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A to Z of Starting and Managing Call Center For Small and Medium Businesses

Published on July 26, 2022
Last modified on February 1, 2023
call center

The call center marketplace revenue is a whopping $200 Billion! And, it’s expected to reach $407.1 Billion by 2022.

If that number doesn’t convince you, we don’t know what will. 

Call centers can help you attract a large number of new customers. Not only this, but they also help ensure that they stay for the long term.

Call centers for the win. Callbacks anyone? 

In this article, we will look at call centers and dialer software for call centers alongside call center services.


What is a call center?

what is call center

A call center acts as your sales and customer service ninja. It manages calls while bringing in customers or solving customer queries for your business. 

No matter whether you are running a small or medium level business, it is very important. An efficient call center could take your business to new heights. Quite literally!

It comes with ample features to help your business to improve sales and develop better customer relationships. If you’re new to business, you must be wondering how to start and manage a call center.

That’s why we are here to help you. Here is a detailed guide on managing Call centers for SMBs.


Best practices for starting a call center office from scratch 

A key aspect of every business operation regardless of its size is communication.

Communication with other businesses is important. However, you must also know that communication with customers is essential for the growth of the business. 

The sales funnel of a business starts from generating leads to then converting these leads into reliable customers. This conversion is only possible when customers are satisfied and happy. 

At times, a business may fall short of satisfying customers in terms of products or services. However, if your company prioritizes customer satisfaction and provides excellent customer service, it takes your business to another level. 

Being a business, many companies prefer to outsource business functions to professional skilled employees. Even many small businesses start through reliable call center software and get rid of high operational costs. 

For small businesses though, it can be a little tricky. Therefore it is highly recommended that you explore all the options available. Then, carefully choose the one best suited for your business requirements. 


Here are a few practices that you must consider to set up a call center from scratch:

1. Identify Business Needs 

When you start a business, you may feel too small to warrant the need for a call center. However, you realize that there are some things that your team cannot handle which include customer handling services. 

Purpose and Goals 

Customer needs tend to grow with the business operations. This comes a point where it becomes time to separate customer service from customer care needs. At this point then, consider investing in a call center.

When you decide to open a call center or start from scratch, you may have the following questions in mind:

  • Is customer satisfaction my priority? 
  • Are my customers getting frustrated due to lack of communication between a company and them? 
  • Do my customers feel overwhelmed with the customer care service we provide? 

If you consider yes as an answer to all of the above questions, then it is time. You should consider setting up a separate call center for your business to handle customer services. 

You need to think about the core problems your company and customers are facing. If they are due to a lack of customer care services, start a call center. It is the first step to start your purpose and goals through this anchor. 


Call center set up 

After identifying your purpose and goals, it is time to identify what type of call center setup you need. This depends on the business type you are running.


Onsite call center 

Do you want to open a call center in your office? Then, consider investing in an onsite call center. Here, businesses typically hire employees to handle the operations. 

It is a common type of call center for large companies. These companies have a fixed location with a huge team of skilled agents. 


Virtual call center 

For businesses that operate remotely, virtual call centers are a great option for employees working from home. With this type of call center, multiple of your operational costs are eliminated. 

It is not recommended to limit your software. Here are a few customer care services one can consider in a call center: 

  1. Inbound customer service 
  2. Outbound customer service 
  3. Webchat 
  4. SMS 
  5. IVR 
  6. Email Response 
  7. Social Media 

There are more than one ways to offer great customer service. In an evolved world, many companies address customer service through different communication channels

More diverse and multi-channel customer care services offer 24/7 customer support. This also gives your business more competitive advantage over your competitors. 


2. Decide where to locate your call center 

When deciding the location of your call center, you need to consider overall aspects of business operations. 

Is your location good enough to target skilled employees? 

What costs will your business incur to set up a call center at the preferred location? 

The major decision lies with deciding between in-house or virtual call centers. 

Virtual call centers are more cost-effective than on-site call centers. A virtual one reduces overhead costs like location charges, furniture, utilities, and more. 

Although, on-site call centers also come with various benefits. Communication between team members becomes easy when the business has an on-site call center. 

Furthermore, employee training is immediate and has become easy due to advanced technology in PC hardware.


3. Create a budget 

Whether you’re running a new or old business, it‘s important to create a budget for your call center. This is so that you don’t mess with your operational costs. 

The creation of a budget gives you an overview of how you are going to operate. You can then choose the right options that come under your budget. 

Realize your limits in a business that allows you to make sound decisions in regards to operational bounds. How many employees can you hire under your budget? How much budget do you have for integrating certain technology? What kind of equipment can you hire that comes under your budget? 

You should create a budget that starts with necessary costs like salaries of employees, advanced technology,etc.


4. Make business goals 

You must have various expectations such as better lead generation, cold calling, or better customer support. This all majorly depends on your goal and how you start your call center. 

Your goals are an important aspect in deciding the KPIs that your call center agents will have. KPIs measure how your call center and call center agents perform in terms of services, time, etc. 

It’s practical for a business to have a set of goals and sales KPIs at the start. This allows your business to have an effective and efficient call center. 

Here we are going to share some of the common KPIs that most top call centers have for effective operations:

  • Average time in queue- For customer satisfaction, one of the most important KPIs to measure is the wait time of customers. It is important to keep customers’ wait time under an optimal range. 


  • Calls blocked percentage- When a customer is calling a business and the line‘s busy, it indicates there are no available agents. Alongside this, it also highlights that the call center software is unable to handle the large call volume. Another important KPI of a call center is the percentage of blocked calls. This factor can majorly affect customer satisfaction.  


  • Average abandonment range- Customers who wait for the agent on the line, usually hang up before the agent comes online. This shows your customer is not happy with the turnover rate of calls. As such, this too can drastically affect the satisfaction level of the customer.


5. Decide equipment and hardware

call center guide

When you’ve set up a budget, it is time to get hardware and equipment for your call center. In fact, all types of call centers are equipped with some type of equipment and hardware. 

Here is a list of popular equipment present in every call center: 

Computer or a laptop – An important investment in a call center is having a computer system or a laptop. They help your agents to see how they can solve your customer issues. Moreover, they help in managing data effectively compared to other traditional methods.

Headsets and microphones- If your business gets high-quality headsets or microphones, it allows you to have better communication between agents and customers. 

Business phone services- Getting the right business phone service is important for scalability in terms of business expansion. The phone service you choose must be easy to install and configure with your call center.

Data handler- It works as an effective way to handle data. It is a known software for keeping data in a safe place. 

Reliable software to keep call records- Recording calls is important for a business, this helps in verification of the communication between agents and customers. 

Dialers- Another important software that every call center is equipped with is an autodialer that automatically dials the call for your agents and removes unanswered and unproductive calls. 

  • Dialer Software for Call Centers

To help achieve their target goals, sales teams and customer support both need the right software. With the right dialer software for call centers, your business can greatly increase productivity and boost sales. 

Here are some of the most popular dialer software in the call center industry:

  • Exotel
  • NeoDove
  • Five9
  • CallHub
  • Knowlarity
  • CallHippo and more.

Overall, it is important to invest in the right type of equipment and hardware. High-quality equipment saves you from various issues in the long term and offers you better ROI


6. Multi-channel strategy 

Using a multi-channel strategy helps call center agents communicate with customers on their own platform. lows customers to reach your agents through chat, SMS, email, call, or even through an app.Moreover, it al 

Allowing multiple ways of communication between call center and customer  results in easier communication and increased reach. 

Related – Multilingual customer communication

7. Omnichannel strategy 

Omnichannel strategy is quite similar to multichannel strategy. The only difference is it allows easy sharing of data using an omnichannel call center.


8. Voiceover internet protocol 

Although many call centers use traditional phones, voice over internet protocol has gained popularity recently. 

VoIP allows you to make a call through the internet. As such, this method of internet calling eases the work operations.


9. Cloud-based calling 

Here the data is stored in a cloud that allows agents to have access to data through the web. 

It is an important key aspect for a virtual call center to have. This is because a business has a number of customers in different locations globally. 


10. Hire and train people 

Despite using advanced technology in your call center, it will be ineffective if you don’t hire the right people. 

Don’t forget that customer service is all about people. It starts and ends with a person online, from one end to another end. Hiring and training the right people helps your business to have better growth as a call center. It is the face of your business. 


How do call centers work?

Usually call centers are in-house, virtual, or remote. It is run by businesses using call center agents. Typically, they provide services like giving product information, telecalling for lead generation, providing customer support, etc. 

Call centers provide a personalized response to any customer query. This is possible as it is operated by actual humans and not bots. They especially enhance customer satisfaction and give your business a competitive advantage over competitors.


Call Center Services 

A call center is responsible for handling various customer-oriented services. Some important call center services include:

[ Image Requirement: Flow chart visual showing ‘call center services’ in a bubble branching out into the 5 below sub divisions and below each of them, include their mentioned sub-topics ]

Inbound Call Center Services

Inbound services refer to any services regarding when your call center receives calls from your prospects/ customers. These services prioritize addressing and responding to customer issues.

Some common inbound services include:

  1. Cross-selling & upselling
  2. Resolution to customer issues
  3. Maintaining brand image
  4. Nurturing inbound leads

Outbound Call Center Services

Outbound services can be defined as services that revolve around your agents calling prospective/ existent customers. The calls primarily focus on subscription sales, customer retention or generating general sales. 

Common outbound services include:

  1. Lead generation
  2. Customer retention
  3. Sales services
  4. Appointment scheduling

Telemarketing Services

Telemarketing is a method of marketing and selling your products through contacting prospective customers via their phone. Here, agents also inform customers about the various benefits and features of your products/ services. 

Important telemarketing services include:

  1. Outbound telemarketing
  2. Customer retention
  3. B2B telemarketing
  4. B2C telemarketing

Technical Support

Tech support aims to help to resolve any issues faced by customers when using your products/services. These services are quite important for your business and are responsible for increasing and sustaining customer satisfaction.

Common technical support services include:

  1. Technical support for hardware products
  2. Technical support for Operating Systems
  3. Technical support for Email
  4. Technical support for Portable Devices

Other services

  1. Quality/ call monitoring 
  2. Multichannel support


5 Reasons Your Business Needs A Call Center

Enhanced customer confidence and loyalty

Customers generally want to be sure they’re buying from a firm they can contact in case of any issues. For example, if a product doesn’t come, there’s a communication problem, or they face issues when shopping online. 

Some clients even prefer to take orders over the phone. This is because they are concerned about making transactions online.

According to a recent poll, 49% of individuals are hesitant to make online transactions. If they have a problem, they don’t want to send a lengthy email or wait for a response. Having a phone number truly enhances the trust of hundreds or thousands of prospective customers. 

They want to speak with an actual person, not a voicemail if they do call. A call center gives buyers the assurance they need to make a purchase. 

When customers have a positive experience with an agent, it can have a positive impact for your business. Your customers become more likely to make more purchases and promote your company.


Boost revenue and help businesses avoid squandering chances

Companies that handle their calls and rely on voicemail as a backup are not very efficient. In fact, they may only get a small percentage of their prospective sales calls. Several studies have shown that over 90% of consumers will not leave a message while contemplating a purchase. 

To ensure  sales leads are not lost, a call center may queue calls and give extremely quick wait times.

It also gives your possible business partners and company development possibilities a phone number to contact. Through this system, you can get their information into the hands of the proper people. 

A call center may offer overflow despite a firm having one or more staff taking calls in its offices. You may send extra calls to telecalling agents after all of your employees are on call. Thus, reducing wait times. 


Provides a competitive edge

If your competitor has a phone number customers can contact and you don’t, it may give them an edge. Most times, many customers will choose to do business with them instead of your company. 

However, if your competitor has set office hours, you may have an advantage. By offering contact center coverage around the clock, your firm becomes a more appealing alternative. 

Not all customers can or do not want to call during business hours. Furthermore, other customers cannot call during business hours. 

By offering 24/7 service, you convey that you’re available to clients whenever they need to talk.


Provides a professional image of a business 

Often, clients call and hear a bespoke greeting assuring them an agent will be with them soon. This gives the impression that your organization is doing business with many customers and is a well-established professional firm. 

Providing a professional customer experience is critical for any company’s development. This holds true even if your firm is a tiny startup just getting started with customers, 


Helps your company save money

A call center would help you focus on the quality of your products and services. In fact, you would not need to hire extra employees only for answering the phone.

With a call center, you will only pay for the service being provided and nothing more.  As such, this lowers your operational costs.

 Read – Importance of call center


Features Of Call Center Software

Regardless of business size, here are 8 essential features that every call center software must include:

IVR- Interactive Voice Response

Using an IVR is simple and the best way to achieve better customer satisfaction. IVR is defined as an electronic voice menu that a caller gets when they call a business number. This menu then helps them to decide which agent they need to be connected to. 

IVR navigates customers by only having them input various options via buttons. For example, pressing 1 on their phone to reach the right menu option and reach the right agent. 


Skill-based Routing

Any call center software must have skill-based routing. It is important as it is automatic routing which further saves your time and resources. 

Through this software, the call offers many options until the customer is connected to the right agent. Some software also gives an opportunity to connect the dialer via routing with IVR. 


Call Recording

Usually, for many customers, a line that your call is recorded for authorization is not a coincidence. Recording a call is a common practice for every business. It is important for call centers to record every call. 

Recordings help in training new employees. Not only this, but they also help leaders to understand how agents are working in order to boost customer satisfaction. Moreover, this practice further helps in increasing agent productivity and providing better customer support. 


Cloud Telephony Integration 

If your business uses tools that aren’t important and require more money and effort, then stop using them asap. 

Instead, invest in an all-in-one cloud telephony integration that will speed up your process. Cloud telephony integration enables your call center to work effectively and efficiently. 


Desktop Notifications

Working in a call center means an agent must not miss a call. To prevent this, there’s software that comes with a pop-up notification on your desktop or a laptop. 

With this software, an agent always gets aware of the call they are getting. This is even applicable when a call is transferred to them.


CRM Integrations

A call center must seamlessly integrate with CRM to work smarter and faster. CRM integrations allow you to do more without having to switch between different applications for different tasks.


Ready to start your call center journey?

You’re never late to the success party! Call centers definitely can make your sales and customer support the best that they can be. 

Most importantly, satisfied customers means better business. Every business, be it real estate, automobiles, food, or e-commerce has adopted call center strategy to sustain business growth. 

Now it’s your time to shine. Start your call center journey with NeoDove. Get a personalized telecalling CRM and sales engagement tool for your business. 

Request a demo today to get started!

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