Have you ever thought of opening your own call centre and becoming a business owner, but you do not know how to do it? This guide will give you all the information you need to make your dream come true.
What is a call centre?
It is fair to say that almost everyone has had some form of interaction with a call centre’s team at least once in their lives. Call centres are an essential part of customer service. Thanks to call centres, people can get answers to their questions and receive expert advice.
Running a call centre can be a lucrative business as the number of calls the team receives every day tend to be exceptionally high. It is important to maintain high-quality services in order to get customers’ trust, however.
But let’s start with the basics – what exactly is a call centre?
A call centre is a team of company’s representatives that receive calls from customers or potential customers. They are charged with advising them on important matters, receiving complaints, answering their questions, or encouraging them to purchase a product or use the firm’s services. Call centres can have several sub-groups that deal with various types of calls, for example, IT support or marketing ones.
Most call centres, as the name indicates, rely on phone calls to communicate with customers. Nevertheless, as the industry is evolving, some call centres also use email, social media or live chats.
What are the types of call centres?
If you’re thinking of opening a call centre, you have to ask yourself what type of call centre would you like to own. Have a look at the table below to find out what characterises two of the main call centre types.
|inbound call centre||outbound call centre|
|Handles calls initiated by the customer|
Usually the main purpose is customer service
Offers technical support and answers customers’ questions
Best choice for those who want their call centre to offer assistance to customers
|Initiates calls to customers|
Usually the main purpose is telemarketing, sales, fundraising, or conducting market research
Focus on maximising company’s income
Best choice for those who want to generate revenue
If you cannot decide which type is best for you, or you’d like to combine both, it is possible for your call centre to handle both inbound and outbound calls. It is important to make sure you have adequate staff and resources to do it, however.
How do call centres generate income?
If you’re thinking of opening a call centre, you probably wonder how profitable it can be. It is important to note that the call centre industry in the UK has a market size of £3 billion. In the country, there are more than 900 call centres that employ around 67,000 people. That illustrates how significant the sector is.
When running a call centre, you can generate income in several ways.
- If your call centre relies on inbound calls, you can charge customers per call or per minute of the conversation with the advisor.
- If your call centre mainly operates using outbound calls, you can make commission from sales.
- Sometimes a customer pays a rate for a successful solution to the problem they are calling with.
- You can also make money off forming partnerships with other companies.
- You can earn by selling leads to other partners.
A successful call centre can bring you a lot of money, but it is a competitive sector so you have to make sure your company stands out somehow.
6 Steps to opening a call centre
So now that you know what a call centre is and you have decided on which type of call centre you’d like to open, you probably wonder what the next steps should be.
- Think about what the purpose of the call centre will be
Before you start setting up the company, you need to specify what the focus of your call centre will be. Do you want to help customers? Or do you want to maximise sales? Based on that you will have to prepare a business strategy and determine what resources and how many employees you need.
- Calculate how many employees you need
There is no one right answer to the question of how many employees your call centre will need. You need to carefully analyse what the expected demand for its services will be, meaning how many calls you are likely to receive each day. Based on that you have to calculate how many people you need to hire. If you do not get enough employees, customers will have to spend a lot of time in the queue, which can lower their satisfaction. On the other hand, if you hire too many employees, some of them will have nothing to do and you will be spending too much money on wages.
- Decide on the location of your call centre
Many people forget about this step when planning how to open a call centre, because all the interactions with customers happen over the phone or online. Nevertheless, you need to decide whether you will have actual call centre premises where employees come to work each day, or whether they will be answering calls from home. Having remote workers is becoming increasingly popular and gives them a great degree of flexibility that many people value.
- Purchase the right equipment
That is especially important if the employees will actually be coming to the call centre’s premises. Then, you will need to provide them with phones and headsets to handle calls, as well as computers that allow them to access and verify customers’ identities and investigate the issue they are calling with. You will also need to use the right software to manage and handle all the calls.
- Take your time to open the call centre
While it is possible to open a call centre within just a few weeks, you should set aside more time to carefully plan everything. It is essential to make sure that your centre will be offering the best quality services. Allowing yourself to spend a few months or even a year planning the opening of the centre will also give you the chance to collect more money to invest in it.
- Hire employees and offer them training
Finally, once you have everything ready you can move on to hiring staff. When you are conducting interviews, make sure they are friendly and communicative as they will be representing you on a daily basis. Based on their performance, customers can form an opinion about you and your call centre.
How much does it cost to open a call centre?
So now you have an idea of how to open a call centre. The important thing to think about, however, is the possible costs. These can vary, but Startups prepared a general overview of what you can expect:
|what you need to pay for||estimated cost|
|Premises||£35,000 per year (unless your employees work remotely – then the cost is £0)|
|Software||£2,600 per year|
|Wages||£18,000 – £21,000 per person, per year|
|Operational charges||£4 per square foot, per year|
|Workstations||at least £900 per workstation|
As for essential equipment, each call centre owner needs to purchase the following things:
- Headsets – make sure that the sound quality is good and that they are comfortable to wear as employees will spend several hours a day using them
- Telephone software – it is absolutely necessary to host phone call services, record calls, and manage customers’ data
- Computers or laptops – make sure that they are of good quality as slow equipment could negatively affect employees’ performance and lead to customers being annoyed
- Internet connection – it is important that the Internet connection is fast and reliable as without it your call centre will not be able to operate
- Workstations – that includes desks, chairs etc, they need to be comfortable not to harm your employees’ health.
How to build a call centre team?
There are a number of roles you need to fill to build an efficient call centre team. While that can be different for each call centre, depending on its type and specialisation, some of the main roles you should consider when hiring people include:
- Call centre managers – preferably people who worked for a call centre before as they will be responsible for meeting the centre’s goals and overseeing all the operations
- Team leaders – managing the call centre on a day-to-day basis, ensuring that employees work efficiently and follow the rules
- Representatives – employees responsible for talking to customers, advising them and answering their questions
- Trainers – preferably people who have experience working for a call centre as they will be responsible for providing new employees with training, explaining all relevant protocols, and generally preparing them for working for your centre
- Analysts – people who will analyse how well your call centre is performing. They look at how many customers use your services or how many sales you managed to generate. Based on that they prepare reports that identify areas that need improvement.
What are the advantages of call centres to businesses?
More and more businesses recognise the importance of having a call centre. There are several reasons for it:
- Reducing costs – when businesses use the services of a call centre they do not have to worry about paying wages to a full-time employee charged with answering calls.
- Saving time – when a company doesn’t have a call centre or a person dedicated to answering calls, they need to do it themselves which can be very time-consuming.
- Better quality services – call centres specialise in talking to customers, answering their questions, and solving their problems. That is why hiring experts can significantly improve the customer service of a company.
- Constant availability – most call centres answer calls 24/7 so if customers call with an urgent matter, their problem will be handled immediately without having to wait for the business’s employees to come to the office in the morning.
- Increased sales – many call centres specialise in generating sales so they can help companies sell more products and services.
- Better reputation – if a company has a call centre, it appears to be more trustworthy and shows customers that it aims to provide them with assistance no matter what time of day of the week it is
The advantages of using a call centre’s services to companies are clear, which explains why they are growing in popularity. As companies will always need such services, there is a great chance of success when you open one of your own.
A checklist for opening a call centre
Now that you are set on opening your own call centre and you know what you should do to achieve that, you can to put your ideas into practice. To make things easier for you, Niccolo has prepared a checklist including the most important steps. Once you have completed them, simply tick the box. That will help you organise things and guide you through the whole process.
|Decide whether you want to open an inbound or an outbound call centre|
|Decide whether you need to find premises for your call centre or whether the employees will work remotely|
|Calculate what the costs of opening a call centre will be|
|Figure out how many employees you will need|
|Choose the right equipment and software|
|Train your new employees|
|Keep improving and growing your call centre|
As you can see, opening a call centre is not difficult. With the help of this guide anyone can do it! It is important, however, to carefully plan each step to avoid mistakes that could delay the opening of your centre. Moreover, you should not rush through the process to make sure that your centre will offer the highest quality services.
Running a call centre is not easy as you constantly have to keep improving and you might have to deal with hundreds or even thousands of calls each day. Nevertheless, if you put a lot of effort and passion into it, it can be a very lucrative activity.