redirecting calls in the case of emergency or weather-related impact?


What is a Call Center?

A call center is a group of individuals responding to inquiries from a customer in order to resolve an issue, provide information, or update information for the customer. The individuals can be located in a single location, working across several buildings, locations, cities or even working from home. A customer may be internal to the same business (as in an IT Help Desk) or outside of the organization (as in a paying customer for services). A call center may take incoming calls, make outgoing calls, respond to inquiries via email, chat, or fax. A call center may also be 24 x 7 x 365 or may work Monday to Friday depending on customer's needs. No two Call Centers are alike.

Why is technology needed for a Call Center?

Not all Call Centers rely on technology to receive and direct incoming telephone calls. This treatment can easily be handled by simple instructions on any telephone system and may be suited for groups that handle a consistent or predictable amount of telephone calls by a consistent group of individuals adhering to a standard work schedule. Call Center technology, otherwise known as Automatic Call Distribution or ACD, can treat and direct calls by time of day, day of week, number of calls that are connected, on hold or the number of employees available to take telephone calls. Calls can also be redirected to other locations in the event of a disaster or event impacting business at a primary location. In addition, an ACD will also produce reports informing a Call Center Manager of the workload and the performance of a team or individuals.

What is needed to set-up an ACD?

ACD group begins with a general business purpose:  an understanding of the types of services being delivered to the callers and a main number to receive, direct and trigger events. Once this is understood, we identify the individuals who will answer the incoming calls. These individuals are "agents." The agent will use a deskphone or a soft client to access the ACD technology, logon to the ACD which instructs the ACD to direct or bypass the agent. The agent will use their phone to tell the ACD they are "available" to take a call, "unavailable" to receive a call, in "work" or wrapping up paperwork as a result of a call or "Do Not Disturb", creating a metric that represents not call related work, i.e. meetings.

What options will I have for routing incoming calls?

  • First-in, First-out: Calls are normally handled as first-in, first-out, i.e. the oldest call will always be routed to the next available employee
  • Priority queueing: we may identify high profile telephone numbers or call types (sometimes from a toll-free number) to take priority over other call types
  • Overflow: Calls can look at a primary ACD group and if agents are not available, we can look at a secondary (or back-up) ACD group
  • In-queue Messaging: We can inform callers of the estimated time to wait, the number of callers waiting ahead, or offer an option to leave a message with a returned call
  • Music on Hold: The caller may hear music insuring them their call is not lost. Music and in-queue messaging can alternate to give periodic updates to the caller
  • System status alerts or Informational Announcements: ACD can be front-ended with informational messages, The messages may be recorded and activated or deactivated on-demand by the Call Center Manager informing unique information, status or alerts for the hour or the day
  • Call treatments may vary by time-of-day, day-of-week, or holiday, with unique call routing for each

What can a Call Center Manager expect from Call Center technology?

You can expect to receive all the critical functional areas of today's call centers, including:

  • Call Center tools for your agents with the appropriate training, including PC (agent desktop), IP Phone, or remote agent capabilities
  • Real-time status displays for both the Call Center Manager and agents, informing each of the current status and client experience
  • Daily and Historical Reporting - Each Call Center Manager will receive daily reporting, reflecting hourly performance (if necessary) for the group performance and individual agent performance. Information is stored to allow a Call Center Manager to understand seasonal or periodic trends. This data can also be used to predict or forecast staffing needs when an increase in call volume is expected
  • Manage team performance by PC- based Supervisor desktop or Mobile Supervisor
    • The ability of the Supervisor Desktop to monitor critical performance metrics and actively chat, monitor, record, and send team messages allows managers to coach, train, and encourage agent behavior so that agents consistently perform their job function and process calls efficiently
    • Supervisors can change an agent's state from their desktop. With Supervisor Desktop, supervisors can easily log out missing agents or make unintentionally idle agents ready to take calls.
    • Cisco Mobile Supervisor is a free application available from Apple's App Store.Cisco Mobile Supervisor is an extension to the Cisco Supervisor Desktop (CSD) on a mobile device. Supervisors can receive real-time performance metrics on their iPhone3G and iPod touch devices. From the application, you can view color-coded indicators of agent statistics and customer service queue metrics.The Cisco Mobile Supervisor application allows you to view Contact Service Queues reports in summary or detail and Agent Team States.You can also logout agents or change agent states to make them available to receive calls.

I've heard about IVR and Self-Service but what is it and will this be available for my Call Center?

IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response. This technology allows a caller to enter an account number (employee ID, Social Security Number, Policy Number, etc.) along with a password in order to retrieve information from a data source without speaking to a live agent. IVRs meet business needs by operating 24x7x365 delivering consistent, accurate information in relatively quick telephone calls. IVRs nicely augment web-access by giving callers the option of how they would like to receive information on their account. IVRs work best when processes are routine and repeatable without failure. IVRs can also be trained to make decisions based on information received or requested. These applications tend to be more complex but the economies can be significant where call volumes are consistently high or where additions to staff are inevitable. While this service is available through ITS, this will require a project and expect 3-9 months for implementation.

What options do I have for redirecting calls in the case of emergency or weather-related impact?

IT Services is committed to insuring that a Call Center Manager is equipped with the necessary tools to redirect incoming customer calls to an alternate destination on-demand. An alternate destination may be a different location, a different telephone number or a unique emergency greeting. Each Call Center will be designed to offer Mobility and Unity Connection with some simple training

  • Mobility will allow a Call Center Manager to configure alternate destinations so that incoming calls be redirected immediately
  • Unity Connection Voicemail gives a Call Center Manager full control of pre-recorded greetings for on-demand availability as the need arises.

For more information about these services, please locate Mobility or Unity Connection through the IT Services web pages.




Keywords: ACD Agent "incoming calls" IVR "music-on-hold" "in queue messaging" overflow   Doc ID: 21269
Owner: Linda M.Group: University of Chicago
Created: 2011-11-14 18:03 CDTUpdated: 2012-11-15 10:09 CDT
Sites: University of Chicago