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 for the win. Call backs anyone?

What is a call center?

A call center acts as your sales and customer service ninja. It’s basically managing calls while bringing in customers or solving customer queries for your business. And, no matter whether you are running a small or medium level business, it is important as it could take your business to new heights. Quite literally!

It comes with ample features that could help a business to improve its sales and have better customer relationships. If you are new to the 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 by SMB’s. 

Best practices of starting a call center office from scratch 

We all know that the key aspect of every business operation regardless of its size is communication. Communication with another business is important but we must also know that communication with customers for products and services is also essential for the growth of the business. This allows the business to assess which elements are helpful in improving customer satisfaction and which elements need improvement. 

When we talk about the sales funnel of a business, it starts from generating leads then converting leads into reliable customers. This conversion is only possible when customers are satisfied and happy not only with the product or services offered by the company but also with the operations of the business. 

A business may fall short of satisfying customers in terms of products or services, but if a company puts extra miles for customer satisfaction and provides excellent customer service takes their 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 and choose only the one best suited for your business requirements. 

No matter if you as a company want to outsource a call center provider or start an in-house office itself to provide excellent customer service, here are a few practices that you must consider to set up a call center from scratch. 

 

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 to grow with the business operations. If you have assessed that it is time to separate customer service for customer care needs. 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 the final time to set 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 due to a lack of customer care services and start a call center. It is the first step to start your purpose and goals through this anchor. 

 

Call center set up 

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

 

Onsite call center 

Do you want to open a call center in your office and hire employees to handle the operations and everything will be handled in an office? It is a common type of call center for large companies whose companies are at 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 who are working from home. With this type, various operational costs are eliminated. 

It is not recommended to limit the 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 

Since there are more than one ways to offer great customer service. In an evolved world, many companies are addressing this customer service through different channels for communication. 

More diverse and multi-channel customer care services offer 24/7 customer support and improve more competitive advantage over peers. 

Decide where to locate your call center 

When it comes to deciding the location of your call center, you need to consider the overall aspects of business operations. Are you willing to go for a virtual call center or an in-house office? 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 that clears this point is you need to decide 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 is having an on-site call center. Also, employee training is immediate and has become easy due to advanced technology which is easily made in PC hardware. 

Create a budget 

Whether you are running a new business or an old one, it is important to create a budget for your call center so that you dont mess with your operational costs. The creation of a budget gives you an overview of how you are going to operate and choose the right options that comes under your budget. 

You must know your limits in a business that allows you to make sound decisions in regard to operating bounds. Having a physical location and additional overhead expenses fits your budget? How many employees can you hire under your budget? How much budget do you have for integrating the technology? What kind of equipment can you hire that comes under your budget? 

You must create a budget that starts with necessary costs like salaries of employees, advanced technology, and more. 

 

Make business goals 

You must be having various expectations, such as better lead generation, cold calling, or better customer support. It majorly depends on your goal how you start your call center. 

Your goals are an important aspect in deciding the KPI’s that your call center agents will have. The KPIs will measure how your call center and call center agent is performing in terms of services, time, and the way they work. 

When a business has a set of goals and sales KPIs at the start, that will allow 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 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 is busy, it indicates there are no available agents, and even the call center software is not able to handle the large call volume. Another important measure of a call center is its KPI to the percentage of blocked calls and it affects majorly in customer satisfaction and also gives a great opportunity to connect with customers in case of missed calls. 
  • Average abandonment range- Customers who are waiting for the agent on the line, usually hang up before the agent comes online. This shows the customer is not happy with the turnover rate of calls and it drastically affects the satisfaction level of the customer.

 

Decide equipment and hardware 

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

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

  1. Computer or a laptop – An important investment in a call center is having a computer system or a laptop that helps your agents to see how they can solve the troubles of your customers and it helps in keeping data effectively rather than traditional methods. 
  2. Headsets and microphones- If your business gets high-quality headsets or microphones, it allows you to have better communication between agents and customers. 
  3. Business phone services- Getting the right business phone service is important to get scalable in terms of the expansion. The phone service you choose must be easy to install and configure with your call center. 
  4. Data handler- It works as an effective way to handle data. It is a known software for keeping data in a safe place. 
  5. Reliable software to keep call records- Recording calls is important for a business, this helps in verification of the communication between agents and customers. 
  6. 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. 

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 a better return on your investment. 

 

Technology used 

With the evolving world, call centers are also evolving. With a great range of communication technology and customer service, you must avoid reaching customers on different platforms. 

 

Multi-channel strategy 

A call center that uses a multi-channel strategy, helps call center agents to communicate with customers on their own platform and allows customers to reach your agents through chat, SMS, email, call, or even through an app. 

It allows multiple ways of communication between a call center and a customer, which results in easier communication and a great reach of customers. 

Related – Multilingual customer communication

Omnichannel strategy 

Although it is the same as a multi-channel strategy, the only difference is it allows easy sharing of data with the use of an omnichannel call center. 

Voiceover internet protocol 

Although many call centers are using traditional phones, using voice over internet protocol has gained popularity that allows you to make a call through the internet. Internet calling eases the work operations.

Cloud-based calling 

Cloud-based calling comes with ease of call center working. 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 of a virtual call center since a business has a number of customers in different locations globally. 

Hire and train people 

No matter how advanced technology you get for your call center or an established business goal, it will fail if you dont have the right people to make it effective. 

Don’t forget, customer service is all about people. It starts and ends with a person online, from one end to another end. Having the right people will help 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 with call center agents to provide product information, telecalling for lead generation, or providing customer support

Call centers provide a personalised response to any customer query, as it is operated by actual humans and not bots. It especially enhances customer satisfaction and gives your business a competitive advantage over competitors.

 

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 if a product doesn’t come, there’s a problem, or they have any issues when they shop online. Some clients prefer to take orders over the phone 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 query or a problem, they don’t want to send a lengthy email or wait for a response. Even if just a tiny percentage of those who call, having a phone number enhances the trust of hundreds or thousands of prospective customers. 

They want to speak with an actual person, not a voicemail box 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, they are more likely to make more purchases and promote your company to others.

Boost revenue and help businesses avoid squandering chances

Companies that handle their calls and rely on voicemail as a backup 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 guarantee that your sales leads are not lost, a call center may queue calls and give extremely quick wait times.

It also gives possible business partners and company development possibilities a phone number to contact and get their information into the hands of the proper people. 

A call center may offer overflow help even if a firm has one or more staff taking calls in its offices. You may send extra calls to tellecalling agents after all of your employees are on call, reducing wait times. 

Provides a competitive edge

If your competitor has a phone number that clients can contact and you do not, many customers will choose to do business with them instead of your company. If your competitor has set office hours and offered contact center coverage around the clock, your firm will become a more appealing alternative. 

Not all customers can or do not want to call during business hours, and other customers cannot call during business hours. It conveys to clients the message that your organization will be available to them whenever they need to talk with someone. 

Provides a professional image of a business 

Clients calling and hearing a bespoke greeting assuring them an agent will be with them soon and joining a line gives the impression that your organization is doing business with a large number of customers and is a well-established professional firm. 

Even if your firm is a tiny startup just getting started with customers, providing a professional customer experience is critical for any company’s development.

 

Helps your company to save money

You pay for the time you utilize with shared assistance. When you hire someone, you agree to pay them regardless of whether or not calls come in. 

To minimize lengthy wait times when your call traffic rises, and during call spikes, you’ll often need to recruit extra personnel who must be paid whether or not they are on the phone. 

 Read – Importance of call center

Features of a call center 

Regardless of business size, here are 8 essential features that every call center must-have for proper functioning. 

IVR- Interactive Voice Response 

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

IVR navigates customers by only pressing various options such as pressing 1 on their phone to reach the right option of the menu 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 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 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, so that is why it is important for every call center to record every call. 

Recordings not only help in training new employees but also helps leaders to understand how agents are working in order to customer satisfaction and further helps in agents’ productivity and better customer support. 

Cloud telephony integration 

If your business is having tools that are not important and require more money and effort, then dont wait and say goodbye to them asap. Instead, invest in an all-in-one cloud telephony integration that will speed up your process. If you want your call center to work effectively and efficiently, then you must refrain from the slow progress of any tool or software. 

Desktop notifications 

Working in a call center means an agent must not miss a call, to prevent this there is software that comes with a pop-up notification on the desktop of a computer system or a laptop. With this software, an agent always gets aware of the call they are getting or even when a call is transferred to them. 

CRM Integrations 

A call center must seamlessly integrate with CRM to work faster and greater than the traditional way of working. CRM integrations provide you with the ability 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. And satisfied customers means better business. Every business, be it real estate, automobiles, food, or e-commerce has adopted the call center strategy to sustain business growth. 

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

Request a demo today to get started!