By admin Published on: March 22, 2023 Updated on: Call Center Software
how to start a call center-a complete guide

How to Start a Call Center: A Complete Guide

Setting up a call center is easier than ever before. You take an office space on lease; invest in hardware (computers, modems, headphones, router, etc.); recruit qualified call center agents, and you are good to go.

But sustaining a call center and making it successful is the name of the game in today’s time. The competition is extremely high and the market leaders enjoy a lion’s share of the revenue and profits. But the good news is, the extremely huge market is highly profitable and growing at a steady rate.

A report released by Research and Markets estimated the global market size of call centers at USD 332.3 billion in 2023. The market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.1 percent to USD 494.7 billion by 2030.

Now, speaking of annual revenue, according to Statista, the global call center revenue will surpass USD 490 billion by 2027. In the U.S., the combined annual revenue call centers generate is nearly USD 22 billion, with an average revenue of $4 million.

If you want to start a call center, then we would like to congratulate you and provide you with some valuable tips to make your journey easy. Here’s a complete guide to help you how to go about it. Read on and thank us later.

What Is A Call Center?

A call center is an organization (or a team or department within a large organization) that handles both incoming and outgoing calls. .

The people who answer incoming calls or make outgoing calls are known as customer service representatives.

Different Types of Call Centers

To choose the right call center for your business, you need to know about the different types of call centers and understand the key differences between them. Here are 5 types of call centers you should know about:

a. Inbound Call Centers

As the name suggests, inbound call centers handle incoming calls. A majority of companies use inbound call centers to:

  • Fulfill customers’ requests                               
  • Respond to customers’ queries
  • Resolve issues with products or services
  • Provide tech support

Such types of call centers use inbound call center software to streamline incoming calls and enable agents to handle all calls as efficiently as possible.

b. Outbound Call Centers

As you can guess from the name itself, outbound call centers make outgoing calls. Several marketing agencies, government organizations, market research companies set up outgoing call centers to:

  • Make sales calls
  • Conduct telephonic or online surveys
  • Carry out telemarketing campaigns
  • Perform market research

Such types of call centers use outbound call center software that comes equipped with sophisticated auto-dialers such as predictive dialers and progressive dialers.

c. Blended Call Centers

The best of both worlds—the features of both inbound and outbound call centers are blended into one in this type of call center. This type of call center relies on software engineered to handle a wide range of calls starting from customer support calls to telemarketing sales calls.

Blended call center enables agents to move easily between both inbound queues and outbound calling lists. These can be extremely beneficial for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies and similar organizations.

d. Virtual Call Centers

In the last few years, virtual call centers are on rise due to several factors. The demand for global talent, faster and cheaper high-speed internet connection, remote working becoming the new norm, and the ability of professional agents to deliver superior results no matter where they work from have contributed to the growth of virtual call centers. As per latest data, the number of remote call center agents is projected to rise by 60 percent from 2022 to 2024.

A virtual call center is a highly sophisticated cloud-based call center that provides remote working capabilities. This type of call centers are extremely cost effective, flexible and offer a wide talent pool.

e. Automated Call Centers

In the age of AI and automation, automated call centers are the future. As per a recent stat, more than 56 percent call centers plan to use AI and almost one-thirds plan to use robotics and process automation.

A study conducted by Gartner revealed that the rate of automation in agent communication with customers is expected to rise by five times and reach from 1.8 percent in 2022 to almost ten percent of agent interactions by 2026.

Tips to Start a Call Center

1. Define the Purpose and Goals of Starting a Call Center

“Start with why.” “Find your North Star.”“Define your purpose.” No matter how clichéd these terms may sound, they are indispensable when it comes to finding what it is that makes you tick. So, before you take any further steps to start a call center define your purpose and set some clear objectives. 

After that, you will be better equipped to deal with all the upheavals that come with starting and managing a call center. That’s extremely important because starting a call center may sound like a lucrative prospect but it’s highly demanding and will require a lot of your time and energy to start. If you have the purpose in place, you will overcome every challenge you face along the way and become a successful call center business owner.

2. Choose the Right Call Center for You Business

If you want to provide customer support or service, then an inbound call center would be the right type of call center for your business. But if you want to generate qualified leads for your or your client’s business or market your products or services, then an outbound call center would be the right type for you.

After choosing the suitable type, you need to consider if you would like to invest in an on-premise call center, a hosted or a cloud-based or a virtual one. Even though on-site call centers are expensive compared to cloud-based ones, they offer more security. Make sure you consider this factor while selecting a call center.

3. Draft a Business Plan and Allocate a Reasonable Budget

Legendary baseball player Yogi Berra rightly said, “With a plan, even the most brilliant business can get lost.” Let’s put it this way, a business plan is indispensable for every business. It does not encompass goals alone, but also milestones and strategies to set the business for success. After drafting a business plan, allocate a detailed budget.

Carefully consider every department where your greenbacks would go. What would be the total number of agents and employees in your call center? What would be the quality of tools and equipment would you use? Where would you want your call center to be located and what would be the size of your office? All these questions would help you to find the answer to the budget.

4. Handpick the Right Technology

In any average call center, technology plays a huge role in making or breaking the business. You need to be extremely careful about the quality of the tech stack you invest in. The right tech stack keeps your agents productive and happy as well as enhances your customer experience. Be extremely selective as you shop for all hardware and equipment for your call center. Secure your computer sets with antivirus software and ensure your headsets are of high quality.

After hardware, make sure you choose the right call center software. You may ask the question, “Why invest in call center software?” Well, that’s because almost half of your competitors are using it already and many more would do the same in near future. As per a recent report, almost half of the organizations surveyed said that they use call center software or a call center knowledge base.

This is where you can use the internet to look for the best call center software. Type search terms such as:

The top five to seven results on the first search engine result page would be good enough to provide you with adequate information to make an informed choice. Visit the websites of some reputable companies and contact their team.

5. Build Your Team

After you have invested in the right tech stack, you must ensure that you hire the right team members. That’s because your call center is as good as the team you build. No matter how sophisticated and advanced your hardware and software are, if the people behind the technology are not as skillful at operating those, then all your investments and efforts will go down the drain.

An effective team comprises the right number of qualified employees such as customer service agents, sales representatives, technical support specialists, and more. If you have decided to establish a virtual call center, then you may consider hiring talented and experienced professionals from across the globe.

That would mean that your team members are spread across various time zones and they can work in different shifts to ensure round-the-clock availability for customers.

7. Create Efficient Workflows

Efficient workflows are crucial for maintaining consistently high-quality service. You can start by crafting standardized customer service scripts and protocols. This would guide your agents through customer interactions, ensure a uniform approach, and empower your team to handle any situation confidently.

Apart from that, monitor your call center’s performance by measuring key metrics such as average handle time, first call resolution rate, and customer satisfaction scores. Analyze this data to pinpoint areas for improvement and ensure your agents exceed customer expectations.

Also, record calls to assess call quality and offer constructive feedback to your agents during coaching sessions. This helps them recognize areas for growth and refine their skills continually. Establish training programs to keep your agents’ skills sharp and promote knowledge-sharing initiatives within your team. This ongoing learning is vital for the success of your call center.

Key Call Center Challenges and Ways to Overcome Them

As mentioned previously, running a call center and making it successful is not as easy as starting one in today’s time. That’s because the call center industry has its own set of challenges such as:

  1. High Call Volume and Wait Time

One of the biggest challenges call centers around the world face is the sheer volume of calls they receive every day. As call centers serve different time zones, the volume of calls is not just high during business hours but almost every time of the day, including the wee hours of the morning and late hours of the night. The huge call volume creates one major challenge, i.e. high wait time or  on-hold time.

  1. Poor FCR Rate

Let’s be honest; even though the desirable first call resolution (FCR) rate for the call center industry stands at 75 percent, not many call centers succeed in attaining the rate. More often than not the waiting callers are directed to the available agents (who aren’t always best equipped to resolve their queries and issues). Even though the agents pick up the calls they can’t provide the right solutions to callers.

  1. Low Customer Satisfaction

If a majority of customers are put on hold for a long time and don’t get their issues resolved in the very first instance, they are highly likely to be dissatisfied, irritated, and frustrated. Angry and irate callers are a matter of extreme concern for call centers across the globe. 

  1. Agent Burnout and High Attrition Rate

Did you know that the call center industry has one of the highest employee turnover rates compared to other sectors? As per stats, call center turnover rates across the industry average between 30-45 percent per year. The high attrition rate is mainly due to high stress levels of agents and burnout.

No doubt the challenges are huge in the call center industry, but the good news is,

there are several ways to overcome them. Here are some ways:

  1. Use of IVR and Skill-Based Routing

No matter how many self-service resources a call center offers or how many additional phone systems it may fit, one thing is going to remain constant. That is the volume of calls. But call centers can streamline the calls effectively by using interactive voice response (IVR) and skill-based routing systems. Both the tools not only reduce on-hold time but also enhance the FCR rate as they direct the calls to the most qualified agents.

  1. Investing in Agent Training

The success of a call center is directly dependent on how well its agents are trained and how effectively they can handle customers’ queries and issues. When agents are trained in the right manner it not only does result in higher customer satisfaction but it also enhances employees’ morale and makes them feel valuable in an organization.

  1. Leveraging Right Tools

Call centers need to invest in a lot of tech tools and systems to streamline their operations. But it makes a whole lot of difference when they dedicate time and energy to research and select the right tools and use it in the right way. The decision makers in call centers must see to it that their entire tech stack works for them in the best possible way.

Summing Up,

For many businesses setting up a call center is a necessity rather than a luxury. It can help them to provide effective and efficient customer service in real time. If you’re a business owner, then a call center can be beneficial for your business in many ways.

All you need to do is invest some quality time in planning and necessary resources. Starting a call center is easy once you have all the crucial pieces in place. 

At HoduSoft, we’ve partnered with many businesses and helped them build call centers from scratch. Our sophisticated call center and contact center software enabled them to set up successful call centers.

If you’re looking for high-quality and cutting-edge call center and contact center solutions, book a free demo or call our team of experts to know how we can help.

Launch your call center success story with HoduCC - Call Center Software.

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