The call center business in India has been growing rapidly over the last couple of decades, and has proven to be of use to both, the ones setting up the business, as well as the employees.
India has a wealth of human resources, thus ensuring that there is a constant demand for the job of a call center executive.
With the increase in importance of India as a destination for call center solutions, domestic and international companies have routinely outsourced their customer service requirements to Indian BPOs.
Various new call center software have also been developed keeping the Indian demographic as well as the Indian agents in mind.
Several of the biggest corporations have outsourced their customer service responsibilities to these Indian contact centers.
Their main driving priorities was maximization of efficiency and minimization of cost.
The Indian call center environment is so conducive to these factors that not only the big corporations set them up, even small and medium scale enterprises, including new startups, can employ their services.
In this article, we will discuss how you can start off with a call center in India and make it successful by attracting business and delivering positive results.
1. Determine the type of call center.
Call centers can be dedicated to inbound calls, outbound calls, telemarketing or web-based systems.
As a starting point, you need to figure out what areas you want to focus on, and then work accordingly.
Choosing the type of call center takes many factors into consideration.
The demographics you cater to, the companies you want to earn business from, the personnel you have and the skills you have developed, all have an effect on what sort of business you have set up.
2. Study your competitors.
Before you start off with your own business, you need to know everything about the competitors in the market.
Only when you know the details about the services others provide, can you build up a unique selling point about your own call center, highlight the different things you offer and show how the service you provide is more valuable than the competitors around you.
3. Research the demand in the market.
Every market is characterized by the nuance in its demands.
For a call center, it is very important to know exactly what is the situation of the market , how things work as they stand right now, and how the disruption of your company would bring in change in the state of events.
This will give you a better idea of how you should go about setting up your business and what factors you should concentrate on.
4. Take care of legal procedures.
Completing the necessary paperwork and clearing all legal requirements is an absolute must.
Certain formalities needs to be completed, registration, taxation and other relevant information needs to be cleared up before you can focus on the business aspect of things.
Any loophole in legality comes back as a magnified problem later on in the life of the call center, and can undo all of the good work you have been doing.s
5. Identify and know your customers.
Agents need to know their customers inside and out.
They need to know their interests, their likes and dislikes and their previous buying history.
Using this information, they need to profile every customer, determine strategies for them, personalize every planned conversation and keep scripts flexible to accommodate on-ground immediate requirements.
Knowing your customers thoroughly also helps to ensure their loyalty, because you can then establish a personal connection with them.
6. Plan out your budget and adhere to it.
The most important part of successfully setting up your business is charting your finances.
Draw out detailed accounts of the expenses you are expected to incur, be it in terms of investing in equipment, salaries of employees, expenses for software and external tools, workplace expenses, etc.
Map this plan against one of estimated income, and then ideate on how processes can be made more efficient, income can be maximized and productivity can be increased within your means.
7. Arrange for the essentials.
As is the case with any other business, a call center cannot even start off with certain basic necessities to be provided to the agents.
Both software and hardware needs are to be taken care of, storage and data management needs to be confirmed, action plans have to be drawn out and basic equipment must be bought and implemented to begin with things .
There is also a requirement of specialized telephone lines, high speed internet, routing apparatus and office equipment.
8. Bring in the requisite technology.
Investing in the right software is a challenge, especially for the companies which are new.
Of course, there are a whole lot of choices available in the market.
The most expensive ones offers the best features, but it can be practically infeasible to invest in something that is expensive when you are only beginning.
Finding the right balance between being feature-packed and cost-effective is necessary to give yourself the best shot at maximizing profits down the line and finding the success.
9. Be smart in hiring.
A call center business is only strong when there is a strong team to take care of the operations.
Hiring your team can be a tricky process specially when you are starting out, because the skills your first agents display will determine your crucial first impression in the market and shape your future in a big way.
Go for applicants with good communication skills, the ability to think on their feet and the patience to deal with the rigors of the job.
10. Keep an eye out for the companies looking to outsource.
You need a client to show your ability and make a name for yourself.
Look for those first clients to set things in motion.
Keep an eye out for businesses that are in the process of expanding – they would likely need more dedicated personnel to manage the customer service for their renewed operations.
Newer companies are also a great catch, since they are looking for proper representation.
Once you have that first client, you can use your performance as a hallmark of your excellence and attract more business.
11. Set regular goals.
Once you have business flowing in, you need to set regular targets and monitor the performance of your agents.
Determine the key performance indicators that will act as your metrics of success, and keep a track of how each agent performs in those metrics.
You also need to have the flexibility and adaptability to dynamically change your plan as and when new information comes along regarding a better strategy or a changed process.
12. Train your agents to deliver.
Training programs are important for the agents to know the finer details of their job, and learn on how to do it efficiently.
As a call center, you should invest in the training of your agents so that they can perform their activities in a more effective and efficient manner.
Moreover, most call center executives have little or no experience about the industry, so they require that exposure to understand on how the market works and what they need to do.
13. Adopt a customer-centric approach.
Understanding things from the customer point of view has two distinct benefits.
Firstly, customers are very often not able to clearly express their actual issue.
An agent who can adopt a customer-centric approach will be able to figure it out better and then provide the solutions.
Secondly, it gives value and importance to the customer, who in turn is more likely to be satisfied with the service provided.
14. Communicate frequently and consistently.
Communication between departments, as well as between managers and employees, is crucial to the success of the organization.
Managers need to constantly direct agents about the plan, point out where they are going wrong and provide feedback for them to improve.
In turn, agents need to communicate with each other so that different people can bring their own expertise and form a more holistic solution to a given problem.
15. Constantly monitor performance.
As a manager, it is a good idea to let agents enjoy a degree of autonomy, so that they can efficiently react to customer demands and come up with the innovative solutions.
However, such actions needs to be consistently monitored to judge the effect they have, and feedback should be provided to the agent accordingly.
By doing so, the entire organization works more efficiently over the certain period of time.
16. Take care of infrastructural and technical issues.
As your business grows, it is important that you leave yourself the scope to scale up.
There should be enough infrastructural backing to bring in more specialized agents, work on newer solutions, analyze deeper and more effectively and increase processing power.
Technical issues such as the status of all systems should be kept in top shape so that there is no disruption to the job at hand.
17. Explore related avenues.
Expansion can happen laterally as well as vertically.
One way is to look for similar projects in greater bulk, increase manpower and deliver results.
Another approach is to capture businesses in the same or similar field and use your expertise to make a mark in that arena as well.
Exploring such avenues not only gives you greater exposure and helps you grow, but gives your agents the chance to apply their skills as well.
18. Aim for incremental targets.
Once you have a stable business up and running, it is time to be more ambitious with your targets.
Set incremental goals that push your agents to deliver something additional every other week.
Set up an appraisal system to encourage them to work harder.
Such challenges will help you surpass expectations and build a business which can deliver results par excellence based on its track record.
19. Take feedback seriously.
As a new call center, the most direct and raw form of suggestions you can get regarding your business will come in the form of feedback from your initial customers.
You must take this feedback seriously and direct your resources towards the demands of the market in order to provide good service.
In addition, you should formulate future plans of action, keeping in mind the feedback you have received and try to make your customers more satisfied.
20. Motivate employees to work better together.
No individual, regardless of how brilliant he or she is at their job, will be able to have as much impact as a well-functioning team.
Working as a group is essential to the success of the call center, not only because the problems that come in are complex and require the involvement of various individuals, but also due to the fact that scaling up or delivering in bulk depends on the synergy and interaction between people from the different backgrounds and skill sets.
Building a call center from scratch is a daunting prospect, but it has the potential to reap tremendous benefits.
Especially in India, there is a huge scope for outsourced projects needing telemarketing software solutions, and business-minded professionals who can seize the opportunity, build a good team and taking care of these concerns are destined for a successful venture.
The Indian market is diverse and often isolated from each other.
There are specific challenges to deal with, in terms of identifying economic zones, overcoming language barriers, understanding the process and dominating your competitors.
However, the existence of surplus human resources, relatively cheap call center software solutions and inherent demand in the market makes India the most favorable location to open up a call center.
As discussed, new businesses face dilemmas like which agents to hire, which software’s to invest in, what strategies to adopt and so on.
The key here is to study your competitors, find out how they sustain their business and then do one better – invest in the best call center software your budget will allow, hire people based on their skills rather than their CV and formulate plans from a customer-centric approach.
The tips and steps mentioned in this article will definitely help you find your feet in terms of setting up a new call center venture in India and dealing with projects in a manner that keeps your employees as well as your customers satisfied with the quality of customer service.