How to Start a Call Center: A Complete Guide
Are you considering opening a call center? If there is a good time to start, it is now. That’s because, despite the rising competition, the global call center industry is growing at a rapid pace.
The rise of e-commerce and changing business landscape post the global pandemic and lockdowns fueled the growth of call centers around the world.
A report released by Research and Markets estimated the global market size at $404.3 billion in 2020. It projected the market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of six percent to $607.6 billion by 2027.
At HoduSoft, we know the future of the call center industry is bright and the companies that are going to invest in it are going to reap rich dividends in the near future. By providing our sophisticated solutions, we have helped many businesses across the globe to set up state-of-the-art call centers.
If you have decided 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.
Start with the “Why?”
As Simon Sinek says “start with why.” Why do you want to start a call center in the first place? Is it to generate qualified leads for your or someone else’s business? Or do you intend to provide customer support or customer service?
Some people set up call centers to make money. Some people do the same to provide excellent customer service and offset negative impacts on their revenue resulting from poor customer service (businesses in the U.S. alone lose about $75 billion in revenue because of poor customer service.)
No doubt, call centers are profitable. In the U.S. alone, call centers generate annual revenue of nearly $21 billion with an average revenue of $4 million. But if the goal is just to make money, the journey will not be fruitful in the long run. So make sure that you have your intention and determination in the right place.
Determine the right call center type for your business
After determining the purpose of the call center, it would be extremely easy to determine the right type of call center. 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.
Create a business plan and set a budget
A business plan is crucial for every business. It includes a detailed budget, which requires you to consider the total number of employees, the type and quality of equipment and tools, and the size and location of your office.
After determining the suitable type of call center, set a budget. You must be extremely particular about setting up a budget as it can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The budget should include everything, starting from the size and location of your call center, the money you’re willing to invest in the hardware and software to the number of employees you intend to hire as well as the salaries and incentives. While deciding the budget, take your fixed costs, variable costs, as well as income sources into account. That will enable you to understand how much money you should invest in your call center.
Hire a team of qualified professionals and build them
A team of qualified professionals includes customer service representatives, technical support specialists, sales representatives, and more. You need to make sure that you hire the right number of qualified and skillful employees. Also see to it that your hiring process is fast, thorough, and quick.
If you’re planning to set up a virtual call center, then you can hire experienced and skillful people from around the world. You can coordinate remotely and ensure that your team members are spread across various time zones to interact with customers at their convenient time. If you’re setting up an on-site call center, you need to hire an adequate number of agents as per your setup so that you can optimize your costs and ensure that you achieve your targets.
After hiring the right employees, the next thing you must do is build a team that can work proactively and wholeheartedly. No matter how experienced and professional your team members are, you must train them about your company and its core values. That will make them understand what your brand stands for and what your customers value the most. You should also do whatever it takes to build a supportive culture.
Select the right equipment and software
After setting the budget, it’s shopping time. Select the equipment and hardware you need in the call center. Make sure the computer sets are secured by antivirus software and the headsets are of high quality.
After choosing the hardware, make sure you select the right software in the market. With so many choices available and so many service providers claiming to have the perfect solution, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. That’s where the World Wide Web can come to your aid. All you need to do is type:
- “top call center software 2023”
- “cost-effective call center software”
- “best call center software for small businesses”
- or some similar high-intent search terms
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.
Read Also: Top 10 Call Center Software 2023
Invest in additional tools such as PBX Switch, CRM, and workflow management tools
Apart from the essential hardware and call center software, you will also need some additional tools such as:
- PBX (Private Branch Exchange) switch
- Customer service tools such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Workflow management tools
A reliable PBX (Private Branch Exchange) switch can help in the management of incoming and outgoing calls. There are three types of PBX switches—IP PBX, hosted PBX and on-premise PBX. You can decide the right one for your business based on your specific needs, budget, and size of your business.
A CRM tool is crucial as it can track customer information, understand and manage customer relationships, and automate various repetitive tasks. Workforce management tools can help in predicting call volumes, forecasting agent staffing, optimizing employee schedules, and more.
Monitor performance and compare outcomes
Once your call center campaign goes live and your agents start interacting with customers, monitor their performance and compare the actual outcome with the expected one. This is where call center analytics tools can help in analyzing various data and gaining valuable insights.
Sophisticated analytics tools have real-time reporting capabilities, which enable supervisors and managers to track various call center KPIs and metrics. After tracking the call center’s performance and customer satisfaction score, you can decide if your employees need the training to improve their performance or do you need to work on any other areas.
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.