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Call Center Services Buyer's Guide - Preparing For Your Search

Call Center Services Buyer's Guide - Preparing For Your Search

Published: 03/27/2011

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Preparing For Your Search


Call center service providers come in different sizes, use different methods and technologies, and have different specialties. Before you even start to talk to providers, sit down and determine what exactly your requirements are – then find providers who match your needs.



The first consideration is simply what types of calls the vendor will handle: orders? informational? tech support? customer service? Hiring and training practices differ widely for call center employees who will focus on sales compared to those focused on support and service.



Next, project your expected volume. Base your estimates firmly in reality – because of monthly minimums and maximums that will be in your contract, under‐ or overestimating for negotiation purposes is not a good tactic. Make sure you have seasonal numbers if your traffic sees major spikes at different times of the year, and growth estimates if you are ramping up your operations. These numbers are important for helping you find a provider suited to your needs: for the best relationship, your calls should make up more than 5% but less than 50% of the vendor’s traffic.



If you have in‐house CRM or contact management software, you will want to make sure that the provider can provide connectivity from their system to yours, allowing you to easily exchange data. If the provider uses the same software you do, you may be able to set up a real‐time direct connection, allowing you to see updates as they are made.



You may also want the vendor’s help handling other types of inquires: email makes up a large percentage of some companies’ customer communication, and web chats and instant messaging (IM) are becoming more popular every month. Many service providers will handle these types of inquiries as well.



Some providers have specialties that you may want to utilize. Some focus on particular industries: technology, higher education, or retail, which can make for a smoother launch of your program. Other providers make a niche serving particular audiences with multiple language support or 24/7 staffing. In your preparation, decide what “extra” services you need.