If you are like most small to mid-size business owners, choosing a call center is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Think about it; you are in essence handing over the lifeblood of your business — your customers or potential customers — to a third party. This is a decision that, of course, takes much research and consideration. But after you have chosen the right call center for your particular needs and entered into a formal agreement, the real work begins.
Your new call center may, in fact, do much of the heavy lifting by interacting with your customers or prospects, and updating their information accordingly. However, you will still want to keep your finger on the pulse of your business by interacting regularly with your new call center partner. It will benefit you greatly to spend anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour a day on this relationship. Below I have outlined three key points that will help ensure a productive partnership with your call center.
Define success early - As the owner of your business, you know best your bottom line and what success looks like. If you are an existing business, share with your call center your historical and current metrics as well as expectations. With access to the talent, automation, and techniques that a call center brings to the table, they will most likely be able to improve upon whatever you are doing currently. If you are a new business, share with your call center how many leads, appointments, sales, contacts, etc. you will need in order to be successful. Once these metrics are firmly established, monitor them consistently. Even if you spend just a few minutes a day with these numbers, you will still be able to keep your eye on the ball. They are the truest indicator of how you are doing and rarely open to interpretation.
Meet regularly - It is important that you have a formal and scheduled phone meeting with your designated call center project manager once a week or no less than once every two weeks. This is in addition to the impromptu emails or conversations that may come up from time to time due to product changes, pricing updates, etc. During this time, you should review current performance metrics, staffing issues, billing concerns and the like.
Listen to calls - All reputable call centers will have the ability to let you listen to live or recorded calls. I recommend that you listen to no less than 10 random calls a week. If this seems like a lot, you can divide it up among another person in your office who also knows what to listen for. This will allow you to be proactive and spot any trends that may concern you, so that you may address them with your project manager immediately.
Managing your call center partner is like any other business relationship. If you and your team remain knowledgeable, engaged, and communicative you will ensure the success and growth of your business.