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Checklist for Setting Up a Call Center

A call center is a big investment and a huge commitment for a business. Because of that, our customers often ask for our expertise on setting up a call center. We’re always here to help. While the process has become more streamlined as the industry, technology and market has grown, there are still a few key items that new call center owners need to keep in mind. The follow steps are ones that we share with our customers everyday and are essential to setting up a productive and successful call center.

Set business goals and objectives. Why a call center now? For what purpose?  Determining what you want the contact center operation to achieve for your organization is critical to a successful call center setup plan.  Once you determine the goal (is it to generate sales?), then you will want to see if there are any secondary objectives or business goals.  Establishing these goals and objectives is critical to success and to gauging that success in the future.

Determine if the call center will be physical or virtual.  Do you have the resources for a physical call center with in-house agents, or would your business benefit more from a virtual call center setup with remote agents?  If you decide to choose a physical call center, will you need one or multiple locations?

Discover any operational parameters or constraints.  Before you begin to physically set up the call center, you will want to examine your existing phone system.  Can it be integrated with what you are planning or do you need to upgrade your entire system?  It is also important to understand the clientele that will be calling the center as this might influence the call center choices.

Set a budget early on.  It is important to establish parameters regarding minimum and maximum expenditures very early into the call center setup project.  This will determine key factors, such as how many agents can be hired and what kind of telephony solutions can be used.

Establish the best team for your goals.  If the goal of your call center is to generate sales, then the best team for your goals would be a strong sales team, with some backup customer service support.  All of the call center representatives should be well educated, smart, intelligent, polite, and fluent in whichever language your customers speak.

Train your team for any (and all) potential situations.  Get a team together to determine what kind of inbound calls the call center agents should expect.  If you are an already established business, chances are someone is already answering these calls and questions.  Find that person, and see what it is that your customers and potential customers are asking.

Select important KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators).  Choose key performance indicators that will allow you to measure the success, internal workings, and productivity of the call center.  By selecting these early into the call center process, agents can be trained around them.

Finalize a disaster recovery plan.  A disaster recovery plan is an invaluable and critical tool to have in place.  Your customers expect you to be indestructible and prepared for any and all situations, and by expecting the unexpected and having a disaster recovery plan in place, your call center will have better odds of bouncing back from any disaster that may occur.

Promote the call center to other employees.  Make sure the rest of the employees within the company understand what’s happening within the call center, and what functions the call center representatives will perform.  If some employees need to coordinate with the agents to receive leads or update customer information, make sure they receive the proper training and tools to do so.

Evaluate the call center’s success.  After the call center has been in effect for a few months, make sure to evaluate.  Those KPIs that were established in the beginning will come in handy now.  By evaluating the call center frequently, you can ensure that operations are running smoothly, and what wrinkles should be smoothed out.  Take a long hard look at your call center operations and customer service and try to determine the best ways to optimize your performance.

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