#1 Outline the needs of your team
Having a solid understanding of your business goals is a half of success. First of all, you need to determine why you need a call center.
Talk it over with your team. Here are a couple of questions you could ask your fellow executives, managers, and yourself:
- What do we expect to gain with a call center?
- What functions and features do we need?
- What are the must-haves?
- What are the can’t haves?
- What size should it be?
- What is our budget?
One of the most important questions to address when starting a call center is staffing. It’s usually much easier to calculate a number of employees for an outbound facility since you get to decide how many calls to place. Based on your business goals, you can calculate how many agents you need exactly.
Here’s how we do it in Voiptime Cloud.
This estimate of the number of operators for outgoing calls is hypothetical and it doesn’t take into account a dialing mode (but even if you acknowledge the dialing mode, the number of operators won’t change dramatically).
Supposing, we need to manage 2000 calls daily and we expect to have 60% contact rate (to achieve this, 1200 calls must be successful).
Average duration of one call is 2 min. As our previous experience shows, actual talking time of one agent during the 6 hours working shift is 252 min (70%).
Thus, to accomplish a goal of 1200 unique successful calls per day with an average 2 min call duration and 70% agent’s occupancy, you’ll need to have 10 agents on the shift.
Outbound agent occupancy calculator will help you derive similar estimates and determine how many agents you need. In order to manage 200+ calls daily using our Predictive Dialer, you’ll probably need two or three agents, tops. If you handle incoming calls, you can use the Erlang calculator for estimation.
Once you spell out your needs and expectations, move on to the next step.
#2 Choose the right software
Anyone who had ever tried researching call center software would agree that it’s not that easy. At first glance, they all look the same, and many people assume that they work the same. Our advice is not to rush. Compare pricing plans and scalability, contact sales, schedule a couple of demos to see the software in action, make sure that it actually has the functions listed on their website. Most reputable call center software companies provide a free trial so that you could test all the features. Consider several options and choose the one that suits your needs best.
#3 Configure your software
Cloud-based solutions are “plug and play” options, but they still need some basic configuration. If we’re talking about the outbound call center, you should create teammates, import contacts for phone dialing, set up outbound campaigns, configure redialing intervals, maybe purchase a local number for some other region. You might also need to integrate your call center solution with other business apps you use.
Once you have your call center software optimized, test it out. Go through different scenarios so that you are sure that everything is configured optimally. The better you check it, the fewer angry prospects you’ll meet along the way.
#4 Provide training for your team
Before your call center is up and running, you need to assure that your agents know how to use it effectively. Conduct a comprehensive practical training, answer all their questions, provide troubleshooting tips and discuss all the possible scenarios. Take your time to educate everybody so that they won’t feel lost if something unexpected happens. It’s an essential condition of a smooth launch.
#5 Ensure proper monitoring (and adjust accordingly)
Setting up a new call center is a somewhat difficult process that rarely goes perfectly, so don’t worry if you encounter a few bumps on the road. Your goal is to mitigate issues as they occur rather than avoid them. Normally, a call center software vendor provides support all the way through implementation, so you could use this help.
There’s also a lot you can do yourself to make a transitional period as smooth as possible. This includes monitoring live calls of your agents for coaching purposes, analyzing call center data in order to detect possible hardships your agents encounter, etc. All this information is very helpful as it shows a complete picture and detects areas of improvement.
The first two weeks are the hardest, so be prepared to face difficulties. Most importantly, remember that the real magic happens after the adaptation period; that’s when you’ll see first results.