Look before you leap!
As offshore Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) continues to dramatically play a major role in worldwide economy, call centers continuously sprout all over the world.
With the fast revolution of Internet TELCO technology, solutions for call centers continue to evolve and significantly improve over the years. As the demand increases, competition among call centers and solutions providers becomes stiffer as clients become more demanding and critical. This calls for players in the marketplace to maintain a balance between cost effective and staying ahead among everyone else in the industry.
Although there are already big players in the industry over the years, there are still startups that emerge and would like to start with smaller number of seats. If you are among these startups, you have to remember that it is best for you to ask questions before you buy anything rather than afterward. This could apply to anyone who would like to startup a new call center, switch an existing center from analog system to VoIP for call centers, or would like to outsource a part or all of the existing call center functionality.
Any provider can give you good recommendations, but make sure you have answers to these key questions:
- Will you be starting with an in house call center, an outsourced call center, or a virtual call center? Some companies prefer to start with a simple operation with the capacity to avail of outsourced solution. If you have enough capital, then you can look into contracting a call center host for your system. There are hosted solutions that can handle up to 100,000,000 calls a year, state of the art equipment that’s fully automated and customized software. This way, you are ensured of a high data security with data redundancy that assures full 24/7 service all year round. On the other hand, there is greater control and flexibility if you run your own call center operation.
- How soon are you buying your own call center solutions? It might be faster to set up an outsourced call center first, then cross-fade to your own operation as soon as your own equipment, software, and personnel will be available.
- Do you have a ball park figure for the number of calls you will be receiving every month? If you have, then make sure you get to break down the numbers into incoming and outgoing calls, defining into functions like: sales, technical support, telemarketing, etc.
- If you already have a call center, how many agents are staffed on the floor? If this will be your first time, how many agents do you expect to hire for your center?
- How do you see your own call center 5 years from now in terms of expansion or other things? Knowing long term action plans will determine if your current strategies will be supportive as your contingent plans.