We all know what the studies say (even though we don’t always like the results). Inbound telemarketing efforts can dramatically increase business revenue. As much as we would prefer to use in-house resources, few businesses are equipped with the staffing to handle a high volume of calls like a call center.
How do you find a call center that’s right for your business, that won’t scare off your customers, and that will provide excellent and consistent service? It’s not an easy decision to make, but here are a few simple tips.
Start with their Website
An inbound call center’s website can give you a lot of valuable, basic information about their policies, rules, areas of expertise, and general service. Use the website as a first step towards getting to know a call center. If upon reading about their service offerings, you think that they might be a good fit with your needs, then you can establish more personal contact with them. Do your online research first. A web presence can say a lot about a company.
Visit in Person
Although this may not be feasible, it is one of the BEST ways to get familiar with an inbound call center. In person, you can see not only how the inbound call center management treats their customer service representatives (the people who are speaking to your clientele!), but you can also get a feel for the general atmosphere of the company. An energetic and positive workplace fosters enthusiastic and pleasant customer service representatives (CSRs)—and that attitude can be sensed over the phone. Also, while you are there, see if you can sit down and review scripts, meet a few agents, and learn about their training.
Listen to Calls
One of the best ways to gauge the performance of Telephone Sales Representatives (TSRs) at any inbound call center is to listen in on live calls. Remember to pay close attention to the overall image the customer service representative projects, how well she or he knows their scripts, and how well they can act under pressure. This is also a good time to find out what type of feedback the inbound call center supervisor gives the CSR. Remember: a positive work place starts at the top!Though it is easy to get excited about an inbound call center after listening to just one call, make sure to listen to SEVERAL different types of calls. This will give you a more accurate idea of the overall service provided. The more data you can get, the better your chances of making the right decision–finding a call center service that is the best fit for your business needs.
If you are curious to know how CSRs are coached to handle certain questions, ask the inbound call center supervisor if you can make test calls. When you call, ask the CSRs questions that range from easy to difficult to answer, and see if you like the way they answer them. This test technique, in combination with listening to calls, is probably the easiest and best way to gauge the performance of any given inbound call center.
You’ve found a call center you like. Now it’s time to sign a contract. But first: make sure to thoroughly investigate the company. Request references of former and current clients to get a FULL perspective on how the company has maintained relationships, served its clients and kept service agreements. Try to get references for companies that have had similar goals and similar time frames so you can get an accurate idea of the services provided.If there are any questions you felt uncomfortable asking the inbound call center point-blank, you can usually get the answers by talking to their references.
If you need some ideas for questions to ask, these will help you maximize the reference:
If you want more information about call centers like how to determine pricing or read a service level agreement, read our Inbound Call Center Buyer’s Guide.
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