The first challenge would be the decision to accept this Islamic Call Centre project, explore its feasibility and utility and implement within a fixed period of time. The next thing would be to examine the legal requirements in setting up such a Call Centre and create the required Trusts or Boards who will become owners of this project. Cost estimation and financial requirements for set-up and running would have to be calculated. The technical part of setting up the Centre and deploying required infrastructure can be handled by consultants and specialists. The job of content creation and human resources mobilisation and training of staff should however be managed by the owners of the Centre and will require those with Islamic background. Once the Centre is established, teething problems and day to day operational issues will certainly crop up and can be handled only with skill and experience. The Islamic Call Centre will certainly be a shot in the arm for Islamic Dawah. Are the ‘Daees’ ready to pick up the gauntlet?
Islamic Call Centre
“As Salam alaykum and welcome to the Islamic Call Centre. To continue in English, please press 1. To continue in Hindi, please press 2. To find out more about Islam and its teachings please press 1. To listen to the Qur’an and its translation, please press 2. To listen to the biography of the Prophet…
“As Salam alaykum and welcome to the Islamic Call Centre. To continue in English, please press 1. To continue in Hindi, please press 2. To find out more about Islam and its teachings please press 1. To listen to the Qur’an and its translation, please press 2. To listen to the biography of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be with him) please press 3. To talk to any of our representatives about any issue related to Islam please press 4.”
Yes, this is how people who call Toll Free number 800-ISLAM will be greeted by the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) of an Islamic Call Centre.
WHAT IS A CALL CENTRE?
A call centre is a centralised office used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting a large volume of information through the telephone. A call centre is used to offer customer service, technical support or process general information inquiries from consumers. Outgoing calls can be made for telemarketing and debt collection. In addition to interaction through the telephone a call centre also does collective handling of letters, faxes, and e-mails at one location and is then known as a contact centre. A call centre is often housed in a big and open workspace for call centre agents who are seated with work stations that include a computer for each agent, a telephone set/headset connected to a telecom switch, and one or more supervisor stations.
BENEFITS OF A CALL CENTRE
Convenient customers access to the services required by providing an information centre that works 24X7 and 365 days of the year. There is improved efficiency in handling customer queries and facility to provide online solutions resulting in a high level of customer satisfaction. It is very easy to monitor performance staff and structure of call handling procedures.
SOME TECHNICAL TERMINOLOGIES
KPIs (Key Performance Indices): targeted pre-defined range of values for performance evaluation.
IVR (Interactive Voice Response): this is a phone technology that allows a computer to detect voice and touch tones using a normal phone call. The IVR system can respond with pre-recorded or dynamically generated audio to further direct callers on how to proceed.
Service Level: this is the percentage of answered calls in a certain amount of time. One of the common Service Level targets is to answer 80 per cent of all incoming calls in the first 20 seconds. This is key KPI for any call centre and the efficiency of any call centre is judged by its service level.
AHT (Average Handling Time): this is the average time an agent takes to handle a call. It is the duty of management to monitor the AHT of staff and try to reduce it as far as possible without compromising on the quality of the call.
Dropped Calls: are those calls in which the customer has dialled the call centre but hung up after being put on hold because all the agents were busy serving other customers. Service Level and Dropped Calls have an inversely proportional relationship.
THE NEED FOR AN ISLAMIC CALL CENTRE
The Qur’an (41:33) says “Who is better in speech than one who calls (men) to Allah, works righteousness and says “I am of those who bow in Islam”? The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be with him) adopted the most popular and customary methods to address his people by climbing up the Mount As-Safa and shouting ‘Ya Sabahah Ya Sabahah”. The Muslim Ummah has now the onerous responsibility to spread the message of Islam to the entire humanity. To do so they must adopt the latest methodologies and processes that technology has to offer and ensure its maximum utilisation for the benefit of Islam.
OBJECTIVES OF THE ISLAMIC CALL CENTRE
To act as a 24X7 Information Bureau for Islam
To provide in-depth information about all aspects and facets of Islam
To dispel the myths and misgivings spread against Islam
To promote dialogue and human interaction with those desirous of seriously pondering on the message of Islam
To popularize and promote the message of Quran
To create awareness about the exemplary life of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be with him)
KEY POINTS FOR ITS ESTABLISHMENT
Language: To begin with, any Islamic Call Centre can start with one or two languages. The number of languages can be increased later if resources permit.
Content Management: All the relevant information that will be broadcast must be prepared in audio and text and in that language. Some of the content will be of a changing nature and may require regular updates.
Human Resources: this will be the most difficult and crucial part as the staff handling calls must be experts in both communication skills as well as Islamic knowledge. Moreover staff training will have to be done by Specialists in Call Centre Management as well as Islamic Dawah.
Technical Preparation: this involves the selection of premises, infrastructure set-up, deciding the number of lines to operate at a time, Call Centre Software installation and management, etc.
Finance Management: the Islamic Call Centre will involve both set-up and running costs which will be a challenge to anyone taking up this project.
CHALLENGES AND THE ROAD AHEAD