Setting up a small call center

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Director

PC LTD

Setting up a small call center
I want to set up a very small call center about 6-10 seats and was just wondering the average cost.

I want it for outbound calls and also want to know how you get billed for the calls?

Any help most appreciated

Dialler Consultant

DiallerConsultant.co.uk

Setting up a small centre
Afternoon Philip,

We specialise in consulting Contact Centres and I can certainly give you some advice about costs, best practice and technologies.

A small contact centre of about 6-10 seats could be relatively inexpensive to set up - but inevitably costs will be directly effected by the technology deployed (is it scalable, fit for purpose etc).

I am head of operations at a contact centre of 8 seats currently, set up back in summer 2007 and running very effectively. Efficient operation of a dialler is key to this success.

Outbound calling presents two options, manual and automated dialling. Manual dialling has its obvious limitations, if you want to generate leads, sales opportunities etc then a dialler is really the only way to go. over 400% increases in productivity are possible when moving from Manual to Automated systems. There are loads out the to choose from so please ask if you need advice.

A 6-10 seat contact centre running an automated dialler will probably require a SQL server, dialogic cards to facilite 15 agents(minimum) with outbound dialing capability(cheapest option), you'll also require an ISDN 30 for telephony. Licences for agent Computer telephony integration software. This type of set up could cost typically £11k for hardware and software.

You'll need to have an account with a telecommunications provider, and most dialler manufacturers recommend their own pefered partners. These will create and account and advise what is the best type of tariff for typical outbound calls - its pretty bespoke.

I can recommend a number of suppliers and give more advice should you need it especially in respect of compliance regulations and dialling obligations.

Best Regards

Director

PC LTD

Call center
Thanks for reply. Would that be 11k with all hardware (computer,phones,headsets etc).?

When you use a predicive dialler are all the numbers already in the dialing software ?

The reason why i ask is because i work for a claims company and they enter the phone numbers of people who have had accidents, where they told us of a questionaire?

I got in touch with BT today and the person informed me all I need is to get 3 broadband lines which will run 6 computer, and he give 3 inbound lines all the it support etc. He said it cost £227.35 for my calls a months which includes to all uk land lines. Mobiles will cost 20p per hour.

And to set up he charge me £99.99 for the first computer then £35.00 for the others.

I thought that sounded to goo!


Dialler Consultant

DiallerConsultant.co.uk

Call Centre
11k is just for telephony, server and software not for the PCs, headsets etc.

Dialler is a big investment even on small scale but provided you have volume and need ROI is possible within 3-6 months.

You'll need to buy data (or source it) and it can be expensive. Its better to use data that is specific to your target market rather than indscriminately dialling.

It sounds like you may generate your own data sources through questionaires so the question of whether a dialler is suitable comes down to volume and need. How many calls do you estimate you'll make a day? Or want to make?

The BT option sounds like it's just for telephone lines, internet access and call costs, not peripherals but that's just a guess at that price.

Director

PC LTD

Call center
When you say 11k for telephony what do you mean, what does that include?

Sorry really new to this.

What are the largest best companies to buy data from?

How do you pay for the dialer is it a one of payment or monthly charge per agent ?

Director

PC LTD

call center
I want to make 300 calls per agent a day.

Director

PC LTD

call center
Thx for help I really appreciate. I use Touchstar where work now is one of the best dialers.?

Dialler Consultant

DiallerConsultant.co.uk

Call Centre
11k for telephony breaks down into a 30 ISDN bundle, combined SQL server and dialling engine - Alliance I4000, D300 and DISI16 Dialogic cards, addition software and peripherals. You'll need to purchase seperately agent licences to use software, PCs and peripherals (mouse, keyboard), suitable desk telephones dependant on set up etc.

Charges for dialler are bespoke often and will be discussed with vendor, there are solutions available where it is possible to pay monthly, up front or even to have a hosted solution where you rent agent seats and you never actually own or buy outright any hardware. Your individual situation will lend itself more to one option than any other.

Buying data is a mine-field - it's much better to go off recommendation rather than buy from an internet source since you never know the quality until after you've dialled it. Checking against TPS is essential for outbound residential dialling in order to be compliant and you can buy data that is checked or do it yourself - prices are comparable.

With 300 calls per agent per day I think a dialler certainly is the best option. My agents average 300 dials a day on a very productive system so its a great target to have. Best contact rates on decent data could be 50% opportunities to sell and 20% conversion to sale.

Touchstar is a great system but by no means the only option available. Shop around for the best prices and try to get in to see an operation in full flow around the size you're looking at creating who are using your shortlisted best predictive diallers.

Make sure you consider price against scalability, ease of use, support and maintenance, multimedia capability and future proofing.

It is certainly true that generating business by outbound cold calling does not reap the same rewards as it used to. Contact Centres need to be clever now, work smarter not harder with tools such as SMS broadcasting, email and telephone contact options and 24/7 interaction through IVR and also website integration.


Director

PC LTD

Call center
thx for reply.

Could you plz give me a breakdown of exactly what all of these do

30 ISDN bundle, combined SQL server and dialling engine - Alliance I4000, D300 and DISI16 Dialogic cards, addition software and peripherals.

Do you need these for both manuel and automated dialing?


Dialler Consultant

DiallerConsultant.co.uk

Call Centre
Hi Philip,

They breakdown as follows and are only for automated dialling not manual dials - it would be very hard to achieve 300 dials a day manually:

30 ISDN Line Bundle are the digital lines necessary to make the calls on.
SQL Server and dialling engine is the heart of the solution, its the bit that makes automatic dialling possible, also call queuing, routing and distributing to agents. the SQL server stores all of the customers data and history of call records etc. An Alliance I4000 is a typical option.
D300 and DISI16 are the dialogic cards used inside the engine - they basically make the calls possible (inbound and outbound)

These are by no means the only options available, but its the set up I have here for a similar size centre.

Director

PC LTD

call center
What else would I need then pcs,headsets,desks,phones.

What additional cost would you say for these ?

When you say 11k is that set up or just materials?

Can you give me some data sources off the net as I dont have anyone to reccomend them to me yet and just want to read up on averages prices etc

Director

PC LTD

small call center
I could get the 30 ISDN lone bundle for £1795.00

http://global-telecom.co.uk/isdn30-installation.htm


And the SQL server for £250.00

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Microsoft-SQL-Server-2005-Standard-Edition-5-C-L_W0QQitemZ230226177342QQihZ013QQcategoryZ3773QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Is that two of the things I need what are on the links?

I am not by all means trying to do it cheap and nasty just trying to learn.

WFM & Business Telephony Manager

Healthcare Insurance

Be very very careful
Buying software off of E-Bay.

You have no way of initially checking it's genuine.

Let's face it, if Hewlett Packard can install hookey
software by 'accident' what chance does the small business stand.

I am by no means a lover of Microshaft. I thnik
most of thier products are DRM intensive bloatware.

However, what they'll do to small businesses in the name of
protecting their profits is not nice and if SQLSwerver is
what you need check it's the real thing.

As a great proponent of open source how about having a look at
something like MY SQL

And there's also Open source diallers available.

Check This thread


Oh and at least look at the Penguin!

Linux UK

You've a new setup does it need to be M$?
Think of the licence fees you'll save?

DaveA




Director

PC LTD

call center
Thx for that reply is really helped.

Can someone give me a breakdown of the price of the telephony equipment and tell me good places to buy from ?

Director

Inside Track Media Ltd

Data sources
Many suppliers specialise in residential only or business to business only. In either, the best results come from making data selections to reflect targeting (you can have different approaches from different suppliers which relate to how the data has been compiled) from lists whose accuracy and recency are verifiable / guaranteed. Suppliers' charges vary according to the intended frequency of use and how you would like to have the data enhanced (telephone nos. only won't necessarily be made available). Happy to chat through the principles.

Planning

Outsourcing

Stephen.
After agent shrinkages you will be expecting your agents to handle c60 calls per hour (300 per daqy from your post)which is achievable if your product is not very good (customers will just cut you dead) but if you have something worth selling then I would suggest you will achieve c 10 to 15 calls per productive hour. On this basis, if your business plan has been based on 8 seats then you will need to revisit this as it is likely you will need closer to 30.

Dialler Consultant

DiallerConsultant.co.uk

FAO Steve Helm
Hi Steve,

Not sure if that was intended for me since I have been offering advice to Philip not seeking it through my posts. 300 dials a day is not the same as 300 connects per day when one considers answer machines and DMNAs. Your estimate of 60 calls per hour is based on a short working day, my agents work an 8 hour day so that averages them at 40 calls per hour which are blended in/outbound combined figures. With a lead time of at the most 6 mins the conversions are greater than industry averages for our vertical market.

The quality of the product is not the issue, and we haven't discussed product, is it possible to run an outbound operation with an agent target of 10 to 15 calls per hour (productive)? that insinuates a lead time of 4 mins with no wait time between calls or any time for administration error or wrap?

Planning

Outsourcing

Stephen.
Sorry my reply was for Phillip.
He did say he wants each agent to make 300 calls per day, I have taken this literally.

Your calculations are flawed if your are expecting a productive hour return of 40 calls per hour. You may pay them for eight but I doubt if they work 8. when allowing for all the usual shrinkages it will be more like 5.5 to 6 hours per day worked.
If you are equating attempts per agent hour then this is also flawed as it is the dialler doing the work and bears no relation to the actaul calls being dealt with.
My expectation of 15 calls per hour is from personal experience of working with a very efficient and cost effective outbound dialling operation for a large home shopping organisation of 500 seats split over 4 different locations making c12 million calls pa..

Dialler Consultant

DiallerConsultant.co.uk

Steve
No problem Steve,

It would appear that your levels of achievable productive calls per hour are not the norm for a average outbound telemarketing business.

I cannot see how it is possible to achieve 10-15 productive calls per hour, this would mean you have an unusually high conversion rate (if indeed your definition of preoductive is a call that has resulted in an successful outcome)

HOWEVER this obviously will depend on the industry you are in, your data sources, your customers profile (subscribers or cold customers)and your product offering so it's impossible to say whether one contact centres estimate for calls per hour is better than anothers, more realistic or certainly flawed!

40 Connects per dialling hour will not present 40 opportunities to sell, maybe 50%, and from this what is a realsitic conversion rate? Some industries would expect 10%. That equates to only 2 sales per hour from 20 opportunities (you might refer to these as productive calls). My agents currently achieve these conversion rates and better.

Director

PC LTD

call canter
Can anyone give me a breakdown in costs of what materials I need so I know how much on average each piece of equipment is. Then I can do my own research and compare.

Thanks

Planning

Outsourcing

Philip
I would employ a good consultant if I were you.

Director

PC LTD

Call center
I can see why your saying that lol. I wrote that last reply wrong. I am good on the phones and with computer. Dont have a clue about setting up a call center and I am going to get someone else to do it. I know what you need now to set up the call center on this setup. I was just wondering the costs of each items. I am no expert but surely like everything else cost vary from different suppliers?

Director

PC LTD

Call center
Ok so could I get

30 ISDN Line Bundle

SQL Server (Linux UK) and dialling engine (Asterix)

D300 and DISI16

I am just trying to understand. I dont understand about call center equipment a when i ask saying D300 is Jargon lol

Dialler Consultant

DiallerConsultant.co.uk

Jargon
Hi Philip,

I think the difficulty in what you are asking is that giving you a list of equipment you'll need is dependant on so many factors - if you want to set up a call centre then you'll need an in depth discussion with a consultant or an equipment vendor such as the one's I suggested. I can give you a list of part names like a D300 or DISI16 which are dialogic cards and an explanation of what they do, but buying them seperately and trying to install and set them up yourself is nigh on impossible with no experience. Equipment vendors will spec a complete solution for you and install it, configure it and test it for you. You will need to source your own PCs and furniture etc but that's not hard to do.

There are a million permutations of equipment from the simple to the complex, and you have to bear in mind that when you have all this equipment do you have the expertise to make it work for you.

Going down the automtaed dialler route from start up is a big ask and you'll need lots of suuport, much more so than you could get in these posts. Maybe to begin with you could start off with a manual dialling scenario until you have an idea of where you want to take it? This way all you will need is a set of fixed digital lines from a telecoms provider on a suitable tariff, a room and a few PCs with basic windows software. The rest is up to you and your agents, this is how most outbound call centres start life and it'll certainly allow you to generate revenue before investing heavily in an automated soltuion that in all honesty might not be the best solution.

Good luck with it all though and please ask me anything you need advice on.


Telemarketing Manager

CCT

Call Centre
Hi Phillip, you need to make sure you are speaking to the right people.

There are many deferent type of diallers and most are not designed to operate at 6 seats. I would guess that day 1 you would be operating at less than 6 agents which would mean that even a dialler that did work would not give you the productivity your looking for and your projection of 300 calls a day per agent would be unachievable.

If you are operating at 6-10 seats and above then you can look at some cost effective dialling solutions which are hosted, this means that the owner of the technology rents the capacity to dial outbound from their peace of equipment over the internet. Some people who could offer this include the likes of

www.opaltelecom.co.uk or www.continum.co.uk

Neither are business partners of CCT, just people who supply cost effective solutions.

I would recommend that you call Darryl who runs this site and is a consultant.

It will cost you money but save money in the long run.

Mobile: 07958 959141

Email: darryl@darrylbeckford.co.uk

Hope this helps.

Jason

CCT specialises in the design and support of complex business communications solutions. CCT has twice won 'Call Centre Solution of the Year' and are previous winners of the 'Best After Sales Support in EMEA' award. CCT is proud to be a business partner of two of the world's leading communication specialists - Avaya and Cisco Systems.

Director

PC LTD

call center
Thanks very much guys you have been very helpful. I did not imagine it was very difficult to set up a small call center on a predictive dialer and its probably not if you got the right support.

Contact Centre / CRM Architect

Quick Contact Centre Ltd

Other options
For such a small center it might be worth looking at some of the hosted solutions where all the equipment and systems are "in the cload" This avoids capital expenditure and allows you to rent functionality on a per agent per month basis.

Director

PC LTD

call center
That makes alot of sense and makes it alot easier. Are there any good companies anyone can recommend.

Contact Centre / CRM Architect

Quick Contact Centre Ltd

Not an add. He did ask.
"That makes alot of sense and makes it alot easier. Are there any good companies anyone can recommend."

BT on demand NGCC
http://www.btglobalservices.com/business/global/en/products/ngcc/index.html

or Five9
http://www.five9.com/

There are others depending on your needs. A good consultant would help you make the most cost effective choice.

PM me or call Darryl for a quote.

Director

PC LTD

Call center
Got in touch with Touchstar and they want 25k and Amcat 40k. I went on some other site and someone would set me up and charge me $70 per agent. Is there anyone like that in the UK.?

Director

PC LTD

call center
I have currently rented a office a put 10 new PC's in there with desk. I need to set up a call center now and I have been advised on VOIP. I know you need a internet connection and voip phones, but is there anything else i should be looking at. I am very new to voip. I believe you can pay ppl rent on yours agents and then you get all your calls for free. Any input on this appreciated.

Sales

Hostcomm

Call centre
Hi Phil,
Sorry I'm late to this thread but it looks like you have eventually been steered in the right direction, ie VOIP. If you want to pay on a per agent per month basis then you are looking at a hosted solution. If you are looking at 6-10 agents concurrently on outbound calls, a single ADSL connection might not be sufficient (each call uses about 100K uncompressed which is what you want for a call centre) as at best you will get 800K upstream. SDSL may be more cost effective.
To answer your question, yes there is a good company in the UK that does what your US website suggested - www.hostcomm.co.uk.
Adding the dialer is possible but adds setup costs that wouldn't be associated with the rest of the hosted solution. I hope this helps.

Business Dev Officer

Kenkarench Nigeria Ltd

Setting up a new call centre(Inbound and outbound)

I just graduated from college and have my own company. We want to build an inbound call centerof about 30 agents. What are the parameters I should take into account to calculate the total cost of a call center? I am resident in Nigeria and intend to lease this call centre to a GSM company. Please cud someone help me break what and what it entails, if possible, in a proposal format with costing and equipment. Thanks very much.

Keneobosi

Business Dev Officer

Kenkarench Nigeria Ltd

call centre
Guys help me out here. Just some thots on what to do.

Call center setup
Hi I want to setup 1 seater blended call center please guide me and provide me the estimated cost for the same

Editor

Call Centre Helper

For a one seater contact centre you do not need any special equipment
For a one seater contact centre you do not need any special equipment - just a phone line, and email account and some chat software and some call monitoring would be fine.

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