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Behind the Calling Scenes in Contact Center Outsourcing

December 01, 2011
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

The contact center outsourcing industry is an interesting one as so much has to happen “behind the scenes” in order for customer calls to be routed and handled appropriately. Whether the outsourcing is simply to a hosted call center in another state in the U.S., or a brick and mortar establishment overseas, the main focus is to ensure customer calls are handled quickly and efficiently.

A recent inContact blog written by Mike Perry offers keen insight into telephony and international telephony, routing calls through multiple carriers, networks and equipment. His job often entails training new employees on these concepts, demonstrating the multiple steps an international call must go through to quickly reach the intended destination within the contact center outsourcing environment.

To simplify, consider this scenario – you live in Cincinnati and your friend Dave lives in Paris. If you make an outbound call to Paris, it originates from your telephone and goes through copper cable to your local telephone carrier – this carrier must be a telephone company or Internet service provider. The local carrier then realizes you’ve dialed an international call and switches that call from their network to a long distance carrier such as Verizon or AT&T (News - Alert).

Also known as an Inter-exchange Carrier, the long distance carrier will carry your call across their network as far as possible and hand off the call to an international carrier to transit the call across the Atlantic. With the technology available today for contact center outsourcing, the carrier is likely to convert that signal carrying your call to a VoIP (Voice over IP) transmission as this process is more efficient.

Once the call reaches France, the international carrier may hand it off to other international carriers. The last carrier to receive the call is likely to convert the signal back into the standard protocol and deliver the call to Dave’s local exchange carrier. This carrier will then deliver the call to Dave’s telephone handset to connect the two of you. The process sounds complicated and gives the impression this connection should take a while to complete. On the contrary, calls are generally completed within seconds, even when calling the contact center outsourcing provider.

Think of it this way – from the time you start to speak into the telephone until Dave hears it on his end, there are up to five different companies, thousands of miles of fiber optic cables – even under the ocean – and dozens of pieces of hardware carrying the transmission of your voice to its destination, all within just a few seconds. As your call is sent through fiber optic cables, your voice is carried at the speed of light. 

When making that call to the contact center outsourcing company in the Philippines, aren’t you glad you don’t see all of this activity happening before you connect with an agent? There is some comfort in knowing the simple number you dial will automatically reach the intended destination.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Chris DiMarco

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