Top 18 Tips to Start a BPO or Call Center

08-07-2016_5

Since time immemorial, what is the one thing that has always determined the success and failure of a business? If you’re reading this, then we can safely assume that you know the answer. Why, it is the customer of course. The customer is the one who purchases your product and avails of your services. If they like your services, then they are going to like you. If they like you, they would be recommending you to their peers and friends. And we do not have to reiterate how that would be good for business. If you’re running a business already, then you must be knowing the key to effective customer care. It would have to be a call center that uses the best available cloud contact center software.

Now the kind of call center you’re planning to start, or the kind of cloud calling software you’re planning to use makes a whole lot of difference. You see, a call center continues to be one of the most preferred and popular methods of communications between the respective companies and their customers. It doesn’t matter how far the landscape undergoes a change or how much it is influenced by the digital revolution; the importance of a call center never seems to diminish.

If your company is on the verge of financial difficulties, or you’ve noticed a marked decrease in the sales rates of your company, this one step could help you from disappearing into oblivion. By implementing a BPO (which stands for business process outsourcing) or simply a call center, you will be able to handle all the demands of running a customer care center without the additional costs and hassles that are usually associated with it. Have you tried looking up the procedure of starting a BPO online and lost yourself in the labyrinth? Well , it really is not that difficult.

Don’t worry, we have some tips here that would provide you with a step by step guide of how to go about it. We have also provided you with a case study; hold your horses, it will all be revealed at the end!

1) Creating a sound business plan

Starting a cloud call center is not different from starting other businesses. You need to have a sound plan in place if you want to succeed. Haven’t you ever seen an official business strategy? Well, this plan would be something like that. You could make a list of all the ideas you have, the strategies you think could work, the business goals that you have in mind and what it is exactly that you want out of your call center. This would be targeted towards investors and banks so that you can expand your business without fearing monetary troubles.

2) Looking at the bigger picture

Now if you’re actually planning to start a call center, you really need to keep in mind the bigger picture. Now that you’re drafting a plan, it would do you good to just think and chalk out for a moment here. Where do you see your BPO or call center about five years from now? That is an essential part of your business plan. Only after having done that, can you progress to the expected financial growth and other aspects like feasibility, growth opportunities and other strategies.

3) Coming up with a company description

This is amongst the very first things you should do. Since you’re just starting out, you’ll have to give a lot of presentations and present a number of business plans and strategies in front of investors in hope of wooing them. That’s why you need to decide upon a company description at the very beginning. This would include details of the nature of the company, the services you offer, the customer in question and how you’re planning to meet their expectations. Also, you need to state what sets you apart from other companies in the same arena.

4) Market analysis

You might think that since you’re starting a call center on cloud, you can get away with market research. But you couldn’t be more wrong. You need to have a clear idea of the leading market trends and how the market would respond to the product you’re selling, and most importantly, the customer you’re serving. Unless you have that to back you up, you cannot expect to succeed in this highly competitive field. Also remember, all the research you do needs to be backed up with adequate facts and figures.

5) Deciding upon the services

The whole point of a call center is to deal with cloud call center solutions. And that’s why you need to decide upon your services way before you actually start out. For that, you need to have an idea of the customer and what they expect of you. Based on that, you can decide on your services. You need to emphasize on why using your services will benefit the customers and you’ll have to go into details about every little service that you offer.

6) Have a separate sales and marketing section

Just like any other business, call centers too need to have a separate section for marketing and the sales departments. Both are interrelated, but it would be wrong to say that they are the same. First and foremost, you’ll have to decide upon effective marketing strategies for your company and pen them down to finalize them. Then comes the sales strategy which has to be broken down into concrete and feasible numbers.

7) Your funding needs

There’s no shame in admitting that you’ll be needing funding, and a lot of it. Otherwise, how would you meet the gargantuan costs that come along with a call center? There are so many things to take into account- management, call center cloud software, training sessions and so on. Since you’ll be presenting it to the investors, you need to give an estimated figure of how much you need and exactly what you’ll be spending it on. That offers clarity in your relationship with your investors.

8) Setting yourself apart from the competition

It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or if you’re just testing the waters. You need to set yourself apart from the competitors from the very beginning if you want to make it far in this field. You need to have clear cut ideas of what makes you unique and define it clearly. If you’re lacking in clarity, how do you expect to convince your investors and more importantly, your customers? It could be superior agents, top notch call center cloud solutions, bonus services or so on.

9) Choosing your business entity

The kind of business entity you’re planning for your company will entirely depend on the nature of your company. You need to have a clear idea of each of them because they all come with distinct tax and legal responsibilities. Usually, most call centers prefer to stick to either of the following – partnership, sole proprietorship, cooperative, corporation and so on. Now based on your company’s tax and legal liabilities and its needs, you can decide on any one.

10) The legal aspects

Since you’re planning to start a call center, you need to do your homework beforehand. You need to have a thorough knowledge of the regional and national laws relating to call centers and the whole call center industry before you start. You need to make sure that every step you take complies with the laws and the regulations of your country so as to avoid any kind of confusion of problems later on.

11) Choosing your business location

Unless you’re having remote agents, you need to decide upon a business location first and foremost. This is where your agents and management team would be functioning from. It wouldn’t be exaggeration to say that this location would be the face of your company. It would do you good to get a central location so that your business center is easily accessible. Of course, you’ll have plans of expanding your business sometime in the future. You need to keep that in mind while selecting the location.

12) Going for remote agents

Now this is a relatively new concept in the field of cloud based call center solutions. More and more call centers are hiring agents who would be working from their homes. That not only makes the business more versatile and flexible but is much more convenient. It would certainly reduce costs to a great extent and at the same time eliminate the need of renting an external location. This is something you seriously need to think about!

13) Getting the right equipment

This is imperative if you’re planning to start a call center. That is the only way to ensure that your team can function efficiently without hindrances. This is one area you really shouldn’t compromise on. What you could do is, you could look up the cloud call center pricing options to have a better idea. Based on that, you can make a final decision. There are two things you could do to get the right equipment- you could either lease the equipment, or you could purchase it if you want ownership rights.

14) Connectivity options

Now most call centers are actually switching to browser based services since that is more tech savvy and customers seem to like that. But irrespective of whether you’re sticking to the traditional call based systems or going for the modern browser based ones, you will need fast and efficient internet and landline connection. Even thinking about the alternative should send shudders down your back. A reliable and strong connection is the only way to offer seamless communication between you and your customers.

15) The software that you use

Now of course, if you’re talking about a call center, the first thing that comes to mind is the software that you use. The kind of software you’ll choose would depend on the kind of business you’re planning to run. Nowadays, most call centers are moving to the cloud since that happens to offer countless benefits that other software do not offer. If you’re planning to start a technologically advanced BPO, then you really need to take a look at the call center on the cloud. Remember, the kind of software you use determines the quality of service you provide.

16) Using tools for customer survey

When you’re talking of call centers, you have to remember that everything you do has only one aim- and that is to satisfy the customers and make them happy. That’s why there are several tools that you can use to determine customer satisfaction rates. These have been developed taking into account all the different factors and would help you conduct a reliable survey. Based on that, you can determine how you fare on the customer satisfaction scale. Keeping that in mind, you can take steps for improvement.

17) Training sessions for your team

If you’re starting a call center from scratch, the first thing you should do is get hold of reliable employees. You should employ only the best candidates and make sure they’re as enthusiastic about your business as you are. Even then, it is always better to organize training sessions for new employees so that they can learn the ropes.

18) Advertising your call center

Well, this one just speaks for itself, doesn’t it? If you’re starting a call center, then it will require effective and adequate advertising just as much as any other business. You will have to market the highlights of your company and make sure it convey the message across.

What Is Call Center Utilization

Call center utilization is defined as the percentage of time during which the call center agents are on calls or the time following the call, divided by the duration in which they are logged into their systems.

In most cases, call distributors and workforce management systems deliver these numbers in their monthly or quarterly reports.

Logically, this is done to give managers an idea of the time spent by the agents in producing efforts such as handling calls, emails or other such tasks in comparison to their available time.

This form of metric is used primarily in the fields of workforce planning, which ultimately, helps team leaders assess the efficiency of the call center.

Utilization is also known as occupancy.

Therefore, higher the call center utilization or occupancy, lesser is the amount of time between the calls.

Factors of Call Center Utilization

There are various factors which a person needs to keep in mind while considering the call center utilization. These include:

1. Call center utilization is a measure calculated in multiple numbers such as groups or queues.

It does not work at individual agent levels.

It is a function of forecasting, staffing and handle times.

Therefore, smaller groups have lower occupancy rates than larger groups.

Often in cases of dropping occupancy, agents are assigned alternative tasks to manage targets.

2. Higher utilization rates do not necessarily relate with increased productivity.

Often, self-pacing increases proportionately in the form of increased after-call work.

Generally, agents handle short bursts of increased activity, however high occupancy can lead to burnout and turnover.

3. Call center utilization is considered along with various other factors such as overall productivity, error rates, quality scores and employee satisfaction.

Principles Involved with Call Center Utilization

Utilization is used mainly in the fields that require workforce planning as which require assessment of the efficiency of the center. Therefore, there are various principles of call centers which govern the operations that impact utilization:

1. It is not an easy task for customer service representatives or CSR’s to fully control their own utilization percentage.

Therefore, the entire metric provides a bigger picture which provides details of the mode in which resources are being used.

For example, if the utilization percentage shows 85% rate, it means that the 15% of the CSR time is available and used for waiting for a call.

2. Occupancy is a key factor in workforce management and planning.

The workforce planners and managers or superiors should be accountable for occupancy.

They should form in a manner that all the targets are set realistically on the basis of various factors such as volumes of calls, handle times and finally, the size and staffing of the center.

3. The utilization or occupancy rates can be lower for smaller groups and at the same time, higher for the large groups. If the occupancy rates form to be too high, it can lead to “burnouts” and higher turnovers.

Conclusion

Call center utilization is very helpful in determining the percentage of time during which large groups of agents are logged in the productive state.

Therefore, call centers employing utilization can drastically lower their costs and improve the efficiency of the call center by increasing the utilization rate of the agents.

JustDial: A study of success

Here is the case study we promised you, to help you understand exactly how resorting to cloud calling solutions can do wonders for your business. The name of the company must be pretty familiar with most of you- JustDial. The company started out as a local search services company back in 1996. The official domain of www.justdial.com only came into being in 2007. The brand shouldn’t require special introduction, does it? The main motive of the company is to provide the users with free, fast, meaningful and reliable information to all the users regarding any field. Today, you need to look up a restaurant or a company for pest control near you, you can log on to Justdial or just download their app.

What is it, according to you, that helped Justdial become the multimillion dollar company it is today? At present, the company receives at least 1.9 million calls each day. More than 1125.7 million people search the website every day. So to handle such traffic, Justdial knew it was necessary to implement a BPO or call center service into their services. When you’re dealing with an industry like that of search engines, then you need to guarantee efficient customer service. Otherwise, why would customers even choose you over others? There is no doubt about the fact that Justdial’s business model seems to be working. In fact, this is something you could learn from too. It doesn’t matter if you’re working in a different arena; the same principles of business are applicable in all industries.

So, there you go. If you’ve been trying to implement a BPO or call center service into your business, then you need to keep these tips in mind. So go on, what are you waiting for?

Case study source– http://dsim.in/blog/2015/06/02/how-justdial-became-a-billion-dollar-company/

http://cms.justdial.com/overview