How To Set Up A Call Center From Scratch

April 28, 2020

A recent global report showed that 96% of respondents cited customer experience as important in their choice of loyalty to a brand. For companies hoping to expand their reach and influence in 2020, numbers like this are simply too high to ignore. But what can your business do to improve overall customer experience?

Achieving customer satisfaction isn’t easy. Globalization has increased competition on the open market and companies must find ways to distinguish themselves from the pack. Fortunately, technology affords us many opportunities to stay competitive and meet customer needs at the same time. At OmniLegion, we’re putting our focus on improving customer experience with innovative high tech solutions for your business. Read on to learn more about how to set up a call center from scratch.

Does your company need to set up a call center?

Start with determining whether your company could benefit from a call center. What percentage of calls to your business are customer related? If your team is fielding numerous calls from customers with questions about your product or service on a daily basis, you may need to set up a call center separate from day-to-day operations.

Take some time to monitor customer service-focused activities at your company. Have your team members write down each time they handle a customer service-related issue and ask them to include the details of each call, including how long the call takes, what the question is, what challenges the customer is experiencing, and whether the customer found the call to be satisfactory.

This initial step may take some time but you’ll have a chance to gather meaningful data as to whether a call center would be a good solution for your company right now. You will also learn whether company time is being used in the most efficient way possible. In addition, you’ll also gain feedback about your product and how it’s working through the customer’s eyes.

How can starting a call center improve customer satisfaction?

Woman at counter register paying with credit card

Understandably, 65% of global respondents and 79% of millennials have expressed a more favorable view of companies that offer a mobile-responsive customer service portal. A company that can resolve issues in real time will show that it cares about its customers while exuding a responsible and professional demeanor. At the same time, your customers will feel empowered by being able to speak with a customer representative and sharing feedback with the company.

But do you actually need a call center to help customers? Consider the difference between calling a busy team member focused on numerous tasks as opposed to a department especially trained to handle customer needs. More likely than not, the call center will be better equipped and ready to handle any challenges a customer may have regarding company products. 

From an operational perspective, it’s more efficient for your team members to be working on assigned tasks at a given time rather than interrupted by numerous service-related calls. If your company is receiving more service calls than your current team can handle, it may be time to introduce a call center to company operations.

Setting up a call center

Three vintage telephones on wall
  1. What are the purpose and goals of your call center?

Once you’ve established that setting up a call center would be helpful to your company, team, and customers, the next step is figuring out the purpose and goals of your call center. A general aim to improve customer relations is a good start but getting more specific will allow you to make informed decisions for the future of your call center.

The data and feedback you received while monitoring service-related calls will come in handy at this point. Categorize your data into different categories, such as:

  • Customer Needs. These include customer challenges and concerns regarding your product/services, positive feedback from customers, and any suggestions from customers. You may find your customers have a lot of technical questions. If so, you may need to set up a technical support call center and train some of your agents on how to handle technical calls.
  • Team/Agent Observations. These may be challenges your team had in helping customers, and any other feedback regarding customer service calls, whether they are positive, negative, or neutral
  • Technology. What software, if any, is your team using to help customers over the phone? Is it helpful? Is there anything lacking in the program that would help them handle customer needs more efficiently?
  • Metrics. Take into account information such as call volume, days/times your customers call the most, what areas they’re calling from, whether the callers are new customers or returning customers, etc.

Each of these categories and the data you collect for them will be instrumental in determining the budget of your call center, what days and times your call center will be available, how many agents you need at the call center, and how to train them. You’ll also learn if your company has any blind spots when it comes to the quality of your product and how it’s working. Finally, you’ll get a better sense of what technology your business is missing in order to provide the best customer experience possible.

  1. How to budget for your call center
Pink piggy bank

Budgeting for a call center involves not only allocating enough resources for setup but also the time it will take to get the call center rolling. In addition, you’ll want to factor in any new equipment and/or technology you’ll be needing for the call center.

Keep in mind it might take a few months to get your call center started. If you need to hire call center agents as well as a manager, it will take time to maneuver through the hiring process, onboard new employees, and train them to become familiar with the product and handle customer calls in a timely and pleasant manner. Further, if your company space is limited, you may have to consider renting a space from which to operate the call center. Finally, you’ll have to invest in software and technology that your agents can use to speak with customers across various channels, access customer information and store inventory, and make changes in customer accounts.

You may also want to consider saving time and energy by looking into technology that can create intelligent interactions with customers, such as Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) Connect Program. This cost efficient solution means you can skip the hiring process, keep your call center open for longer periods, save valuable time and resources, and cut down on labor, overhead, and additional operating costs. To learn more about setting up an automated call center, check out what we do at OmniLegion here.

  1. Calculating the scalability of your call center

Scalability is an important concern for growing businesses. As you increase your inventory or develop more products and services for your customers, how will you make sure your call center can continue to provide top notch customer service? Planning ahead for company growth will help your call center flourishing.

For example, if you’re opening up a new location to situate your company’s call center, allow for some extra room in case you need to hire new customer service representatives a few years from now. Budget ahead for new hires and training time when you’re budgeting for an increase in products and services. Remember that you may need to train agents again each time your company introduces new products or services to the market.

This may be another reason to consider an automated call center program that specializes in intelligent customer service. Scalability is more easily measured with automated software and you won’t have to worry about wasting resources if your company doesn’t grow as expected. Scaling up as well as scaling down is more manageable with the right technology.

  1. Deciding on the location of your call center
Office workspace with long tables

If you’re considering hiring new customer service representatives, you’ll have to accommodate them in an appropriate working environment. You may also consider at this point whether you can save on overhead costs by allowing representatives to work from home. Of course, you’ll still need to provide the proper equipment, such as headsets, and connection software for call center representatives and coach your call center manager on running a remote support center. Another concern is keeping customer data safe when dispersed across multiple remote locations.

The location of the call center may be near your company’s headquarters so that you can travel easily between the two places. Or you may choose a location central to where many of the call center reps are located. Remember to include the costs of monthly rent, utilities, and other overhead expenses into your call center budget.

  1. How to choose the right technology for your call center?
Man on headset using computer

Choosing the right technology for your call center is key to providing a smooth customer experience. The average consumer is more tech savvy than ever and expects an efficient and productive resolution when communicating with your support team. Your call center should be able to access individual customer account information, pull up available inventory, and perform tasks for the customer across all channels of communication. Moreover, transferring customers from department to department and asking them to repeat their questions will only cause confusion and frustration, negatively affecting the customer’s experience.

It’s important therefore to choose an omnichannel platform so that your customers are quickly directed to the right department and can get help right away. Consider a service such as Amazon Connect that allows your chat center to communicate with customers through telephone as well as mobile and web chat functions. Telephone services are included in Amazon Connect so that you don’t have to worry about finding a new phone provider. 

Finally, if you’re considering using intelligent conversational bots and virtual assistants rather than hiring agents, you can leverage a number of Amazon solutions such as Connect, Polly, and Lex to create a sophisticated call center experience for your customers. Find out more about how OmniLegion can help you get set up.

  1. Monitoring the results of your call center
Computer screen with graph

Once your call center is up and running, it’s advisable to monitor the progress so that you can continue to improve your operations. Technology comes into play once again here. If you’ve chosen the right program for your call center, you can look at various metrics to gauge the success of the call center.

Amazon Connect offers the following metrics:

  • Historical reports. This allows you to generate reports to see how your contact center has performed over a certain period of time. You can generate granular or aggregated reports focusing on queues, individual agents, and/or phone numbers. Tracking these metrics can help you see patterns and trends in customer interactions.
  • Real-time metrics reports. These reports give you insight into how the contact center is performing in real time. You can view and analyze reports based on queues, agents, and routing profiles. This information empowers your company to see where wait times need to be improved, how agents are performing, and whether customers are being correctly routed to the appropriate department.
  • Contact search. This metric allows you to view detailed individual contact reports as well as find and play back call recordings. Playing back call recordings can help you fine-tune your call center operations as you’ll learn how to avoid time-wasting and replicate successful call resolutions for your customers.

Key Takeaways

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Setting up a call center can take a lot of preparation but is well worth the effort. With the right tools, a helpful call center can make all the difference in your customers’ experience, level of satisfaction, and loyalty to your brand. The valuable feedback you gain from opening up communication lines can also aid your company in improving services and products, developing better company practices, and making more informed decisions to foster future growth.

Because every company is unique, it makes sense to call in the experts when setting up a call center for the first time. At OmniLegion, we’ve partnered with Amazon Web Services to create the ultimate call center experience for your company. If you’re wondering how virtual assistants and conversational AI can help your business achieve its customer satisfaction goals, check out our services here.

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