By Megan Hottman, Operations Manager and Brand Evangelist, Quality Contact Solutions
This call center requirements checklist provides 10 essentials for evaluating potential call center partners. We know how time-consuming and how tedious the process can be to find the best call center for your business, so we’ve made it simple for you. This call center requirements checklist includes points to consider and help guide the decision-making process.
Before you can even get started speaking with call centers, it’s important to understand why you’re looking to a call center partner, to begin with. The clearer you are about your objectives, expectations, and desired outcomes, the easier it will be to weed out those who are not top contenders.
Checklist Item #1: Define The Basics
Before you even begin the search, have a good sense of what you need, or want prior to meeting with and interviewing call centers. Are you looking for a partner to support your outbound sales or inbound customer service? What does staffing look like for days and hours worked? Will you need emails answered, staffing to support online chats or texts? It’s also helpful to have a foundation of understanding of your KPI’s (key performance indicators) and what the preliminary goals for the call center will be.
Checklist Item #2: Size Matters
The overall size of your business, and the business you’re looking to use a call center for has a direct impact on the size of call centers you should consider. A partner that is too small may not be able to offer the support with growth or not be as nimble as needed, while a vendor that is too large may not offer the support and personal attention that your business deserves. The size of the call center should fit proportionally with the size of your business.
Checklist Item #3: Scalability
As your business grows, your needs change. It is essential for a call center partner to be able to scale with you. If you experience sudden spikes in your business, a call center is the perfect solution to help balance out your workload. Make sure that the vendor you select can accommodate your expected growth and grow with you.
Checklist Item #4: Experience
The call center should have the experienced staff that meets your requirements and should easily deliver on the high expectations of your customers. The experience of the call center is essential to achieving the desired outcomes. You’re outsourcing an important part of your company, so you’ll want to make sure they have the experience to represent your brand well.
Ask to sit with agents and listen to calls. This will give you a chance to see how they interact with other clients they work with and would likely represent your brand. It also provides a moment for you to speak with the agents and see how they carry themselves. It is also acceptable to ask to meet the individuals that will be leading the team in the day-to-day, such as supervisors or team leaders.
Checklist Item #5: Training
How comprehensive is the call center’s training program? What do they train on and how is it facilitated? Is there continuous skills and/or customer service training offered that helps level up the knowledge of the team? Well-trained employees are essential to a call center’s performance and to the overall success of your individual business.
Checklist Item #6: Technology
One of the many great advantages of using a call center partner is you’ll gain access to some of the very best technology in the business. A vendor that has invested in leading industry technology certainly makes a strong partner. You’ll also want to consider if it is important to have the call center integrate with your CRM or other technologies that you use to help manage your customers.
Checklist Item #7: Reporting
What are the reporting requirements that are essential for you to have insight into how the call center is performing? Some companies only provide basic summaries of how many calls they made or received in a given time period, while others provide greater detail which helps provide further insight into the daily performance. Ask to see samples of reports and if they can make customizations for you, if needed.
Checklist Item #8: Performance
Has the call center had a history of great performance for the clients they work with? Choose a partner that consistently performs and are able to adapt in situations should something goes wrong. Hiring the right call center is just like hiring any other employee for your business. Do your due diligence. Ask for references. A call center that is well established will have other customers that can attest to their performance and overall company.
Checklist Item #9: Compliance
In general, the technologies and processes with a call center partner should both fit your business needs and any regulatory standards as a company. A reputable call center will have a robust process to ensure all compliance regulations are met as governed by the telemarketing industry.
Checklist Item #10: Cost
It is obvious that you will want to select the vendor with the highest performance at the lowest price. However, pricing models vary in the call center industry. When comparing estimates and pricing between vendors, you’ll want to make sure you’re using an apples to apples comparison.
When it comes down to it, at the end of the day, when all of the numbers have been analyzed, what is your ‘gut’ telling you? Do you feel like you can form a solid partnership with the call center? Do they have the right leadership and management in place to help your business achieve its objectives? If so, it’s a great sign! Consider starting with a small concept test to determine if your assessment was accurate.