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A call centre (Commonwealth spelling) or call center (American spelling; see spelling differences) is a centralised office used for receiving or transmitting a large volume of enquiries by telephone. An inbound call centre is operated by a company to administer incoming product or service support or information enquiries from consumers. Outbound call centres are operated for telemarketing, for solicitation of charitable or political donations, debt collection, market research, emergency notifications, and urgent/critical needs blood banks. A contact centre, further extension to call centres administers centralised handling of individual communications, including letters, faxes, live support software, social media, instant message, and e-mail.
A call center has an open workspace for call center agents, with workstations that include a computer and display for each agent and connected to an inbound/outbound call management system, and one or more supervisor stations. It can be independently operated or networked with additional centers, often linked to a corporate computer network, including mainframes, microcomputer/servers and LANs. Increasingly, the voice and data pathways into the center are linked through a set of new technologies called computer telephony integration.
The contact center is a central point from which all customer contacts are managed. Through contact centers, valuable information about company are routed to appropriate people, contacts to be tracked and data to be gathered. It is generally a part of the company's customer relationship management infrastructure. The majority of large companies use contact centers as a means of managing their customer interactions. These centers can be operated by either an in-house department responsible or outsourcing customer interaction to a third-party agency (known as Outsourcing Call Centres).