I own a small company buying and selling used cars. My clients often call me during non-business hours, and I use ATM in this case — but my sales reps often forget to call these clients the following day or simply have no time for that. I wish I could afford a call center for a reasonable price.
Well, to begin with, let's see, whether you really need a call center in your company.
It is worthwhile thinking about a call center, if:
- You are getting too many calls with different questions about different topics, your secretary/sales rep can no longer cope with.
- You have over 1000 clients.
- You sometimes need to transfer calls from one employee to another.
- You are getting a lot of calls outside your business hours and on week-ends.
- You need to introduce client service in order to raise your company prestige and reputation. Prompt and efficient troubleshooting is the key to client loyalty. Statistics shows that 75% of your clients are expecting high quality service, and 15% more are even ready to pay extra in order to get it.
- You need to register all clients' queries and requests.
- You are frequently updating the information about your products and services, and your clients should get timely and accurate updates about it.
- Your alternative means of communication are not always reliable. Client interaction via online chat and messengers is taking too long, which makes support over the phone your preferable method.
Your clients want to use the same means of communication for both your company and their family and friends. The younger generation naturally prefers social networks and messengers, while the majority of your customers would still better call you.
A call center is a perfect means to:
- distribute the workload wisely;
- quickly understand who is calling (new or regular customer, VIP, wrong number, etc.), and build your conversation and commercial offer respectively;
- sell more;
- save your time and add up to your perfect reputation.
how to build your call center from scratch
You can always resort to an outsourcing contact center, and save on equipment and additional staff. In this case, however, you will have to face the major disadvantage of this method: outsource reps cannot provide thorough service without knowing all the peculiarities of your business and product. Besides, your clients' personal data will be disclosed to a third party.
As an alternative, you can create a call center of your own.
searching for staff
Start out from employing two people. In a couple of weeks APRO CRM analytics
will show you the average number and duration of calls for each of the two reps — and you will be able to decide whether to expand your call center.
Brief your call center staff on the equipment and show them how to use call scripts. Instruct them on what to say to your clients and explain when it is better to forward the call to a sales rep.
organization and control
Check how well your staff is familiar with phone call ethics and organize a special training, if necessary. Unveil all the peculiarities of your product and introduce the call center staff to your corporate culture.
Work out clear and comprehensive instructions on call conversations and a working schedule, including regular breaks of 15 minutes.
What are call center recordings for?
- You can resort to call center recordings in case of a dispute or a client's complaint.
- Call center recordings can help you discover the sources bringing clients to you and your strong features that keep them loyal to you. This information can be useful for marketing analytics.
- Call center recordings are also the best way to share the information about clients with colleagues, in case somebody is leaving or taking a vacation. Client interaction history is best studied by phone calls.
You can control the call center staff on your own, or assign an experienced supervisor to listen to the recordings together with the staff and analyse them for training purposes. Call center recordings must also be available to all the rest of the staff, in case somebody needs to check out some additional details not mentioned or unclear from the call summary.
Things your call center staff needs to be good at:
- being attentive to minor details;
- being involved in the conversation emotionally;
- listening comprehensively and asking for additional clarifications;
- having a perfect knowledge of your company product.
general guidelines on incoming/outbound calls
Make the life of your call center easier. Create scripts for incoming and outbound calls processing, that will allow your call center operators to build conversations with clients within certain frameworks and provide the full information about your product.
You can adjust the voice menu to give automatic answers to simple questions about payment, current balance, order status, etc.
You can also schedule outbound calls. For instance, calls about current discounts are best made during the "dead" hours, when there are fewer incoming calls from clients. Scheduling outbound calls will save your clients' precious time on the line waiting for reply and, at the same time, make the workflow of your call center run smoothly.
After the call is finished, the call center operator can assign the client with a type, according to which this client will be further handled by a certain sales rep, who will already know the client's needs and specifics and will be ready to make the best offer for this customer.
It is also possible to create a hotline for emergency calls providing prompt and precise answers — on a regular or a temporary basis, depending on your business needs.
your call center: technical aspects
As compared to big corporations, where settling a call center would require lots of equipment and many employees, a small company can do with just 2-3 experts. You will also need good quality hardware and software: the efficiency of your call center depends directly on how well its workflow is automated.
What technical features are compulsory?
Physical or virtual PABX and IP telephony, headsets, stable Internet connection, smart and user friendly software or CRM.
how to organize the call center office?
It is best to place your call center in a spacious room separated from other departments. Each employee should have some personal area, so it is worthwhile organizing their workplaces individually, or at least separate them. Pay special attention to tables and chairs: they should be convenient, as operator's workplace is where your call center staff would spend the most of the day.
how to integrate with crm and why is it important?
Integrating your call center with CRM is extremely convenient because:
- You have your clients database consolidated in one place.
- Each client has a personal profile, where you can register all the calls, as well as emails, contracts, invoices, other documents and personal details.
- Every time a regular customer is calling in, the client's profile opens automatically, and the operator can see all the details about the customer. A new profile is created for each first-time lead, and your operators can already start filling it during the first conversation.
- All conversations are recorded and stored in the system automatically and can later be referred to in order to check operators' work or to search for specific information.
- It is possible to assign tasks to operators personally or set them automatically. For example, you can create call lists of the clients to be updated about new offers and changes in stock, current discounts, or personal offers.
- You can create scripts for client conversations including ready-made answers to complicated or disputable questions.
- CRM can compile automatic reports on call center efficiency, including average call duration, number of calls handled daily, and deals closed over the phone. You can use this statistics to improve your staff performance.
how to install apro crm call center?
APRO CRM has a built-in fully functional PABX with the option to connect any provider
through SIP protocol. APRO CRM PABX offers all the advantages of processing incoming and outbound calls by scripts, and supports complex rules of call forwarding. You can call using headsets or physical phones.
- call processing scripts;
- call lists with sales scripts.
how apro crm telephony works
In APRO CRM you can make outbound calls right from your client's profile:
You can easily access the calls menu from the sidebar on your your right, tab "Calls", or event creation menu (+) on page top:
You can search phone numbers by contacts:
or dial the phone number you need:
Ted owns a small real estate agency of three employees: two agents (Tom and Nancy) and a lawyer called Jim. Nancy is specializing in residential properties, and Tom is working with commercial properties. Jim is working part-time, he can only be at the office twice a week and he often needs call forwarding. Ted's company is also experiencing one trouble: sometimes some employees forget to introduce themselves and the company over the phone.
Ted has administrator's access to APRO CRM
and can adjust the system settings. In case he wants Tom to do it, all he needs to do is just change Tom's status from "User" to "Administrator". This time Ted decided to do everything on his own and set up call forwarding scripts
for other employees, in case some of them are missing, busy, or unable to give an appropriate answer. He also added a few greeting scripts for the ones, who usually forget to introduce themselves and the company:
Ted created some processing scripts for incoming calls and a few call lists:
In case a client decides to call the agency outside business hours, Ted set up call forwarding to the agents' mobile phones. He enabled an automatic callback feature task for each missed call, and a reminder about it. He also embedded a callback
option to his company website to make sure his clients can request a call from him at any time.
- Companies with integrated call centers possess infinitely more information about their clients, which allows them to hold smart conversations and close lucrative deals.
- Call centers are affordable for small companies, and not only for big corporations.
- Make the most of your call center to miss no more calls and attract more clients.