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The history of the Call Center OR The Call Center is History

Blast from The Past

When we think of the 1950s, sock hops, drive-ins, poodle skirts, and gelatin molds immediately jump to the forefront of our minds. Most of these romanticized memories defining the decade have simply become artifacts of the past. However, one fad that originated with the dawn of beatniks and conical bras has somehow stood the test of time… until now.

You Used to Call Me On My Home Phone

The seed for the call center was planted in the 1950s; at the time, it was simply housewives selling their baked goods to friends by means of their home telephones. Soon thereafter, the housewives’ tactics began to surface on a commercial level, eventually transitioning into the mainstream sale of modern goods and services. In the 1960s, large corporations began implementing this mainstream process, dedicating entire departments to answering customer phone calls – thus the original call center was born. Not too long after institutionalizing call centers, businesses reached their breaking points; there was an obvious need for innovation.

Press the Pound Key to Speak to a Representative

Technologist replied to these businesses demands developing touch-tone dialing in 1962 and toll-free 1-800 numbers in 1967. These innovations enabled organizations to ramp up their business, to the point that their employees were able to take inbound and make outbound calls. To manage these ongoing and unpredictable activities, companies installed new technology, such as Interactive Voice Response (1970s) and implemented models, such as automated robots, to streamline the call process. The high demand for these technologies and models drove their costs exponentially due to the immediacy of the need and of course the fear of missing out (FOMO).

Don’t Call Me Maybe

Almost two decades later, the 1990s, companies began to outsource their contact center organizations to countries like India, where the costs per agent were cheaper. This resulted in an influx of inbound and outbound phone calls to the point that the government had to step in to regulate the activity. The government created and enforced laws that restricted call centers with regards to scheduling phone calls, honoring the National Do Not Call Registry, and eliminating pre-recorded sales messages. Around the same time these regulations were implemented, the internet made its debut into everyday life. These simultaneous occurrences once again pushed the call center community to a breaking point.

Hanging on the Telephone

The community responded with a new era, the era we recognize today, of consumer contact connection. Fueled by consumers’ desires for self-help and convenience, consumer contact connection solutions now leverage email, live chat, and social media platforms. Regardless of the face that many call centers employ these self-help and convenience based tools, we continue to associate the call center with a dauntingly long phone conversion or an outsourced agent who doesn’t seem to quite understand our needs, yielding an unwanted result.

Times are A-Changing

Fortunately, our collective perceptions aren’t entirely accurate. Times have changed, and Social Selling is upon us. We sit in a time where organic and inorganic methods of selling are not only effective but also necessary.


History of the Call Center

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Originally posted 2017-01-01 14:36:05.

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