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How To Choose A Good Call Center For Your Company

Oct 31, 2007
While certain companies may find a receptionist more than enough to answer the phone, other companies may require significantly extensive call management. Any company that finds its phones ringing off the hook may want to consider hiring external call centers to handle their incoming as well as their outgoing calls.

Hiring a call center can do a lot for your company in the way of saving precious employee time and resources and boosting growth management. Call centers do more than just answering your phone calls during office hours. They offer you a comprehensive package that includes handling after-hours inquiries, total customer service, technical support and collection of orders.

It's important to remember that the call center is the face of your company. Considering the chosen call center will be the first point of contact the customer has with your company, it is vital that you take a lot of care in choosing the right one for your needs. There are several different types of call centers so even before you start your search you need to decide to determine the volume of calls the call center will be expected to handle as well as the costs and the types of calls.

The best place to begin your call center search is on the Internet. If you browse through a Call Center Guide or the Call Center Directory, you will be able to compare between a whole list of call centers that are located in your area as well those right across the world.

Different call centers charge differently; some charge per dedicated client service rep while others charge per minute. Getting free quotes from different call centers who offer different service packages will help you ascertain a reasonable price for the kind of services you require.

When evaluating the services extended by any call center it is important to first determine that the call center comprehends your industry and can offer the specific services required by your industry. If your business requirements include participating in Web chats with clients or replying to service-oriented e-mails, ascertain that the call center will meet these needs. There are several call center consultants that help companies find out the different call center services that are available for companies of various sizes and in varied industries.

Once you've short-listed a few call centers based on their costs and services rendered, it is important to compare the performance of the selected call centers. Performance levels of all centers can be determined by several standard traffic measurements, also called performance metrics. Some of the most important questions to ask when determining performance metrics include:

What is the average amount of time a caller is required to wait while waiting in a queue?

What is the average talk time (ATT) or the typical amount of conversation time?

What is the average handling time (AHT) or the typical amount of time spent dealing with the customer? The AHT is equivalent to the ATT plus time spent wrapping up as well as time spent holding on.

What is the number of calls that an agent answers in one hour? In call center lingo this is referred to as CPH.

What is the Service Level of the call center or the percentage of calls that are attended to within a specific time frame?

What is the amount of time that an agent spends while processing customer requests whilst not actually talking to the customer? This is referred to as NR- Not Ready Time or ACW- After Call Work.

What is the percentage of calls that a customer abandons the call completely due to having to hold on for a long time in a queue? This is called Percentage of calls abandoned or Total calls abandoned and happens in call centers that do not sufficient staff to handle the high volume of calls.

What is the percentage of alls that resolve the customer's issues entirely? Resolving it completely means that the customer does not find it necessary to call back regarding the same problem at least for a specified minimum period of time. This is called First Call Resolution or FCR.
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