Photo by Petr Macháček on Unsplash
Businesses large and small need a dedicated crew to handle their phone calls. Though some opt to hire a team of individuals in house to manage customer communications, many prefer to outsource their needs to a call center. This is because smart business owners know that relying on a call center improves productivity and streamlines processes, while also saving time and money.
A call center can either be virtual or a brick-and-mortar establishment. Either way, it specializes in answering inbound calls and making outbound ones.
From pitching new products and services to troubleshooting and answering questions, the day-to-day calls to and from customers need to be managed with care. That’s where call centers come in. Your business would serve as the go-between for your clients (the companies that hire you) and their customers.
However, to provide efficient services, you’ll need to decide on a few things first.
Company Setup for a Call Center
The first thing to consider is how you’re going to set up your call center. Are you going to work from a physical location? This is ideal if you prefer to have your employees all in the same location.
Keep in mind, however, it can be more costly to run this type of call center. This is because you’ll need to pay for a commercial property, utilities, office equipment, and other overhead costs.
Another option would be to start a virtual call center. You can set up a virtual call center exclusively online. Moreover, when you choose this option, you will be able to hire workers from virtually anywhere. What’s more, it costs a lot less to operate.
On the other hand, managing a remote workforce comes with its own disadvantages.
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Focus and Niche
What is the focus of your call center? For example, are you going to focus on outbound calling where agents contact customers and make cold calls to try and boost your clients’ sales?
Alternatively, would you prefer to focus on inbound calls? In this case, you would help customers with things like account management, orders, instructions, questions, and concerns.
Also, you’ll want to narrow down your niche for marketing purposes. For instance, which industry are you best equipped to service? If you’re not sure, consider your own personal and professional experience. Are you good with tech? Accounting? Law? Medical?
Hiring a Team
You’ll need a sizeable team on deck if you’re going to be an efficient call center. Therefore, the next thing to consider is who you will hire.
You’ll want to hire individuals who have experience in the industry or niche you’ve chosen to service. They should also have some basic professional experience with customer service and business communication systems.
To find the right people, place ads online. Then, screen possible candidates using a series of questions, along with personality or aptitude tests. Eventually, you will find applicants you believe are best suited for the job.
Next, schedule interviews, either in person or online, to narrow your options. After hiring the ideal team, you’ll need to develop an on-boarding and training process.
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Ideally, this process will get your team acclimated with the various systems, software, and processes you’ll be using to operate the call center.
Software and Tools
In order to effectively manage your clients, team, and phone calls, you’ll need to invest in certain tools and software. For example, if you’re an inbound call center, you’ll need call center software. Moreover, be sure to choose software that allows agents to make and receive phone calls, take notes, transfer calls, and record analytics. These tools will help to improve communications, sales, and conversion rates.
You’ll also need a customer relationship management system (CRM) that allows you to access customer accounts and data. Virtual call centers will also need an efficient way to manage their employees’ time. For example, time tracking software allows remote workers to easily log in and record the hours they’re working. Other types of software and tools you might want would be file management software and free or affordable tools for marketing.
Speaking of marketing, if you’re going to get your call center up and running you’re going to have to let people know you’re open for business.
There are various elements to marketing that you will need to consider for developing your brand. For starters, you’ll need a company website that provides a list of services and other important information about your brand.
You’ll also need to develop a strong web presence. To do this, connect with potential clients through social media, blogs, and other digital media.
Lastly, you should also incorporate traditional marketing methods for your call center. These can include business cards, flyers, and postcards. Also, attend networking events, hand out promotional products, and develop a strong physical presence.
Implement These Elements for a Successful Call Center
Making outbound calls and receiving inbound calls is a major part of any business’s operation. To ensure they are making sales and their customers are satisfied, companies often look to reliable call centers to handle these tasks. To be successful in an industry such as this, you’ll need to ensure that you’ve implemented the above-mentioned elements.