Have you ever found yourself struggling to manage the emails, messages, and other communication you receive from your customers? Maintaining and managing a quality customer support service can be a huge challenge for a lot of small and medium sized businesses. The people shopping with you will have high expectations when it comes to the support you provide, but the time and resources it can take to provide this can be a real challenge. So what does it take to build a successful call center?
- Why Take Calls?
First, though, it makes sense to think about why you might want to go down this route rather than simply focusing on email or live chat communication. While talking on the phone can work out to be a more expensive way to handle customer service, it’s the method which works best for the vast majority of customers. This means that companies which don’t offer phone numbers will often be overlooked by people looking to spend money with them.
Of course, this isn’t always the case, and some people prefer to use more modern methods. If you’re going to reach as many people as possible, though, it’s crucial that you offer options which appeal to everyone. Alongside this, some issues are simply easier to solve by phone than any other method.
- Research & Learning
Before you can begin the process of building your call center, it will be crucial that you spend some time learning about this sort of work. Posts like 15 Best Practices For Effective Call Center Management can help with this, though it also makes sense to talk to businesses which work to help call centers. Spending some time to learn about the challenges which come with an environment like this can vastly improve your chances of success.
A lot of people ignore this stage of this process, choosing to get straight on with planning how their system is going to work. This can cause some problems when you encounter your first challenges, though, and it makes sense to handle this before you get into the real work. In most cases, you should be able to work through these issues on paper, adding solutions to your plan as you go along.
- The Software
Once you’ve done some learning, you will be able to start thinking about how your call center is going to work. In the past, calls would be routed into these places by hand, with people sitting at a switchboard manually diverting calls to the right people. Nowadays, though, all of this work can be handled by software. Not only does this make it cheaper to get started, but it also makes it easier to fit your call center into a small place.
Tools like Office 365 are perfect for this. While you may not need all of the features they come with, their PBX tools make it possible to handle your call center work through Skype for Business. Most professionals will already have some experience with tools like this, and this makes it nice and easy to get them started with it.
Alongside the software being used to make calls, it will also make sense to spend some time looking into software which can help you to record calls. While this will mean that you have to tell your customers that you’re recording them, it can save a lot of trouble if you find yourself getting complaints about your customer service. Not only will you be able to check back to make sure that your team is using the right scripts and language, but you will also be able to save recordings to use a training tool in the future.
- The Hardware
Thanks to modern call centers using software for their calls, the hardware you need to handle this work is nice and easy to get your hands on. Having an on-premises PBX server can be a good idea, as this will enable you to keep calls secure without having to rely on a third-party system which could go down. Aside from this, though, you shouldn’t need to spend too much on getting the hardware you need.
Each call operator will need their own computer, and this needs to be powerful enough to handle all of their work. Alongside this, they will also need some sort of headset with a microphone to work with. It’s crucial that you buy headsets which are designed for call centers, or you could find that your calls are filled with background noise and the sound of other operators talking. There are loads of options for this on the market, and you should be able to find examples which will offer comfort, high call quality, and proper sound isolation without spending too much money.
- The Office
Your call operators wouldn’t be able to get very far without some sort of office space to work from. Desks will be a crucial part of this, and a lot of offices are choosing desks which can be used from sitting or standing positions, nowadays. People don’t need to have their own cubicles, though it could be worth having barriers between desks so that people can’t invade each others work space.
Alongside desks, you also need to think about the chairs you provide to your team. Most countries have laws which dictate the type of chairs which have to be used in offices, and these are often referred to as 24-hour chairs. This means that they are designed to be used for long stretches without causing comfort or health problems for the people using them. Some offices will also provide foot and wrist rests for their teams, but this is something which can be offered to those who want it, rather than giving them to everyone.
- The Team & Training
Once you have an office, some computers, and all of the software you need to handle your call center work, you’re going to need some people to fill the seats. Call center jobs are very popular in the modern world, and it’s not too hard to find people who are willing to do this job. Taking on the support of a recruitment company can be well worth it, though, as this will make it easier to find candidates which have the right skills for your office.
It makes sense to give people training as soon as they join your business. This should be specific to their role and the products or services you offer, preparing them to answer common questions without having to look for help. Alongside this, you should also train them to use the software which your business relies on. There are few things worse than making a customer wait for something simple, and this means that training your team properly will be essential.
Of course, though, you can’t forget about privacy and compliance. Handling sensitive information has to be done correctly, and this means that you have to train your team to make sure that they aren’t going to leak any information. You can pay for courses which will handle this for you, ensuring that you can show the authorities that you’ve done the right thing with your team to make sure that they are in a good place with their work.
- The Policies
There are few things worse than providing inconsistent customer service, nowadays. People will often share their experiences on social media, and this means that giving one person something which you’ve refused to give others can land you in a sticky spot. Having solid policies in place is a good way to handle this, giving your team members something to refer to when they’re forced to make a decision. For example, you should have a clear policy in place for refunds, and this should both be in line with the law and the sort of support you’d offer on your other channels.
You can find examples of the sort of policies companies like yours already have all over the web. When you read the terms and conditions you find on the websites you visit, you will be able to see what other companies are doing. Of course, as a big part of this, you will also need to learn a little bit about consumer law. People know their rights, and will be happy to let you know if you’ve done the wrong thing. Avoiding this is nice and easy, though; stay on top of what you’re supposed to offer.
With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of building a successful call center. This resource can be a powerful one for modern businesses, with a lot of small companies ignoring this vital form of communication. Not only will offering your phone number make you stand out, but it could also help you to get sales, as you customers will be able to ask questions without having to email, message, or search for the answers themselves.