I can imagine that it might be hard running a small call center. Imagine that you have 20 seats, and 5 are empty. Then, the phone rings and someone wants 20 seats filled right away. How do you hire all of those people and squeeze them into your little office? Do you put them on the roof or on the patio? Perhaps the sidewalk? Call centers rely on contracts, and they are necessary when the call center owner has to invest in hiring new staff members and training. However, many BPO companies are too pushy trying to get strangers to sign contracts.
I wanted a small call center process done
I remember that when I needed a small BPO job done, one call center in Bangalore tried to get me to sign a year long outsourcing contract. I said that I didn’t even know them or how good they were. How can I sign a contract? I didn’t know how long the job would last, or how long I would last tolerating them. They basically lost me because they were too rigid about their contract. Sure, big businesses use contracts and we all want to emulate big businesses. But, small clients don’t always want a contract — no matter how flexible it is.
Small clients are valuable
Most businesses want big clients including call centers. They ignore the little clients in search of big ones. Then, they lose the little clients, to satisfy the big client, and then lose the big client, and end up with nothing. My business has almost all small clients. We have three people on staff, plenty of outsourced work on the side, and healthy profit margins. Small clients can be profitable if you manage them efficiently — we do! Small clients have fewer choices of who they can work with because most call centers are so restrictive about their contracts. If you can be flexible, you can attract lots of small clients. You can even charge a little more to offer them flexibility, and they will have no choice but to accept.
Small clients can become big clients if you fertilize them
If you give good service to small clients, those small clients would have a new tool to grow. Remember, that you are helping other people’s companies grow, and not just trying to make money from them. If you help them grow, then when they become a bigger business, they will give you more business as well. They might even sign a contract a few months down the line. Additionally, if you give people good service, you will get referrals which will help you get more clients in the long run.
The bottom line about call center contracts
Call center contracts are important to make sure your clients will commit to a term of service. In the beginning, unless you are flooded with huge clients, try to make your contracts short-term, easy to read, and more beneficial to the client. That way, the client will have a positive feeling about your BPO. If the terms of the contract only benefit your BPO and not the client, the client is likely to hire some other call center service. A two month contract seems like a good minimum term to begin with. If your client is satisfied with your service, then you can go month to month, or have them sign a half year or a year long contract.
So, the moral of the story is — think less about contracts, and more about helping clients get what they want. They will be more likely to stay with you if you cater to them. And if they stay, then your business will grow. If you scare them away, then your 20 seater call center will have 20 empty seats!
I hope that answers your question about how to get clients for call centers by being flexible about contracts.
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