Easy Call Center Setup With These 3 Steps!
Setting up a call center for your business is an investment of both time and money. In order to navigate this opportunity as smoothly as possible, we have created a guide to help you start off on the right foot. This guide will be useful regardless of the type of call center you’re looking to set up (inbound or outbound, sales or support). Some points may apply to some situations more than others, but the advice will be geared towards helping you with a call center setup of any type.
1. Make a Plan for Your Call Center Setup
Building a call center the right way requires a bit of planning. Before you begin your call center setup, there are a few questions and choices to consider. Take some time to strategize to avoid doing damage control down the line:
Set a budget
Before you make any decisions, you need to have a clear idea of the funds at your disposal for your call center setup. Your available funds will pare down your options in terms of your tools and your team. Outbound call centers will generate revenue in the form of leads and sales, but inbound call centers have a more vague connection between operation and profit. You need to remember that even if your call center doesn’t bring in revenue itself (if it provides customer support, for instance), it will hopefully improve your customers’ experiences, boost customer retention, and inflate your bottom line. If you are careful and savvy during the initial setup of your call center, you can make a phone an invaluable tool for your customers’ satisfaction and business growth.
Virtual or onsite?
The first thing you must decide is whether your call center will operate virtually or will be manned within an infrastructure. An onsite call center means that your business will be responsible for choosing, setting up, configuring, and maintaining the hardware and the software necessary for your operation. Nowadays, this typically means using VoIP software through an IP PBX. Implementation can be costly and slow, and upkeep requires office space, upfront funds, and a knowledgeable team. A virtual call center lets your business hit the ground running more easily and quickly. The hardware and infrastructure is the responsibility of your service provider, so all you need to do is install the software and have a reliable internet connection. This saves on upfront costs and office space for your business. Also, adding and removing users is a breeze. Additionally, a virtual call center allows your team to work remotely. This means longer opening hours over several time zones if needed.
Establish goals and define KPIs
Define the objectives of your call center early on. Your Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, will depend on your focus (cold calling, lead generation, customer support, etc.). KPIs are quantitative measures by which you can determine your call center’s efficiency, speed, and quality of service. They will give you an idea of the performance of individual agents and of your team as a whole, thus allowing you to make data-driven decisions to improve customer satisfaction and increase revenue. Rather than attempting to monitor every possible KPI, select a few that are truly relevant to your goals and corporate strategy. Pick KPIs which reflect areas requiring excellence or improvement, and continuously review them for progression.
2. Pick the Right Tools for Your Call Center Setup
In order to perform to the best of its ability, your call center needs to have the proper tools at its disposal. Here is a brief outline of what to plan for when choosing the tools for your company’s toolbox.
Business phone system
To build a call center, you’ll need a phone system. This is the most important tool in your box. You’ll have to consider the site of your business, the size of your team, the strength of your internet connection, and your potential for expansion. Pick a scalable solution that is as easy to implement and outfitted with the features you require.
Performance monitoring software
If you want to adequately track your call center’s performance on the phone, you’ll need to invest in monitoring software. In order to devise a monitoring strategy for your team, opt for a program which will allow you to record the calls you need and measure the metrics you consider important.
Your Customer Relationship Management software is the hub around which your client interaction is structured. CRM solutions are crucially important to managers looking to build a call center, especially because it will assist you in streamlining your sales process and accompanying your customers along their journey. Pick a CRM solution that can handle your objectives, your team’s habits, and your customer’s needs.
If your call center handles inbound support calls, you’ll need to keep track of every customer’s interactions with your team. The right help desk software will help you find a balance between self-service tools for your customers and a comprehensive interface so that your team can be more efficient and reactive.
Your team will need a way to communicate with one another so as to conserve both time and effort and work collaboratively. Pick an internal communication source or software that best supports your activity. Don’t neglect your remote agents, if they exist. Virtual agents have many advantages for employers, but they require the proper tools in order to be productive and fully mesh with the rest of your team.
3. Recruit a Team to Help With Your Call Center Setup
Last, but certainly not least, your call center will need agents to man its stations. Your team should be at the center of your organization.
Crunch the numbers
From the outset, you need to determine how many agents your call center needs to function efficiently. This will help you budget for space and resources. Estimate the call volume you’ll be fielding, and the eventual addition of alternative services, such as email or live chat. For the purpose of estimating the size of your team and your volume of calls, it’s possible to enlist the services of an outside consultant. Don’t forget to factor in your growth to the equation. As your call center contributes to your bottom line, your business and customer base will hopefully grow, and your call center itself will need to expand. This will affect your needs in terms of office space and material resources. This is where the possibility of hiring virtual agents becomes especially attractive.
Initiate a recruitment process
Traditional call centers have a deserved reputation for high employee turnover. Even though it’s usually a long and painstaking process to train new recruits, it makes good sense to have a selective recruitment process in order to hire people with the potential for long-term employment. If your company selects its employees conscientiously, then it will be easier to create a company culture that suits customers and team members equally well. Employees who feel empowered and at ease will be less likely to churn. The same is true for the customers those employees will handle.
Make training a real asset
On-boarding your new recruits should be an opportunity to empower them and give them the tools to succeed. It’s important to make sure your agents are familiar with their objectives as well as with your product or service. Your team should also be able to use the tools at their disposal to become more independent and productive. Don’t hesitate to switch things around at first – involving your team in the training period is key. Ask for feedback on how to improve, and keep the feedback loop going.
Monitoring should give your agents both the incentive to improve and give management ideas on how to empower their team. Continuous, real-time monitoring will inspire ideas for the content of regular training sessions. These sessions should be ongoing so that your process keeps getting better as your team reaches its objectives.