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The Checklist For Your Call Center Setup

  • Sumita Banerjee
  • 23 July 2021

https://www.c-zentrix.com/blog/the-checklist-for-your-call-center-setup

call center

Building a good customer experience doesn’t happen by accident, it  happens by design.

-Caire Muscutt

 

Before planning to set up a call centre, it is necessary to understand some basic points such as:-

  • What is a call centre?

In today’s world, call centers are an integral part of the service sector that facilitate customer’s easy access to the organization, register their complaints and get notified from time to time. Basically, it is a communication channel between a customer and an organization. It is managed by a group of experienced and skilled personnel commonly known as agents through inbound-outbound telephone calls

Normally call center setups deliver the following services: -

  • It offers customer support
  • Handles customer queries
  • Does telemarketing
  • Conducts market research

People often confuse between a call center and a contact center

Call centers traditionally deal with voice calls. For example, insurance and mortgage organizations set up call centers to collect premiums or installments; Whereas, contact centers deal with other sources of communication such as email, Chat, messaging etc. Normally e- commerce, IT sectors run contact centers. 

However, almost every organization handles customer queries over the call but is yet to shrug off the call center label. So,”call centers” and “contact centers” are used interchangeably.

  • Virtual call centers

Traditionally a call center is a busy environment which normally operates 24/7 all-round the year but over time, it became more flexible not just in size but also in set up. This trend has led to the emergence of virtual call centers. Also, due to the current covid situation, more and more call centers opted for a virtual workspace that allows an agent or call center advisor to work from home or in smaller groups working from quieter branch offices. This service is possible due to emerging cloud technology. All home workers/branch officers function as one big contact call center from multiple locations. Benefits of home working are:-

  • It attracts new demographic agents
  • Provides better work life balance
  • Enhances productivity

Now that we have a fair knowledge of call centers, let's move on to the things we should keep in mind before setting up a call center.

 

  • How to set up a call center from scratch- the checklist 

A satisfied customer advocates your brand and makes a successful journey along with the brand/service. That is why customer experience has paramount importance for a brand/service that impacts the willingness of the customer to become a loyal advocate. Building up a call center for you is like an investment made to enhance customer experience

Now my aim is to take you through certain points to envisage, analyze and implement while planning to start a call center from scratch

 

1. Identify the core purpose and type of call center: 

The first and foremost important thing is to identify why you are opening a call centre, focusing on the purpose and objectives. It will be backed by the analysis of what channels your customers are using and where you need to align yourself to meet their needs. You can set up:

 

  • Inbound call center: this is a type of call center that is based on incoming calls from customers, understanding issues/problems, providing tech support and resolving queries. It can be more suitable for e-commerce and IT related services.
  • outbound call center: This call center works on outbound calls i.e. calling to customers to tell them about products or services, initiating surveys and gathering information from customers. It is widely used for lead generation and also for collection purposes in insurance, mortgage, loan and other financial services.

 

  1. Manual dialing: As the name suggests, it is a manual dialer that is being used in inbound, outbound or blended call centers. 
  2. Preview dialing: This dialer gives access to an agent to see the next call in the queue and helps them to prepare before the call. The contact data and custom fields provides relevant information to the agent to make an effective call.
  3. Progressive dialing: In this solution, the outbound dialer dials call sequentially and route the call to the agent available as soon as there is a live person on the other side of the line. This is suitable for heavy outbound calling and the agent does not have to wait to hear the call ringing. 

 

2. Calculate The number of employees needed:

The first step towards building a team is to determine the size of the team required. The key factors that will drive to determine the size are the total call volume, Average Handling Time (AHT) and the peak calling hours. Erlang calculator is a standard practice to arrive at the team size required. Shrinkage analysis is important to know the fluctuation in workload and planning for full time or part time resources. Once the size is determined and based on technology, recruitment and office space need to be brought into focus. For virtual contact centers like the one driven by C-Zentrix Cloud contact center, agents can Work From Home as well. 

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The first place to look for people for your organization within your organization  (if you already run an organization ). It can be from the Marketing and Sales team as they are already engaged with customers and are good in their communication. They already are trained in engaging with customers and can be very effective for the call center.

If you need to recruit from outside your organization, hiring should be firm and efficient. The “voice” of your company must sound polite however energetic, positive and well mannered. Give emphasis on language proficiency based on the demography you choose for your customers. 

  • Training :

After selection of call center members and supervisory staff, you need to focus on training of latest technology and customer service strategies in order to make them well skilled and stay competitive so as to pull ahead of others in your business competition. Training should be a continuous process whether it is in-house or contracted ,make sure your employees have regular, scheduled training sessions. Needless to say the awareness of product/services to the team is a must.

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3. Calculate your space to set up a call center:

The third most important thing that comes into the picture is to determine how much space you need to set up for a call center. 

Though work from home is a viable business strategy to start a business, it is not for everyone. Those who do not have prior experience of managing work from home, it is advisable to run your call center from your office. Also you need to keep in mind future requirements  while planning for an office space. 

For example, suppose you have decided to start a call center with 100 full-time employees, it is a good idea to build a space for at least 150 seats as a margin expansion.

 

4. Do you want a cloud call center or an on-premise one?

Cloud call centers can help you save infrastructure costs but you need a reliable provider and a strong internet connection. Moreover, you can recover your data if there is a disaster your provider will safeguard your data. Your team members can work remotely.

With an on-premise solution, you have the liberty to customize a solution according to your business requirements, which makes it a personalized solution. It also ensures the security and confidentiality of your data as it is stored on in-house servers. This solution gives you complete control and less concern and reliability on data security.

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5. Defining call center KPIs:

KPIs are key performance indicators that can evaluate call center performance. There is a long list of KPIs but you need to select according to your requirement. You can set up a monitoring strategy on new goals, strengths and weaknesses and ways to overcome weaknesses. It will help you improve customer experience and revenue generation.

 

6. Setting up a budget:

After setting up KPIs, it’s time to invest in tools and equipment. First, identify the software you need for customer retention and internal communication. 

Nuts and bolts

Hardware and software that you choose is an integral part of  your success, faulty or outdated equipment/software will hamper the service even though you have the most talented and skilled employees at work. 

Below are some tools and technologies for your call center setup

  • Hardware
  1. A LAN(local area network) environment
  2. Good quality desktop and comfortable headphones (keep in mind your agent needs to wear them for long hours) and if it is a disposable one then it will give a good sense of hygiene
  3. Progressive dialer server: if your call center is planning to do a large number of outbound calls, it is better to select a progressive dialer which will dial automatically thus saving the agent from manual dialing.
  4. ACD (automatic call distributor) server: it will help better management of call routing and reduce call abandonment.
  5. SIP(session initiation protocol) trunking: it is voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) based on SIP that enables internet based providers to provide telephone services. The key benefit of using SIP trunk is that you don’t need to maintain physical infrastructure. However your telecom provider may provide PRI termination to your call center and PRI gateway will be required.

However, for a Cloud Contact Center, you will only require desktops with headphones and internet connection and no other hardware.

  • Software 

    IVR (Interactive voice response)
    It is an automated phone technology, which allows the caller to access information via prerecorded messages. It doesn’t need an agent. It can give detailed information and customer data in a very small time frame.

    CTI (Computer telephony integration)
    If your call center need to be integrated over a CRM, this will enable the agent to use Call Center Software over the CRM UI.

    Call Center Software
    This is the brain of your call center and provides both the admin and agent panels. This will include the dialers, call management, call routing, call recording and call reports.

    CRM/LMS
    This is important to use a Helpdesk/Service CRM to capture issues reported to your call center. If the call center is meant for outbound calling for lead generation, a LMS (Lead Management System) will be useful. If you are running a blended call center then C-Zentrix Helpdesk CRM provides a lead module to manage both inbound service requests and outbound calls.  
     
  • Phones
  1. Hard phone - Physical presence of a phone on the desk.
  2. Softphone - No hardware. It is a virtual phone and you need to buy licenses.

 

7. Building a good culture

Once the phone line starts ringing, your call center is operational, but it doesn’t mean that all is in place for good call center until there is a good company culture. Good company culture needs commitment from top to bottom. This is why it is salient to have good team leaders and managers who can mentor, motivate and support team members.

Focus on your customer and lead your people as though their lives depend on your success”

-Warren Buffett

 



Author Bio:  Sumita has long years of experience in various segments of management ranging from contact center to process development with the help of lean Six Sigma methodology. She is an avid reader, occasional writer and extensive traveller across the Globe.



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