The History of Call Centers


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Over the years I have had the opportunity to speak at many ICMI events.  In 2003 I passed the process to become a Certified Associate (it was pretty intense!).  I have always felt honored to be a part of the ICMI team and have taught their premier workshop, Essential Skills and Knowledge, around the world.

The organization just celebrated their 25th Anniversary.  If you have been around call centers as long as I have, you probably remember the huge trade shows from the past and perhaps attended a class taught by the Gordon McPherson (the guy that is credited with giving us the term “call center”).  To celebrate the history of the organization, the former President, Brad Cleveland recently sat down for an interview.  While it is a look at the history of the ICMI organization, is it also, in my opinion, a priceless look into the history of the call center industry.

I love to tell people that I started working in call centers before they were called call centers.  My first call center job was in a “phone room.”  We had 10-key brown phones with the headset hanging on the side.  The ACD was nothing more than a blinking light indicating that a call was on hold.  In the video, Brad will take you back to those days and bring you forward to the technology of the future.  The video is about 10 minutes long but I think it will be worth your time.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bob Furniss
Bob Furniss' career has focused on improving customer experiences. As the Director of Bluewolf's Service Cloud practice, Bob leads a team of consultants who works with clients in three key areas: Salesforce Service Cloud strategy/implementation; Social Media strategy and implementation in the contact center; and creating vision blueprints to help companies set a new course for their contact centers in the areas of people and technology. Follow him on Twitter


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