Celia Cerdeira at Talkdesk explores how to set up a call centre.
Oh the joys of entrepreneurship! The hard work paid off and you’ve created a very successful business.
However, the success is bittersweet: the business grew so much that you are having trouble caring for all the customers that you’ve worked so hard to get. In fact, you’re even losing some of them. Let me tell you this big problem has a really easy solution: set up a call centre to manage your customers.
Setting up a call centre can be a daunting task. Where to start, what needs to be done, where’s the perceived value? Making room for a few people answering phones is far from what 21st century customers need.
You need a call centre to engage with your customers and improve your business’ customer experience (CX).
How to Start a Call Centre
No doubt that setting up a call centre is a very important decision, but it doesn’t have to be a complex one that keeps you awake at night. We’ve broken down the process into a few simple steps, so you’ll be up and running in no time.
1. Set the Main Goals of Your Call Centre
First things first. Before anything else, you must define the goals and business objectives of the call centre. What are you trying to accomplish? Are you looking to help customers, generate leads, sell a product or service, provide support, or a combination of these?
A call centre is usually the customer’s first—and sometimes the only—interface with your business. Setting up a call centre definitely helps to solve customer experience issues, build a brand reputation, and contribute to the financial success of any business.
Moreover, call centres are a goldmine of customer data that can be used to gather insights that allow you to make informed decisions.
2. Define Call Centre Metrics
The call centre metrics are also a big factor when setting up a call centre. They serve as KPIs to measure the success of your call centre operation. A few of the most common call centre metrics are:
- Average handle time (AHT). The average duration of an interaction between a customer service agent and customer.
- Average speed of answer (ASA). The average number of seconds it takes for a call to be answered.
- Average abandonment rate. The average length of time that a caller will stay in a queue before they hanging up the call.
- First call resolution (FCR). Number of calls where the customer problem, question, or need was resolved the first time they called.
- Service level agreement (SLA). The expected level of service. Measures the performance of a system. Certain goals are defined and the service level gives the percentage to which those goals were achieved.
3. Consider the Budget for Your Call Centre
Next comes the not so funny part: call centre budget. And you must be really careful with that, because when setting up a call centre, expenses add up pretty quick. The budget is connected to the kind of operation you’ll run, so consider the following:
- Number of call centre employees.
- Cost of call centre tools and technology.
- Expenses with infrastructure, such as size and location of facilities.
4. Decide on the Call Centre Type
The type of call centre is related to your business objectives and budget. There are a few things that you need to consider about the call centre type:
On-premise vs. cloud. On-premise implementations require a big initial capital investment and are tied to lengthy and costly monthly contracts. Cloud-based contact centre technology highly reduces the required hardware and all the infrastructure is lodge on the cloud.
Onsite vs. virtual. Again, you need to consider several factors to make this decision, such as budget, business goals, and resources.
Onsite call centres gather the team and equipment in a physical location while virtual contact centres are cloud-based—everyone works remotely and can work from anywhere in the world requiring only an internet connection.
Inbound vs. outbound. What will your contact centre do? Will it handle calls from customers (inbound) seeking answers to issues and let agents provide the best customer service?
Or it will make calls to prospects and customers (outbound) for lead generation, telemarketing, sales, or market research purposes?
The required call centre technology depends, to a certain point, of this distinction. For example, if you’re doing inbound calls, you do not need outbound specific features, such as a call dialer.
5. Build your Call Centre Team
After making a series of important decisions on setting up a call centre it’s now time to tackle the fun, but not less important, ones that are related to setting up the team.
You’ve defined the call centre setting, purchased the software, built amazing scripts to engage with customers, but who will talk to them?
The staff depend on the size of your operation. Below are some of the most common roles at call centres:
- Agents. Must be great communicators able to handle different types of people during phone conversations.
- Supervisors/team leaders. Act as coaches, showing the best practices to handle calls and motivate the team to reach business goals.
- Managers. Control the daily operations and are responsible for defining the call centre goals.
6. Train Your Employees
Call centre staff are the interface between your business and customers. They need to be polite, educated, and empathetic. Ensure that you properly train staff when setting up the call centre.
Train agents to use the hardware, such as phone systems and headsets used at the call centre, regardless of whether they’re on site or on a remote workspace. Additionally, train agents on call centre etiquette and best practices using the following:
- Role playing. Make a few fake calls to see how agents will behave in real-life situations.
- Mentoring culture. Foster a culture of mentoring where more experienced agents are mentors to newcomers.
- Consistency. Ensure that training procedures and best practices are followed to help newer employees and keep a consistent brand experience.
7. Maintain a Supportive Call Centre Culture
The task of setting up a call centre from scratch does not end when agents start answering calls. The call centre environment can be overwhelming, hence the reason why mentoring, motivating, and supporting agents is so important.
Create a team spirit culture where your agents feel appreciated and supported. For example:
- Ask agents for regular feedback. They’re the point of contact with your customers and certainly have valuable insights on improvement ideas.
- Create an open, welcoming, and caring environment.
- Reward agents with additional perks to the payments and commissions they already get.
8. Consider a BPO Call Centre Solution
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) allows a third party provider to carry on the call centre operations for your business. If you decide on a BPO, you don’t have to worry about the process of setting up a call centre because the BPO provides hardware, software, and staff.
A BPO ensures that emerging business needs are met almost in real time as you don’t have to train staff, worry about call centre technology licenses, etc.
Setting up a call centre does not have to be an intimidating and grueling process. Think about your business needs and then start tackling the steps, one at a time. Choose the right provider to partner with you in this endeavour and you’ll be up and running in no time.
This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Talkdesk – View the original post
To find out more about Talkdesk, visit their website.
Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.