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Starting a call center: A quick guide

Starting a call center: A quick guide

Table of Contents

Outsourcing Call Center Services are now a popular option, with the worldwide cloud-based contact center industry anticipated to reach $20.93 billion by 2022. Starting a call center shouldn’t be difficult, given its popularity. 

Here’s our quick guide to starting your call center from the ground up.

Call Center Planning: Setup, Focus, Goals, Location, Paperwork, and Budget

Let’s see what you need to do first to build a call center.

Starting a call center: A quick guide

Setup

The configuration of your system determines the structure of your call center. You may either operate an on-site or a virtual call center. Here’s a description of each:

On-Site Call Centers

On-site call centers function from a central office. All of your employees will be at the workplace, and all of your tasks will be handled there.

Starting a call center internally is a fantastic choice if you want to start a company at a single location and serve large firms or businesses with high compliance and security standards.

If you have a large team, remote workers are an excellent choice because it is simple to locate local talent and handle them from a central location.

Running an on-site call center in a metropolis might provide you with benefits such as high-speed internet and access to public transportation. It’ll also be near to other small company operations that may benefit from your call center services.

However, running an on-site call center can be costly. In many cities, rental costs are above average, and utility services in the city may be more expensive.

To address this, most businesses outsource their on-site call centers. They establish them in foreign nations where:

  • Rents are less expensive.
  • The initial cost of putting this system in place is minimal.
  • Salaries are lower.

Virtual Call Centers

A virtual call center is a firm that exists almost entirely online. Most of your employees will work from home, and most of your interactions and activities will take place online. Starting a call center remotely is an excellent alternative if you don’t have a lot of money to invest in setup fees.

There no need to pay for overhead costs like rent, power, or the internet if you do business remotely. Your workers will be conducting operations.

However, there are several drawbacks to consider.

Managing a huge remote workforce is difficult, especially if you don’t have the right tools. It will be tough to measure productivity and evaluate employee performance. Employees who work alone may feel lonely and alienated, lowering their morale and efficiency.

So, if you’re thinking of going virtual, you should seriously consider employing the appropriate productivity software and performance monitoring tools.

Focus

The main purpose of your business determines the services you provide. You might focus on outbound calling services or only respond to incoming inquiries. Here’s a further look at each one:

Outbound Call Centers

Starting a call center that focuses only on outbound calls is called an outbound call center. They utilize cold calling for sales, telemarketing, conducting surveys, and making appointments.

Inbound Call Centers

On the other hand, an inbound call center is focused on things like taking orders, providing customer service, and addressing questions. They don’t make any calls to consumers; they simply receive phone calls from them.

Goals

Before starting a call center, it’s vital to make a business plan describing your objectives. Why? Because your objectives will determine:

  • The number of people you hire.
  • The sort of work you’ll be doing.
  • The procedures you’ll put in place.
  • What you’ll spend money on.

For example, if you aim to achieve a particular revenue objective, you’ll need to hire a specific number of individuals and charge your customers at a specific rate.

Setting objectives is an excellent way to expand your business because it divides progress into achievable bites. You may continually chip away at your goals to develop your small company regularly.

Location

The location of your call center has a significant impact on your success. While you may establish a local firm, offshoring it may be more cost-effective. Where, on the other hand, should you offload your call center?

When establishing a call center, countries like the Philippines are excellent choices. They provide you with the following advantages:

  • Minimal start-up costs.
  • Favorable corporate regulations.
  • Low pay.

However, outsourcing to foreign nations may be hazardous if you do not know what you are doing. Collaborate with a local attorney to understand each nation’s financial and legal ramifications.

Paperwork and Budget

Starting a business entails filling out numerous forms.

Consult your local government agents for any permissions you’ll need to establish your call center. You might even have to submit paperwork for a virtual call center, so thoroughly study the current rules and regulations before you begin.

If you’re thinking about offshoring your operation, you’ll need to talk with a lawyer about the paperwork necessary. Different nations have varying regulations, so study them carefully before making any decisions.

Aside from that, running a call center isn’t cheap. You’ll have to spend money on the following items:

  • Call center equipment.
  • Salaries will have to be paid.
  • Registration fees for businesses.
  • Websites and marketing.

If you don’t manage your cash carefully, you can easily spend more than you should on items your company doesn’t need. However, it’s also worth noting that your budget will differ based on the configuration and focus of your firm.

For example, an on-site call center will have significantly higher admin expenditures than a virtual business. You’ll need to spend the following:

  • Rent.
  • Electricity.
  • High-speed internet.
  • Office equipment.

Additionally, different equipment is utilized in an outbound call center than in an inbound one. While CRM software is used extensively by an outbound call center, your inbound call center may rely more on knowledge databases and help desk software.

Determine a budget that is realistic for your situation. To allow yourself enough growth space, align it with your objectives.

Read now» Outsourcing Call Center Services: Pros and Cons

Hiring the right People: Number of Employees, Recruitment Process, Training Programs

The second step before starting a call center is about people. You should determine

Starting a call center: A quick guide

Number of Employees

You’ll need the appropriate number of people to run a thriving call center.

  • You’ll be spending money unnecessarily if you hire too many people.
  • Hire too few people, and you’ll be understaffed, which will reduce your objectives.

That’s why you should analyze your call center setup.

For example, start with a modest group of experts if you want to operate a virtual company.

Firstly, they’re a tiny group, so it’s simpler to keep an eye on them – even if they’re remote. Second, since they’re seasoned, they’ll already be familiar with the ins and outs of the business. They’ll operate independently and can assist you in faster stabilizing your operations.

You may hire anywhere from 50 to 100 agents for an on-site call center. That seems like a lot, doesn’t it? Not really.

Remember that establishing an on-site call center company is both pricey and time-consuming, so you’ll need to increase your income. To assist your call center in achieving its revenue goals, you’ll need a large number of workers.

Consider employing a mix of trainees and experienced agents to reduce your staff expenses. Your experienced employees can assist your workers on the job so that your firm may function effectively.

Recruitment Process

In managing a call center, you have to consider a lot. You can’t afford to waste hours on each applicant! However, bear in mind that your recruitment method should be modified to match your current situation.

If you operate an on-site call center, the majority of your recruitment procedures will target individuals in your area. This can be useful in finding a fast replacement for workers, but not every applicant may be qualified enough for the position.

Before you hire them, offer them an assignment. This will allow you to assess their level of expertise and competence. It’s also a good method to see whether they’d be compatible with your company’s work culture.

In addition to this, make sure your interviewees are tested on the following critical call center characteristics:

  • Confidence.
  • Tone.
  • Empathy.
  • Attention to detail.

To better serve customers, a competent call center agent must have all of these characteristics. It will assist put clients at ease and ensure that they have a pleasant customer encounter.

Training Programs

It is not simple being a call center agent. You can’t just show up and perform well. To guarantee that their agents are able to handle their daily phone calls, most call centers offer intensive training programs. Call center agents should be capable of performing the following tasks:

  • Communicating effectively with callers.
  • Empathizing with customers.
  • Maintaining a high service level.

Consider going over previous phone conversations with your pupils to assist them in distinguishing what they should and shouldn’t do. You should also educate them on the various tools they’ll be using. If you’re utilizing a tool that aids in time management, for example, you’ll have to teach them how to utilize it.

Use the Right Technology Tools: Business Phone Systems, Monitoring Tools, Integration with other Workplace Software

In the third step of starting a call center, it’s time to handle technology tools.

Starting a call center: A quick guide

Business Phone Systems

A typical call center deals with a large number of calls on a daily basis. Unfortunately, a simple phone system can’t handle such a large number of calls. You’ll need to invest in a specialized business phone system to manage this call volume.

Here are your top alternatives:

PBX (Private Branch Exchange)

These systems are available through physical phone lines and standard handsets. This is an excellent alternative for businesses with on-site offices that rent office space long-term.

IP PBX (Internet Protocol Private Branch Exchange)

A VoIP (Voice over IP) system manages these conversations. This allows your salespeople to work with phones that are routed through the internet rather than conventional phone lines. This solution is lighter than a PBX since the server may be kept in-house or even remotely.

Virtual VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)

The most popular business phone system is Virtual VoIP. It doesn’t require any hardware because each conversation takes place through an app on your computer. To run it, you only need a set of headphones, and the server may be accessed from anywhere in the world. This is ideal for a virtual call center in every way possible.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) System

Customer records should be simple to keep and retrieve. This makes it easier for agents to interact with and engage callers. You’ll be able to address customers’ issues more effectively if you have all of their information on the call, don’t you think?

Customer relationship management (CRM) enables you to manage your clients’ information and make it available to your agents when they need it. With a CRM, you may track thousands of contacts with the click of a button!

Look for a CRM that links with your VoIP system to make things easier for your agents. You’ll have all of their information instantly appear when it’s linked in.

Monitoring Tools

You might not have time to spend hours manually monitoring your staff while you’re running a pile of tasks. However, you can’t afford to leave them unattended. This may result in productivity dips and lower customer satisfaction rates.

So, if you can invest in a performance monitoring solution to keep track of and monitor your staff, it will be a better option.

See more» Call Center Services Outsourcing: How to assure the quality of your Customer Service

Integration with other Workplace Software

Businesses have a plethora of tools at their disposal nowadays, but many are on the lookout for a single best solution that would allow them to do it all at once. However, since there is no such thing as an “all-in-one” solution, it’s quite common to utilize several tools instead.

At the same time, integrating a call center platform can be beneficial to your organization (for example, as part of CRM or a helpdesk solution like HubSpot).

Legal Issues: Permits and licenses, Business Insurance

Here we go to the last step. It’s legal issues.

Starting a call center: A quick guide

Permits and licenses

When you open a new location, you’ll need to secure all the permits and licenses required by law. Each city and country may have different rules, so double-check what’s necessary for your region. Failing to acquire needed permissions and licenses might result in significant fines or even the closure of your business.

In the United States, 33 states demand a unique permit to operate telemarketing or call the business. Check out sba.gov’s Telemarketing Laws page for information on what is required for your company licensing in your state.

To learn more about local licenses and permissions:

  • Check with your local clerk’s office.
  • Call one of the organizations listed in the US Small Business Associations’ directory of local business resources for assistance.

Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) to show that your business has met all building codes, zoning rules, and any government regulations. Confirm with the landlord whether or not they have a CO if you will be leasing the site.

Business Insurance

It is critical to have insurance for your company in order to operate lawfully and safely. Your business’s insurance will reimburse you financially if something goes wrong with your business.

There are several sorts of insurance coverage available for a variety of industries with varying risks. The most frequent form of business insurance is General Liability Insurance, so if you’re not sure which to get, start with it.

Workers’ compensation insurance is also a smart investment, as it may be required by law in your region.

Starting a call center will need a significant amount of effort and planning to ensure it functions properly and successfully. You must first provide outstanding service to your clients if you want to build a reputation for your service.

When your company is recognized for offering outstanding service, positive online comments and recommendations will spread via word of mouth, which is free marketing. We hope the above quick guide can help you build a great call center that every client appreciates.

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