5 Tips for Starting a Contact Center
For small businesses, your time is pulled in a thousand different directions and it may seem easier to just guide customers to an email or voicemail where you can contact them at your leisure.
But whether your goal is to increase sales or better serve your customers, a contact center should be an integral part of your strategy because it allows you to create real and personal connections with prospects or customers.
It’s important, though, to know what you need and what you don't. The right decisions will not only affect the direction of your contact center but your business' bottom line.
Here are five things to keep in mind as you make the important decisions and that will help you guide your business growth, stay ahead of your needs, and worry less about playing catch-up.
Tip#1 Have a Plan of Attack
How many people in our office speak to customers or prospects on the phone? How do the callers get to the right people that can actually help them? Is it a positive or negative experience for the caller?
These are just some of the questions you should be thinking about.
Determining the right plan of attack often times starts with taking a look at the current state of your business and identifying what’s working, what’s not, and where you want to be.
Tip #2 Know Your Software Needs for Starting a Contact Center
Each type of contact center (inbound, outbound, and blended) requires different solutions for their specific function.
Since an inbound contact center is responsible for fielding inbound customer service or sales calls, it requires an ACD (Automatic Call Distributor). This will route calls to the correct agents.
An outbound contact center needs a predictive or auto dialer. Predictive dialers connect agents only to calls answered by actual people. This increases efficiency and helps lower costs.
Blended contact centers support both inbound and outbound call operations, so they require both an ACD and a predictive dialer.
Of course, you can always build out additional features, as needed.
Tip #3 Know Your Hardware Needs
It’s also important to take into consideration what your hardware needs are going to be.
If you plan on hosting the contact center in-house, remember that you are responsible for overhead costs. These include facilities, telephony, and workstations, to name a few.
These days, more companies are looking into cloud-based solutions. This means no maintenance costs, access to platform updates and upgrades, and frees up your IT resources.
Just remember that if you are storing important data in the cloud (like contact information or credit card data), your contact center must meet the necessary levels of compliance and security.
Tip #4 Management and Monitoring
It’s important to have guidance and reassurance that your contact center is heading in the right direction.
So make sure things like live monitoring and performance reports are a part of your plan from the get-go.
This allows management to listen in on calls or make suggestions to help guide your agents so that they in turn can offer the best care possible.
Tracking KPIs and other important data with performance reports makes it easy to find areas of improvement.
Tip #5 Keep an Eye Towards the Future
Your contact center must be able to meet your requirements now, but also be scalable for what the future will bring. If your business is wildly successful and you suddenly need 10 more people on the phones tomorrow, would your contact center be able to scale?
Seamless integration of new features, functionality, or even personnel could mean the difference between success and failure.
Starting a contact center can be daunting, but the impact it will have on the growth of your business, makes it an easy one.
Follow the five tips that we’ve outlined and you’ll already be halfway there.