What is a Customer Service Center?

Agent working in a customer service centerThe Customer Service Center: A brief Overview.

It is more than likely that we have all called a customer service center (centre) more than once in our lives. Generally speaking, it is a place where customer enquiries, administration and customer service are handled.

Most large companies have well established customer service centers, where most or all of its customer contact and administration is carried out. Tasks that are handled in the customer service center may include:

  • Customer call handling
  • Order processing and tracking
  • Technical enquiry handling
  • Customer care and advice
  • Product or service recommendations
  • Sales and “upselling”
  • After sales service

Some organizations have a large capacity, with thousands of employees or agents. These agents or Customer Service Representatives need to be highly trained, in order to provide clients with a high level of customer care.

Robust telephone systems are required to handle and distribute calls throughout the center. These are called ACD systems, or Automatic Call Distribution systems.

The Center is hotbed of jargon. Here is small selection of abbreviations used:

ACD Automatic Call Distributor

AHT Average Handle Time

ASA Average Speed of Answer

ATA Average Time to Abandon

CSR Customer Service Representative

CTI Computer Telephony Integration

FTE Full Time Equivalent

IS Information Systems

ISDN Integrated Services Digital Network

IT Information Technology

IVR Interactive Voice Response

LAN Local Area Network

PABX Private Automatic Branch Exchange

TCP/IP Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol

WAN Wide Area Network

Computers are used extensively, with most agents having the use of one. A variety of customer service software is utilized, including CRM applications and contact management software.

A recent trend for some businesses is to relocate overseas, usually in a country with lower operating costs. This is called outsourcing, or offshoaring.

In summary, the customer service center can provide an effective way to deal with large numbers of customers. As long as it is managed well, the customer service center is here to stay.

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