Ever called up a support number for a product you’ve been using or for a product you want to buy? These calls are connected to a real person with whom you can talk about the issues you are facing or just to get some info about a product that their company sells. Call centers have totally changed the way end users can connect with the organizations or companies. Getting support from a real person on a call is far better than contacting them on email and getting replies after a certain delay.
Read more about WPX web hosting coupon and discounts
But there is more to running a call center than it seems. An efficient call center isn’t just started by buying a bunch of telephones, hiring a bunch of staff and getting them all together. There are deep processes and arrangements that are needed to be made in order to run an efficient call center. Let us know more about call centers and call center services in this article.
What is a call center?
A call center is an office that is used for receiving as well as making calls for different purposes in huge numbers. A company might be having a call center for different reasons which includes providing support to customers, to provide information to customers, to perform marketing by calling potential customers and providing them information about products you have and more. Not just companies but small organizations and even charities have their own call centers for their purposes. Most of the companies and it really doesn’t matter what they do have a call center that acts as their center of contact from people who may want to contact them for any purpose.
In a call center, a number of people sit with their calling systems which includes a computer, a headset or a phone and more equipment. We will talk about call center technology in detail later in this post. A call center obviously has a number of staff who are taking and making calls, but to manage all this there is also a supervisor who takes care of everything that is going on and makes sure that everything runs smooth.
Even a small glitch can create a ruckus in a call center considering the fact that a call center has to process a huge number of calls simultaneously and any type of failure will cause the whole operation to stop. If you want to read more about call centers, then it is recommended that you read the Wikipedia page for a call center where you will find more insights.
A call center can be used for different purposes out of which I already mentioned some before. Let us take a look at some detailed places where a call center is useful in the next section of this post.
What are call centers used for?
Any business or organization in which one has to deal with customers or people who are in some way related to them, it is important that there has to be a central point of contact between the company as well as the people so that people can connect with the company if they need any kind of help or information. A good company or an organization always takes care of users after the sales and this decided the factor which shows how much the company supports the customers or potential customers.
As an organization, having a separate call center makes sense as the amount of calls increase as your sales increase with time and instead of having your normal staff take the calls, it is a better choice to have a set of people who are trained and dedicated to help people over the phone. Many small businesses don’t have time to deal with customers and hence for them a call center will make it easy as all the support will be provided by a call center that they have and they could save time. But what exactly does a call center does?
This section of the post will explain the various uses that one can think of for a call center. Let’s get started.
After-sales support for customers
If you buy anything and face any kind of problem with it, the first thing that you do is contact the support staff of the company. Almost every company provides a number that you can call in order to get support. As soon as your call goes through, you get connected to a system that verbally guides you through a series of choices in a menu and after choosing the proper choices, you will be connected to a real human where you will be able to get personalized help. Any company that can pull this off properly is able to get cookie points for being a company that values their customers.
Ever received those calls in which you got to know about new schemes from companies, new products, etc.? A call center can also be used for marketing for a company’s product or schemes that they might have for people. Not everyone is connected or watches advertisements nowadays and this is where this use comes into play and plays an important role in bringing sales or to create an outreach for the company that is using a call center for this purpose.
Surveying & Research
Many companies like to perform surveys or research about their product to see how well the products they have in their portfolio are performing in the market. This lets the companies make sure that their product is up to the mark and exactly what the users expect from the company. Such surveys also help companies in manufacturing and producing new products for the market that helps them in selling more things and in turn generating more revenue.
To make sales & generate revenue
Many companies have options that allow customers to call in the call center of the company and place orders. People who have difficulty in shopping online or who cannot go out of their home for any reason can find this service really helpful. Not only does this help people to shop at convenience, but this also saves a lot of money that the company otherwise would have spent in having a physical store. These types of call centers also cover many other types of customers and companies never miss on orders they could have missed.
So, how does one run a call center efficiently?
Coming to the main point of the post, let us get right into the topic of providing points that will help you in running your own call center in an efficient manner and provide the best possible call center services.
Before starting a call center, one should take a look at the need of the call center in order to decide what type of equipment they are going to need. If a call center is going to be used entirely for marketing purposes, then a call center with only calling systems might work, but if a call center is being built from scratch for providing tech support, then it is important that the call center systems connect to the company’s CRM to provide the customers a personalized support.
The presence of a CRM software within the call center system makes sure that as soon as the customer calls in the center, all the details about the customer show up automatically on the call center executive’s system. This makes it easier for both parties to deal with the situation.
A call center is a place where calls are both made and received. You need people who are capable of talking to people and helping them without getting frustrated at all. A job at call centers can be stressful sometimes while dealing with a tough person on call, but this is when the capability of the call center executive is tested. One should always recruit executives who are friendly in nature and eager to help in any situations. People experienced in the past in call centers would be a great choice for your call center as well as they only need a bit of training and information about your company to get started with their jobs.
In-house vs. Outsourcing
When it comes to deciding whether you want to go for an in-house call center of your own, or go with an agency which will host the call center for you, you should take into account a lot of factors. Say, for a business that has just started up, it is not only difficult to maintain their own call center, but also very expensive. In such cases it is a very good idea to go to a vendor who provides a call center that you can host with them. Everything, including the staff, the system and the efforts will be taken care by the vendor who is hosting your call center.
But if you have a company with a huge number of customers and also a huge volume of calls to manage, then it is important that you get started with getting your own call center ready for better operations and customer service. Smaller organizations can also go to a call center that they create in their own office or place.
Make sure your Call Center is Scalable
As the time passes and your organization grow into something bigger, you need to make sure that your call center, which is there for providing support to your customers grows too. You should make sure that you have enough call center executives who are able to manage the volume of calls that are coming in. The quality of the service will only be good if the calls are easily manageable by your call center. It is important that you keep an eye on your call center operations as the reputation you gain is directly proportional to the service your company provides.
Keep a quality check on the calls
You cannot just leave everything to the call center executives, right? It is VERY important that you occasionally tap into the operations of your call center and see how things are going. A quality check from time to time makes sure that your call center staff is always on their toes knowing you are having an eye on them. Make sure you record the calls coming in or going out of your call center so that you can listen to them from time to time to make sure everything is going smooth. This is one of the many practices that call centers perform to provide better services.
Make sure your Call Center Supervisor is good!
This might seem like a small thing that should have been covered in the recruitment section, but having a good call center supervisor is really very important. A call center supervisor has to take care of many things at once, which means the supervisor has to be a brilliant multitasker who can take care of many things at once. If anything goes wrong in the call center, the supervisor should be able to tackle it with efficiency.
5 BEST CALL CENTER HEADSETS
When it comes to choosing the best call center headset, it is important to make sure you choose the best ones so that they can go through the rigorous work environment of a call center while giving the least amount of stress to the person who is wearing it. These headsets must have features like noise cancellation, clear audio and more in order to let the person who is wearing it listen to the audio clearly. Let us take a look at five of the best call center headsets that can be bought for a call center.
1. Sennheiser CC550
Sennheiser is one of the many companies that are known for the amazing audio and sound equipment that they manufacture. The Sennheiser CC550 is a great product that provides great noise cancelling microphone which is really important as with so many other people talking around a call center executive, the microphone has to pick up clear audio of the executive itself. It is good to have a microphone that cuts unnecessary noise and provides clear audio to the caller. The headset also has comfortable ear pads which are really comfortable and they make these headphones good for a longer period of usage. These pads also provide noise cancellation from all the noise around the wearer.
2. Plantronics HW251N
Plantronics is one more headset manufacturer who make really good headsets for call centers. This is one of the two headsets from the company that we are mentioning in this post. This is a monaural headset, which provides great noise cancellation when it comes to the performance of the microphone. The microphone cuts the background noise effectively and the ear pads on this headset can easily cancel the surrounding noise so that the wearer is able to listen to the person on the other side clearly.
3. Plantronics HW261N
The Plantronics HW261N is one of the best headsets in the call center industry. This headset is so good that even NASA has used them in one of their space missions. The headset is usable out of the box without any special installation and also provides great comfort and features. It comes with Wideband Audio for richness in sound and provides great noise cancellation when it comes to the microphone. The headset is extremely durable and can be used for a long period of time in one go.
4. Sennheiser Century SC 660
The Sennheiser Century SC 660 is one of the renowned headsets in call centers. The engineering applied on this headset shows as soon as you put it on and this headset is specifically known for being one of the most comfortable headsets out there. The Sennheiser’s patented ActiveGuard™ provides high acoustic protection which makes the sound crisp and clear. The wires are protected by Kevlar, which makes this headset durable. Though the headset falls on the higher side when it comes to pricing, it is important to notice that this is also a feature loaded headset.
5. Jabra Biz 2300
The Jabra Biz 2300 is a headset designed by keeping call center executives in mind. With features like a 360-degree boom arm and a Kevlar protected wire, this headset proves itself to be extremely durable. Not only that, but this headset provides great comfort while wearing as the ear pads are comfortable and soft. The noise cancellation on this headset is also good and the person on the other side receives crystal clear audio.
CASE STUDIES AND RESEARCH
In this section you can find some really interesting case studies about things that many companies went through while starting a new call center or just to improve the ones that they already had. These case studies can prove useful and provide real world insights on how one can tackle a problem while starting a call center.
Hartford City Call Center
Calling the City Hall of Hartford was a nightmare for people as they had to go through a long wait and each department had a different phone number. This was confusing, not only for people who were calling, but even the people who had to manage the calls. This was a problem that could easily be fixed by introducing a functional call center and this is exactly what the case study is about. Today, only one call made to a 3-1-1 number will make sure that you get connected to the correct department and this allows the management to make sure that they are able to manage thousands of calls a day.
Witness Systems Inc. and Blue Pumpkin Merger
Merger of two companies into one is a process that needs a lot of attention to detail or else many things can go wrong and affect both the companies financially and even in terms of work force. When both Witness Systems and Blue Pumpkin were going through a merger, it was important to make sure that customers of either of those companies never faced any problems due to the merger. This also meant that both of these companies had a separate workforce in their call centers, which needed to be managed after the merger. This is where workforce optimization comes in and this is a case study about exactly that.
Virgin Mobile’s Personalized Call Centers
Most of the people who use Virgin Mobile in Canada are in the age range of 20-30 which is relatively a young group of people. When you call a call center, you expect more than listening to the same scripted things, right? Having a call center executive that says things like “Yeah, that is a problem that would bug me too. Let me see how I can fix it for you.” is better than the one that just says “I am sorry about the issue. Let me get this checked.”. The person who is calling will instantly feel a connection with the executive. This is a case study about how Virgin Mobile pulled this off successfully.
Hosted Call Center selection for Emergency Response by State of Washington
The need for an emergency response team in times of a disaster is crucial. Much more crucial than that is the number of calls that are coming into the emergency response’s phone lines. This case study is about how the emergency response team of Washington chose their call center vendor after looking at all the aspects of a natural disaster.
Running a call center is definitely not an easy task. You can already see that there are a various number of things that one needs to take care of. Having good executives, a good supervisor, correct equipment and what not. We all can agree to one point that call centers have made our lives much easier. For an end user, getting support on call rather than email can be a great thing and even for businesses, call centers can save a lot of money and add up to their reputation by providing great service and support to users of their products.