Introduction to establish a call center
In a careful study of the industrial landscape, one would sense a high level of competition among companies, both small and large. The toughness of the economic atmosphere can be held responsible for the top game. This phenomenon has made companies place more attention to superior customer service in a bid to guarantee their survival. The company has established a Call Centre to take care of their customers. Since then, it has been the dream of every company including courier company to develop a better call center for delivery services. A better call center helps in ensuring that customers of the company will manage to the advantage of the company. The customers’ perceptions of the quality of a particular company are, in most cases, traced to each service interaction with such a company. The company’s ability to retain its clients is dependent on managing and implementing of service delivery process.
Hence, it is, therefore, essential to look into those strategies that are needed to build a better call center for delivery services. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of how to establish a better call center, and helpful in managing the customer experience. The item will also help in opening you to instant delivery solutions and other delivery solutions available for call centers.
Definition of call center
Before going into details on how to establish a better call center, an understanding of the call center is needed. You might just be hearing this for the first time without having a detailed knowledge of the call center. The call center is a facility that helps a company in handling a large number of customers’ telephone requests through instant delivery services. This telephone request the call center dealt with is for both new customers and the existing ones. A call center helps the company in managing the customer experience for satisfactory service delivery. The call center helps in meeting the needs of both the clients and the organization. Those people that work in this unit or provides instant delivery solutions are often called call agents. This unit helps in entertaining urgent inquiries of the customers and provides immediate delivery solutions where needed.
Types of call center
The call center is into two categories:
1- Captive Call center
2- Third-Party all center.
Captive call center
Under this form of call center, the call agents only deal with the customers of a company. It is a call center set up by a company to manage the company’s customers’ experience and satisfaction. It is mostly a subsidiary of the parent organization. Some companies opt for captive call centers for proper optimization of cost and quality service provision. This form of call center grows depending on the growth of the company that establishes it.
Third-party call center
The third-Party center deals with two or more companies that can be from the same industry or more than one sector. This call center is profit-oriented. It focuses more on increasing the profit of the company and the revenue billing. In this form of call center, the growth occurs when the client’s company grows or by getting a new client(s).
Functions of a call center in this 21st century
Call centers perform many tasks in the customer care service and delivery solutions service of every company. They primarily help the company in building the customer experience. They serve as the solution provider to some of the problems of the customers as touching the company services. Other functions the call center performs for the company include:
Respondent to customer’s complaints and queries:
They serve as an agent of the company that helps in responding to the claims and questions of the customers. Hence, the company functions in managing the customer experience and satisfaction. It also helps in enhancing the company’s service to the customers.
Provision of instant response to customer’s urgent inquiries:
The call center unit has been helpful in the regulation of swift response to urgent customer complaints or requests. The customers don’t need to have face-to-face contact with the company’s representative any longer for the meeting of their urgent inquiries.
Tracking of the customers’ wants and needs:
The call center helps in keeping the company informed of the needs of the customers. Hence, the customer needs to get instant delivery solutions. They do through feedbacks and comments from the customers during calls. It also helps the company in improving its service delivery to its customers.
Provision of information and advice to the customers:
Some customers get to know more about a particular product or service through their relationships with the call center. They also help in giving advice and recommendations to the customers on some issues that call for such.
Managing of Business-customer relationship:
The call center helps a lot in building a mutual relationship between the company and the customers by providing delivery solutions on-demand. They help in keeping the new and existing customers through the roles as a solution provider to customers’ problems; they give the audience to the customers and ensure an appropriate response. Also, they ensure that the information is being relayed to the appropriate department immediately for some issues that demand instant delivery solutions. Hence, they provide a solution to the problem without wasting customers’ time and maintaining customers’ experience.
Step-by-step guide in building a better call center
The call center for delivery services building is very relevant. Any business needs to build a call center in a bid to enhance its customer experience and instant delivery solutions provision. If a company is to remain valiant under the current market conditions, the call center is needed. However, many companies do face numerous challenges in managing call centers. Hence, the step-by-step guide in building a better call center will be discussed exhaustively here to help out. For a call center established, many factors are put into consideration. Right planning must be done to ensure a proactive measure is taken to forestall failure of the call center. Planning is one of the essential undertaken in setting up a call center. The plan has a way of influencing the operation of the call center after establishment. The following factors are put into consideration in establishing a better call center:
Setting a business plan or model
According to a famous saying that “he who fails to plan, plans to fail.” The company’s business plan tailored towards accommodating the establishment of the call center. The business plan must contain the kind of delivery services to offer and the target customer’s group to be delivered. Before venturing into this, two things considered are your skill level and the competition. In deciding this, it’s more beneficial to focus on a profitable niche with low competition suitable for your skillset.
What sort of service do you want to offer?
Nowadays, call centers have been facing one challenge called competition. The competition is not just limited to the local or national level; it’s all over the globe. The intensity of the game has made it difficult to get rates with simple solutions. The way to getting a better margin is by offering services for the high-end niches.
This market atmosphere is not a conducive one for less captive call centers. A veteran top management member with an excellent professional network can be useful in breaking the barrier. Another possible way to overcome the competition is to gain professionalism by getting quality certifications for your services. It would help in communicating the quality of your operation to the new/potential customers. More so, operational cost should be reduced, to ensure the offering of a better rate to your respondent. You must provide your company’s active participation in the industry to create awareness for potential customers. It is noteworthy that you ensure that you get the company oriented in the offering of unique solution packages. So it would help in gaining market shares. Before a call center for delivery services is established, the business must have obtained reasonable numbers of contracts. Hence, operation backed up with constant income will follow.
Mode of service offering
In establishing the call center for delivery services, the best strategy to use is one of the essential elements to consider. The most appropriate service strategy of the company needs to attract careful thoughts to make the final decision. To ensure making the right decision, the company needs to take its time to pick from available options. Some of the available options for a call center are:
- In-housing call center
- Shared infrastructure
- Our-sourcing call center
Hotlines help in addressing the sharp increase in the queries and complaints of the customers. Although they might not categorically refer to as call centers, they are useful to meet instant delivery solutions. The hotlines are required during the launching of a new product or when managing a campaign activity. Hotlines usage doesn’t demand much investment in an Information technological or telephone infrastructures. They help save costs, by only focusing on the call agents, trained in handling calls. However, hotlines are not suitable when there are big calls for an extended period.
Shared Infrastructure helps the call centers who have a low volume of calls that don’t demand to establish an autonomous call center. It involves using another company call center infrastructure without sharing the set-up costs. In this mode of operation, all that is incurred by the recipient company is contractual cost. This mode of operation aims to ensure productivity and quality service.
Planning for the implementation of the call center for delivery services
After preparing for business, there is a need to plan for the establishment of a call center. In planning for the establishment of the call center, the objective of the call center should clearly state. More so, you must also ensure that the technological tools for the operation of the call center are determined. You must also ensure that there’s a proper plan for the availability of data and technology integration. While setting up a call center, operational cost management has to be put into consideration. Proactive planning is needed in your preparation to accommodate future changes.
While you’re setting up your call center, the objectives have to establish first. The goal comes first, before venturing into the selection of the technological tools and the suitable number of call agents to employ. For you to measure the success of the call center, the call center’s objective is the best parameter to operate. Hence, the call center’s goals determine the type of technological equipment to procure. More so, the call center agents’ quality and quantity to be employed are learn by the objectives. The objective could be to improve the customer experience by offering a 24/7 support service or to run a ViaMe courier call center. Some organizations’ goals could include to reduce and manage the complaint received from the customers. Hence, it is essential to set an objective first as it projects the real picture and purpose of the call center.
Setting size for the call center
Before establishing a call center, this is a significant factor you need to think well. You must gather sufficient data before making a final decision. Things like numbers of the current received calls, call duration, and the nature of the request noted. Time for processing data, staff availability (considering leave and absenteeism) and changes in peak traffic are also noteworthy. You must also take note of the time taken in data analytics and paperwork related to calls. The call center is affected by all of these factors. Hence, sophisticated data must be collected to determine the size of the call center.
Staff planning is essential, while one intends to set up any call center for delivery services. After the sizing of the call center has been known, there is a need to determine the personnel needed. The number of call agents required for setting up and for the next three years of growth is likely to ascertain. The structure of the organization should be well studied, and the required skill levels for each role should be determined. You should also ensure that the recruitment process and timeline set. Finally, you must ensure that briefing and induction training for newly recruited staff are designed to enhance efficiency.
For any company to grow and develop at this present time and age, there is a need to adopt the new technologies. New technologies adoption has been proven useful in different companies. However, while you are thinking of the technology to use, there are some things you should put into consideration. Firstly. The budget is available for setting up the call-centre. Secondly, the volume of the calls that have been received by the parent company overtime. Thirdly, the size of the parent organization is also into consideration. Lastly, the level of sophistication needed for the call-centre must be determined. Various telephony technologies considered when establishing the call-centre for delivery; they include:
Basic telephone system:
It allows the call agents to have separate helplines that permits them to receive and make calls.
A single contact number:
This allows the customer to place their call through a toll-free helpline number — this the most straightforward telephony technological equipment for call-centres.
Private Automatic Branch Exchange System (PABX system): this form of technology allows a caller to reach a call agent or department by just dialling an extension.
Automatic call distribution (ACD):
This helps the call of a customer to place on hold until when the call agent is free to respond to the request. It is flexible as it helps in improving customer service
Interactive voice response:
This system use routing in appeal to the appropriate agent as selected by the customers calling. However, this could complicate the issue for customers if the IVR menu is not designed well. It could affect the satisfaction of the customers if it is too complex. Hence, while trying to develop the IVR menu, simplicity should be considered.
Computer telephony integration (CTI):
This telephony technology allows call agents to access transactions and customers’ information as soon as the call is routed. Large call centers for delivery services majorly use this system.
Other available telephony technological equipment is predictive dialer, Automatic Call Recording; Noise Reduction Headsets, Live Chat, and host of others.
Technical integration and data availability
The call-centre set up demands to pay careful attention to some things. One of those things that you need to pay careful attention to is the architecture of the data. Reason being that it has a way of affecting the cost you incur in the operation of the call-centre. In the case of a third-party call-centre, the accessibility and the integrity of the data is crucial. Your system must be designed to give the call agents easy access to clients’ information as quickly as needed.
Moreover, you can create some levels of rapport with the customer base of your client to create interlink. Direct access to their database will be much helpful. It will help you in setting up their customers’ database interface on your call-centre system. For a third-party call-centre, at least decide the IT cost you would bear for your client company. The part taken by your client’s company should also be clearly stated. Doing this would help decide the volume of redundancy to build into the architecture of the system. The system you make must also be one that would be able to timestamp and track call outcomes automatically. You can get suitable software to address your needs from vendors in the IT market.
Managerial, operational cost
Unforeseeable events could pop up in the course of your operation. Hence, you need to create room for this so as not to alter the financial plan of the call-centre. It is essential to ensure that you put everything required in place to forestall the unintended increase in the operational cost. You need to set a part of a contingency fund to ensure the cash flow not intercepted.
While planning to set up a better call center, you must carry along some critical members of the top management. While you are planning, make sure heads of Human Resource, Information Technology, and Call Centre Operations are involved. This is because they are the ones using your call-centre services. There is a need for you to take a survey to know the form of services you should offer through your call service. It also helps in understanding the preferred telephony technology by the clients, which helps in your own choice. You will be able to see the opportunity, attitudes, and perceptions of the customers to each of the technological equipment.
While planning on setting up, you must also ensure that your call-centre architecture is future-proofed. You must factor in changes that could come up in the future that could affect the call-centre architecture. You must be aware of the new development in the client’s industry in case of the third-party call-centre. Also, you must be mindful of the latest buzz in the technological world as they arrive. Your plan must be flexible to accommodate all these changes.
In achieving the objectives of the call-centre, there is a need for the operation of proper governance. One of the highest operational costs of a call-centre is staff. Consequently, retention strategies of call agents and structure growth paths introduce building a better call center. You must ensure that the Human Resource Department institutionalize management operations. All the HR activities ranging from recruitment down to staff discipline should be well documented. The staff motivation, training, and retention strategies should be well thought out based on exchange theory (cost and benefit).
Furthermore, the hiring of temporal call agents to handle peak loads could be useful. You must also pay attention to making rosters and schedules for your staff while establishing a better call center. Your planning must also account for some levels of redundancy that could arise from such as technological failure, fire outbreak, absenteeism. All these would, in a great deal, affect the continuity of the call-centre.
Performance metrics of the Call Centre
The measuring of productivity and quality of the call-centre is crucial from the start. This metric, in a way, affects your choice of telephony technology. Also, this determines the required skill levels of call agents to employ in the call-centre. In addition to tracking internal productivity, the satisfaction of the customers also discovered.
Furthermore, the agents’ performance should incorporate into the planning process. The satisfaction of the staff must not even be underestimated while setting performance metrics. The call agents’ production and achievement affect the outcome of the call-centre. Hence, you must pay attention to them.
There is a need for any business to build a call-centre in a bid to enhance its customer experience. If a company would remain valiant under the current market conditions, the call-centre is needed. However, many companies do face many challenges in managing their call-centres. Establishing a better call center is a task that needs to be well planned. Before the call-centre installing, the business plan of the company must first be settled, as other projects will rest on this. In preparing for the establishment of the call-centre, the objective of the call-centre should be clear.
Furthermore, the size of the call-centre is predetermined before the establishment. In addition, you also need to ensure that the technological tools for the call-centre process are deployed. You also need to make sure that there is a plan in place for the integration of data and technology. Operational cost management should be considered when setting up your call-centre. Your plan also needs to be dynamic in order to accommodate future changes. In achieving the objectives of the call-centre, there is a need for the operation of proper management. The measuring of productivity and quality of the call-centre must be done from the start. With all these guides, a better call center with instant delivery solutions can be established.