Is Your Small Business Call Center Ready?

When you’re setting up your small business call center, it can sometimes feel like you’re trying to put together a thousand-piece puzzle without a picture to guide you. If you’re missing important pieces of that puzzle, getting a correct final product in a timely fashion can seem an impossible task!

To make the process easier, here are a few of the most important pieces to have in place as you start planning for your small business call center:

1. Find the Right People for your Small Business Call Center

You can have all the right products or services, the most ergonomic furniture, and the best scheduling system on the planet. But if you don’t have the right people in place, it’s all for naught. When you hire for a small business call center, ensure that your candidates have not only the right skills and experience but also the right personalities that will reflect well on your business.

Scott Resnick, author of Today’s Telecom Blog, says, “Personality tests that focus on the candidate’s answer to real-world customer service scenarios can give you more information about whether the candidate has the personality traits to diffuse tense situations.”

If you’re struggling to find good options in your immediate vicinity, consider the option of hiring remote agents. When you use the right small business call center technology, your agents can be located virtually anywhere in the world!

“…with the option to select from any agent just about anywhere, the opportunity to grab the most professional and well-suited agents skyrockets. Many agents that work remotely will also be familiar with the industry and general practices, and may require even less training,” says Matt Grech, The Complete Guide To Managing Remote Call Center Agents.

2. Have (and Set!) Realistic Expectations

Once you have a team of stellar candidates under consideration, be honest with them before offering them the job. One of the leading causes of employee attrition is a lack of understanding of exactly what they’re walking into. Allow them to be fully aware of how challenging, tedious, and trying their mission can be, should they choose to accept it.

While a small business call center postures you for significant sales increases, improved customer relations, and valuable growth, it can also present a number of common stressors for your agents, including:

  • Working long hours
  • Shifting schedules
  • Massive volumes of tasks
  • Repetitious customer service work
  • High pressure to consistently perform well

“If you want to keep your rank-and-file customer-contact people longer, if you want to improve employee engagement, and ramp up the quality of the customer experience as well, then one of the best courses of action you can take is simply to paint a more realistic picture of how tough the customer-contact job is likely to be, from the very beginning,” says Don Peppers, author of the article, A Surprising Way to Reduce Worker Attrition.

3. Provide Effective Training for Quality Customer Service

Research shows that nearly 70% of customers are willing to immediately abandon a business if they receive poor service over the phone. Thus, being prepared to empower your small business call center agents with the training necessary to succeed will be one of the most valuable pieces of the call center set-up puzzle long-term. When you hire the right people with the right strengths and personalities and they are prepared for what they’ll face on the road ahead, then you can arm them with the skills they need to grow and keep your customer base.

According to the 2014 American Express Customer Service Barometer, 99 percent of consumers surveyed reported that receiving a satisfactory answer or being connected to someone knowledgeable enough to help (98 percent) are the important prerequisites for feeling they’ve had a great customer experience. Once these essentials are met, personalization (89 percent) and appreciation (80 percent) were the next highest indicators of a job well done.

Tricia Morris, who shares her insights through Business 2 Community, agrees with these findings, saying, “All of the above require knowledge on the customer service agent’s (internal customer’s) part, whether its product or service related or contextual knowledge which gives the agent the information they need to both personalize the customer experience and thank the customer (for X years of loyalty, the recent feedback, the purchase of a new product, etc.).”

In order for you to keep abreast of the quality of customer service that your agents are supplying on a regular basis, leverage the technological advances that make it easier to measure and optimize virtually every facet of every call.

Use the Right Technology for the Job

Remember that overwhelming feeling of trying to assemble a puzzle without any kind of guide? Setting up a small business call center does not have to be like that! When you incorporate the right technology into your business, it can not only provide you with easy physical systems’ set-ups but also gives you access to a  “been-there, built-that” team of pros who can support your efforts and answer your questions.

Your first step towards making your small business call center ready is to connect with Call Logic, today!

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