There are more than 27,700 call centers throughout the United States, and the industry is growing at a rapid rate. Have you been considering starting your own call center?
Whether you want it to exist as an extension of your business or you want to provide assistance to other businesses, there’s plenty of room in the market for new call centers. If you want to succeed long-term, though, you have to be strategic about the way you run it.
Explained below is everything you need to know about how to start a call center that runs in the most efficient way possible.
Why Start a Call Center?
There are lots of reasons why you may want to start a call center. The following are some of the most noteworthy perks that come with running this type of business:
There’s a high demand for call centers right now, especially call centers that are based in the U.S.
In general, U.S. customers want to talk to agents who are also located in the U.S. and are fluent in English. If you can solve this problem for your customers or other businesses’ customers, there’s a lot of opportunity for growth.
Better Customer Service
Having your own call center for your business allows you to provide better customer service. With more agents at the ready, your customers won’t have to wait as long to get their problems solved.
A call center gives you a competitive advantage, too. The better your customer service is, the more people are going to want to work with you in the future.
This is also a great selling point for other businesses if you’re trying to convince them to outsource their customer service to your call center.
How to Start a Call Center
At this point, you might be sold on the benefits of opening a call center. Where do you begin, though? Start by following these steps:
1. Choose Your Call Center Type
One of the first things you need to decide is the type of call center you’re going to run.
Will it be an on-site call center (one that operates from a central location) or a virtual call center (where agents work from home)? Will it be an inbound call center (where agents accept calls from customers) or will it be an outbound call center (where agents place calls to current and potential customers)?
2. Set Clear Goals
Once you know what kind of call center you want to run, ask yourself about your specific goals. Do you have specific revenue or customer retention targets?
Knowing your goals will make it easier for you to handle other aspects of your business, such as determining how many employees to hire.
3. Choose a Location
If you’re planning on running an on-site call center, you’ll need to choose a location for it. Remember, the demand for U.S.-based call centers is especially high, so it’s generally a good idea to keep your center stateside.
Look for a property that has low overhead costs (while still providing your employees with a comfortable work environment) and has enough space for the number of workers you intend to hire.
4. Fill Out the Paperwork
There’s a lot of paperwork you have to fill out when starting any kind of business. From tax forms to legal documents registering your business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Work with professionals, including a lawyer and an accountant, to make sure you don’t miss anything important.
5. Know Your Budget
Set a clear budget that allows you to cover all your bases. This includes worker salaries, building overhead, the cost of equipment, and business registration fees. Your accountant may be able to help you come up with a budget that is easy to stick to and doesn’t leave anything out.
6. Hire the Right Employees
When the time comes to hire employees, make sure you’re thorough in your recruitment process.
Look for employees who have call center experience and possess the traits necessary to be a good call center worker. They should be confident, detail-oriented, and patient.
7. Train Them Well
Even if you hire experienced employees, they still need proper training to know how to talk to your customers (or the customers of the businesses that are hiring you).
Spend time putting together a well-rounded training program that teaches employees how to handle specific situations in a way that satisfies customers and helps the business grow.
Common Call Center Mistakes
In addition to knowing what to do when it comes to starting a call center, you also need to know what not to do. Follow these guidelines to make sure you don’t fall into the same trap that a lot of business owners do:
Insufficient Training and Equipment
If you don’t train your employees well or provide them with the equipment they need to do their job, you can’t expect them to succeed and provide adequate customer service. Make sure they have enough time to learn the ins and outs of the job, and invest in the latest equipment that allows them to do their jobs with ease.
Lack of Automation
Look for ways to automate certain aspects of the job so that your agents’ jobs are easier and your customers stay happy.
For example, use a customer relationship management tool that automatically gives your agents access to information like account numbers. That way, customers won’t have to repeat themselves multiple times during a call.
Poor Reporting Practices
Finally, make sure you have good reporting practices in place.
Gathering data and monitoring performance on a regular basis will help you figure out what’s working for your call center and what isn’t. Follow these tips for call center reporting to make sure you’re not neglecting important information.
Start Your Call Center Today
Now that you know more about how to start a call center, it’s time to get the ball rolling. Keep these tips (as well as the list of common mistakes to avoid) in mind and you’ll have your call center up and running before you know it.
Do you want to learn more about running a successful business of any kind? If so, check out the Business News section of our site today for some other helpful resources.