Although the first on-site call center was reportedly introduced in the 1960’s, the first call center operators actually consisted of housewives who worked out of their homes in the 1950s. In an attempt to bring more money into the household, these ladies would use their phones to try and sell baked goods to friends and neighbors.
The centralized call center wasn’t officially introduced to commercial businesses until the 1970s, after the introduction of the toll-free “1-800” phone number. This made it easy and affordable for consumers to respond to advertisements and this demand resulted in the position of the call center agent being formed. These call center agents would not only accept inbound calls, but they would also make outgoing marketing calls, at least until the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 was passed. This law restricted the activity of call center agents and it placed a limit on when marketing calls could be made. In addition to other industry changes, the law also formed the National Do Not Call Registry, which marketers were made liable to abide by.
How Technology Helped Shape the Industry
Technology has had a major impact on how people communicated and how call centers operated through the years. During the 1980s, pagers were commonly used among business and healthcare professionals for transmitting information instead of having conversations over the phone. This helped streamline operations and improve efficiency, especially because pagers could receive the information virtually anywhere.
Then, in the late 80s, computers started gaining in popularity and alpha-numerical paging soon become the preferred means of message delivery. Unlike the original pagers, which could only display numbers, this new technology allowed pagers to display both letters and numbers so the information sent could be much more precise and easier to understand.
By the 1990’s the introduction of cell phones and the growing popularity of the Internet would start phasing out pagers, replacing them with instant text messages and emails. Also during this time, the first outsourced call centers were starting to meet the needs of their clients.
The Growth of the Virtual Call Center
Eventually, entrepreneurs started noticing that not every company that needed a dedicated call center had one. This was an opportunity to fill an all-important need. Soon after, there were several third party companies offering off-site answering services for companies that needed them. This started the virtual call center revolution. With this new option, companies were able to cut costs since they no longer had to pay for equipment, maintenance, and training while still providing their customers with the advanced call answering solutions they needed.
Today, virtual answering services serve a broad range of industries because they are able to customize their services to each client’s unique protocol and preferences. A modern virtual answering service can be anything you need it be, including a help desk, a receptionist, an appointment scheduler, a sales processer, a lead generator, and so much more.
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At CallNET, we utilize the latest in technology in the answering service industry and our operators continually receive ongoing training so they can deliver the most dependable and professional services possible. CallNET goes the extra mile to ensure you are fully satisfied with our performance.
To learn more about CallNET’s exclusive “best rate guarantee” or to start your own free trial, call us today at 1-800-395-2612.