To prepare a good dish, you need to start over, buy the ingredients, prepare the dishes, combine the ingredients quickly, and then look after everything while cooking. A similar process must take place when building a call center. In order for it to function efficiently and translate into an increase in the level of sales and customer service, it is necessary to make appropriate purchases and prepare tools. This stage, however, is not the most complicated, because – just like in gastronomy – in this industry you need to have talent, experience and knowledge to combine the right ingredients well and quickly. We talk to an Expert in Call Center, about which ingredients are used to build a call center from scratch.
Suppose I want to set up a call center. Where do I start?
Answer: As usual in the case of any new products, the most important thing is to think carefully about this decision. You should ask yourself whether we have the appropriate competences and experience to establish this type of enterprise. Another extremely important issue is the budget, because launching a call center requires considerable financial outlays.
Let us assume that when we make a decision, we already have this type of obviousness behind us. What else do you need to remember at the very beginning?
Answer: With an appropriate location and a good IT system. A suitable location is not only a headquarters with convenient transport access, it is very important to choose the city in which we want to locate such a call center. It should be remembered that the call center requires a fairly large number of employees, so only cities with more than 50,000 are at stake. residents. The second key aspect is equipping the call center with an ICT system that will enable the functioning of the company and enable customer service via the telephone channel. Such interviews must be recorded and properly archived, and their results reported in the agreed manner. When creating a call center, you also need to think about such mundane matters as, for example, the purchase of appropriate furniture, and the most important one, i.e. recruitment, and then employee training.
You mentioned information systems and people. Which factor is more important when building a call center – human or technical?
Answer: In a call center, as in any enterprise, people are the most important. They create the corporate reality. Even with the best technology, you cannot be successful without a good team of employees. It should be remembered that even several hundred people work in a call center, so this is probably perfect proof that the human factor is a key factor in a call center.
So we have technology, we also have employees. How to create a good customer service center from such resources? What does a good call center even mean?
Answer: My experience shows that a good call center is successful in three areas. Firstly, it can meet the expectations of business partners for whom it conducts telemarketing campaigns. Secondly, it implements the challenges and goals set by the management board on an ongoing basis. And thirdly and most importantly – it is a friendly workplace for consultants, with stable employment conditions and transparent rules of remuneration; a place where every employee just enjoys working.
What elements make up a call center that works well and serves customers well?
Answer: There are many such components. I think that the most important thing here is the daily hard work that consultants do, and the management staff looking after the development of professional customer service skills. You cannot stand still, customers are more and more demanding every day, they have higher and higher expectations regarding contacts with call center employees. Managers must therefore monitor trends and moods among customers, regularly examine their expectations and train consultants in such a way that they can meet these expectations.
The campaigns carried out in a given call center are also important. In the telemarketing environment, I often hear the opinion that everything or almost everything can be sold over the phone, so the products or services offered are irrelevant, provided that appropriate financial profits can be obtained during the implementation of such a campaign. I believe that for a good work comfort, cooperation with business partners, for whom not only the sales volume is important, but above all the quality of service is crucial.
You talk a lot about consultants, their appropriate training and the role they play in creating a good call center. How are people recruited for a call center, and what is the most important consideration during such recruitment?
Answer: Maybe I’ll start with what is not paid attention to. It is about professional experience, although, of course, people who have previously worked in this industry are treated in a privileged manner. Everyone – regardless of age, sex, education, employment history – has a chance to work in a call center, provided that they pass the recruitment process. What do we pay attention to when recruiting? On the commitment of a given person, willingness to start work and predispositions tested during simulations of telephone conversations. A call center employee works with his voice, which is why the diction and culture of speech are also verified.
What integration and motivational activities are prepared at the stage of building a call center?
Answer: I must admit that in the first stage of the call center’s operation, we strongly focus our attention on motivation, and especially on the integration of the newly built team. We know that the beginnings are primarily the time of learning, which is why we focus on training and individual work with consultants. In the first period, we try to reward employees for the time worked and not the results achieved, which gives them great stability. The consultants’ motivation is also strengthened by numerous competitions with valuable material and financial prizes. I also cannot imagine the end of the first month without an integration meeting, the aim of which is to get to know colleagues better and share impressions from the first days of work.
Do these motivating and integrating activities in the new call center differ from those regularly carried out in long-operating teams?
Answer: They are definitely more intense. Or other? Not without a few exceptions. We have developed certain standards in the areas of employee integration and motivation, which work well at every stage of call center operation.
I have already recruited employees, but now I have to delegate tasks to them. How are employees assigned to projects? Based on your predisposition, is it more of a lottery?
Answer: I would leave the lotteries to the Games and Betting Control Committee. We try to make the best use of the skills of our employees in the implementation of individual projects. This applies to both consultants and managers. We are aware that each of us has different skills and experience acquired in our professional career. The process of assigning personnel to relevant projects is a complex process, which primarily includes the assessment of individual predispositions of consultants. The preferences of our employees, which they tell us about during the recruitment interview or already during work, are also important.