From Call Centre to Contact Centre

As it stands, more than one million people are employed by call centres in the UK.

This is a staggering number considering the industry is relatively young. How did the modern call centre come about and what were the key advancements that made it possible?

The word “call centre” means different things to different people but a good starting point is this: “an office in which large numbers of telephone calls are handled, using computer technology to assist in the management of calls and supply of information, especially one providing the customer services functions of a large organisation.”

The creation of the call centre is naturally linked to the development of the technology which made the large-scale distribution of calls possible. The introduction and increased use of the Public Branch Exchange (PBX) in the 1960’s laid out the basic model of a call centre but it was only with the development of Automatic Call Distributors (ACD) that the framework of the modern call centre started to emerge. ACD systems allow calls to be filtered and assigned to the best possible agents available at the time via an algorithm which determines which agent receives which call.

Large scale call operations became a reality in the 1970’s when PBX’s began to include ACD technology. It was around that time when Rockwell (the automotive engineering company) designed what was probably the first modern ACD of its kind, the Galaxy, to allow Continental Airlines to run a telephone booking system.

The early adopters of this kind of technology were the well-established corporations such as Barclaycard and British Gas who adopted the technology to facilitate access to customer records etc.

The development of the call centre as a significant component to a business supported the creation of companies, such as Rostrvm Solutions, whose main purpose was to manufacture technology to facilitate the call/communication process. It also enabled businesses to be run entirely via the telephone (a precursor to the online business model) such as Direct Line in 1985 and First Direct in 1989. The UK technology industry flourished during this time as UK companies continued to improve upon the early call centre technologies.

rostrvm was established in 1986 within the technology division of royalblue, financial trading applications company, although its inception goes back further to Intercom Data Systems (IDS), which was founded in 1981.

During the 1990s the call centre expanded from an ‘inbound’ customer service focus to incorporate proactive technologies such as the rostrvm predictive dialler. And towards the end of the 20th Century emphasis upon productivity through call centre blending and support tools for call centre agents gained emphasis.

And as we speed through the 21st Century new technologies such as the internet and mobile communication are having an even bigger impact on the call centre, making it more of a ‘contact’ centre and even changing the way people work in the call centre and in the back office. The continued evolution of this industry will always be linked to the development of communication technology, therefore, we can expect to see Rostrvm Solutions continuing to be at the centre of contact innovations.

rostrvm’s history

Rostrvm was established in 1986 as the technology division of royalblue, financial trading applications company, although its inception goes back further to Intercom Data Systems (IDS), which was founded in 1981.

IDS were an independently owned software company, supplying software solutions to the telecommunications, financial and helpdesk industry. A noteworthy innovation by IDS was the Operator Assistance Software (OAS), one of the world’s largest computer supported telephony application at the time. It was used by BT’s Operator Services to deliver a wide range of call handling and information services and crucially, was part of the digital transformation of the PSTN in the UK. The technology under which OAS operated was the precursor to Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) and provided the link between an organisation’s telephony, its information systems and its people. It was essentially the first generation of the rostrvm platform that we see today.

A change of name by IDS to royalblue technologies in 1996, coupled with a new public image saw its CTI platform, rostrvm, quickly emerge as a leading player in the telephony software market. At a time when British software companies were being acquired by American competitors, royalblue stood out in an increasingly US dominated market and to this day, Rostrvm retains the same culture of independence. With its extensive experience and successful track record in supplying software solutions to call centres run by household-name companies and some of the world’s largest telecommunication enterprises, Rostrvm’s heritage in telecommunications is unparalleled.

in 2019 Rostrvm Solutions became an IMImobile company. imimobile provides cloud communications software and services that manage business-critical customer interactions at scale.

Our workforce, some of whom have been with the company for over 25 years, is a credit to our organisation and testament to the company’s history and commitment to the industry. Our continued commitment to technological and commercial innovation led to recognition by global consulting firm Frost & Sullivan and the presentation of an award for “Global Excellence in Technology Innovation”.

Our success is due to unrivalled technical expertise and call centre experience coupled with a dedication to the needs of our customers.

Our rostrvm application suite helps organisations to achieve and exceed business objectives whilst delivering personalised customer service.