With the world economy shifting its focus to the service sector, call centres have become a very important and inevitable endeavour in the business world. As lucrative as it may sound, it is not an easy task to set up a call centre business. It requires a lot of planning, visualisation and promptness in executing these plans. This article will give a layout of how to go about starting a call centre business.
- Deciding the Type of Setup
- Identifying the Main Focus
- Setting a Framework
- Finding Location
- Handling the Paperwork
- Making a Budget
- Building a Strong Team
- Using the Right Tools
Steps to Follow for Setting up a Call Centre
Setting up a call centre requires a great amount of research, planning, technology, and proper execution. The following are the basic steps one needs to follow when setting up a call centre business:
Deciding the Type of Setup
There are different ways to go about setting up a business. Hence, it is of utmost importance to have a clear idea of the nitty-gritty of the business that is being established. In the case of call centre businesses, there are two types - On-site call centres and Virtual call centres. As the name rightly conveys, an on-site call centre functions from a physical office which is ideal for a big team with high compliance and strong security requirements. On the other hand, virtual call centres operate remotely with most of the client interaction happening through the internet. While this is less expensive, it is important to use the right tools to avoid its flip sides adversely affecting the business.
The right fit for a call centre business will depend on a lot of factors including the number of employees being hired, clients, their requirements, nature of the data handled, the kind of assistance that needs to be provided and so on. Based on the basic decision made, further variations of the call centre have to be finalised.
Identifying the Main Focus
Narrowing down the vision and goals of any business is important considering the number of details that are dependent on this decision. The nature of the service that is being provided and the industry on which the call centre will be focusing have to be decided beforehand. A call centre, depending on its focus may be the one that cold calls the clients with offers or might be focused on resolving customer issues.
The call centres that take up incoming calls and focus on customer complaint resolution are called inbound call centres. On the other hand, the call centres that are run by a sales team to sell their offers and products are called outbound call centres. So, the next step is to decide whether you want to focus on the inbound or outbound call centres.
Setting a Framework
Having a framework is necessary to streamline the business operations along the lines of its larger goals and visions before the business is set up. The framework should include a clear layout of how many people should be employed, the processes that have to be implemented, operations that have to be handled and the bifurcation of the costs involved amongst other things.
This is the most important part of setting up a call centre business wherein there are a lot of legal and geographical aspects that need to be considered. Countries like India and the Philippines are largely prioritised for setting up call centre businesses due to their low wages, suitable corporate laws and low setup costs. However, offshoring call centre business to foreign countries only for the sake of financial benefits can be a risky affair, if one is not completely aware of the ways in which things work in different countries.
Handling the Paperwork
The hassle caused by the amount of documentation to set up a call centre can be tiring. It is important to steer clear of any issues that are associated with it. Before starting any business for that matter, it is essential to talk to a lawyer and stay in touch with the local government to ensure that the paperwork is updated and clear. If the call centre business is being offshored, extra paperwork is inevitable. Relevant professional help has to be taken so as to cater to the needs of foreign legal documentation and procedures.
Making a Budget
A call centre business calls for specific expenses catering to the focus and goals of the company which needs to be carefully managed. The business will have to spend on call centre equipment, websites, marketing, infrastructure, salaries etc. If the budget for each of these expenses is not laid down properly, it can lead to unnecessary spending. What constitutes the right budget will depend purely on the nature of the respective call centre business. Hence, deciding on a realistic budget is very important in the case of setting up a call centre business just as in the case of other businesses.
Building a Strong Team
No matter how good the business idea is, the human resource that guides the idea into perfection is the crucial part of it. Hence, who and how you hire is a very important detail. Depending on the nature, size and requirements of the call centre business, there should be a precise layout on the number of employees to be hired. A virtual call centre has the additional advantage of being able to hire talents from any part of the world without housing and immigration becoming a problem.
Building a strong team is not just about hiring people, but also about having the right mix of talents and clarity in the nature of standards that the entire process of hiring needs to be kept in mind. The team-building process doesn’t end here, they have to be trained appropriately to carry out the specific tasks of the respective business. For this, relevant training and development programmes have to be organised every now and then to ensure better productivity.
Using the Right Tools
The correct usage of relevant tools is the smart way of doing business when it comes to running a call centre business. Some of the common tools that any call centre business needs to have are the Business Phone System as a basic phone system cannot handle the heavy traffic of phone calls that comes its way. Another important tool that would be handy is a CRM System (Customer Relationship Management System) which will help you store customer records and access them whenever necessary. A CRM will help the call centre handle a large amount of data and contacts in a single button.
A call centre business not only has to communicate with their clients but also with their team. In order to facilitate this communication, an Internal Communication System has to be established as well. Software like Zendesk, CloudTalk, and more are excellent options that are being used by virtual call centres these days.
Setting up a call centre business can be really profitable but it is not an easy task. It requires a lot of planning and financial discipline. As far as this business is concerned, outsourcing call centres to other countries is a common practice. In that case, utmost attention has to be given to the legal aspects of that particular country. Having a clear focus, hiring the right people and using the right tools can help the call centre business establish itself in the most successful manner.
What types of companies have call centres?
The following business industries use call centres to improve their efficiency and promote customer satisfaction:
- Financial Services
- Healthcare Services
- Consulting Services
- Automobile Mechanics
- Utility Providers
What are the 3 types of call centres?
The 3 types of call centres are:
- Inbound call centres
- Outbound call centres
- Virtual call centres
What skills are needed for a call centre?
A call centre agent should have the following skills:
- Good verbal communication skills
- Good listening skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Understanding of the products or services being offered