The correct process to hiring a call center

Have you ever tried dealing with call centers? Most of them are not so easy. Many don’t answer their phones. Others answer the phone unprofessionally saying, “Hullo?” with a bad phone line. Are you hiring professionals here or what? I found a nice group of managers from a particular call center in the Philippines. They wanted to hook me onto a contract. Everything I asked for by email, they let me know the price of, but never told me the actual process of attaining what I was looking for.

I wanted a call center agent who could do sales, and also do Twitter. I learned that it would cost $250 to put in an ad to find someone who could do Twitter. But, the person would be unknown to the company and unknown to me, and probably not even any good at Twitter. I was asked to sign a year long contract when I hadn’t even interviewed the workers. I am not comfortable signing any type of contract until I’m sure about who I am working with.

Interview multiple agents
Don’t just sign a contract. Before you even give a test job, you need to talk to several call center reps. You need to see if they are up to your standards. Have them go over some scripts with you over the phone to see if they are any good. You might give them some training before going a step further. If you are pressured into signing a contract before training, explain that you are investing your time which is worth $100 per hour in their worker. So, if they think you are just spinning their wheels, you are losing a lot more than they are losing each minute that is spent.

Start with a single easy task
My idea is to have a call center work on a particular task. I might give them a simple but repetitive task to see if they get anything done. I want to interview a few agents first, pick one who I feel comfortable with and see what type of a ride I get. Did the call center solve problems the minute they came up, or did they just take my money? Did I get a nice rep, or someone I was not happy with?

Be careful of contracts
Contracts guarantee that I will pay a certain amount each month. However, contracts don’t guarantee the quality of the person I get or the quality of their work. I would prefer a contract that guarantees a particular standard of work, and if the standard isn’t made, then I’ll give a lower quality $1000 per month which might equal $500.

Multiple tasks are hard
My work consists of multiple tasks. One rep cannot learn to do all of these tasks unless his manager is involved in training everyone. If the manager doesn’t get back to you when he is supposed to then the deal is over.

Try them out in a limited way
Many call centers will allow you to purchase (8) hours of service. That is a great way to try a rep out. If you like him/her, you could hire them full time. If your tasks is harder, or if you need the rep to have a better learning curve, going to a place that specializes in executive assistants might be a better bet. Regular call center agents are not loyal to their work, they quit after 90 days on average (rough estimate) and generally need to be employed at least a particular number of hours per month according to Filipino labor laws. The rules are complicated, but is the quality of service worth the headache?

Try a second task
Rather than going from a single task to ten tasks overnight, see how someone does on two tasks after they have done one. Remember, that outsourcing companies are trying to impress you the first two months. See how they function on the fourth month after they are just being themselves and no longer trying to impress. The wooing process should be slow if you want to get someone good. If you are too fast to dive into a relationship prematurely, you fall into a contract that is in the interests of the call center and does nothing for you other than locking you into place!

Hiring for social media?
Most companies that do social media are not that great. See what they did for other clients. See how well they can communicate social media marketing strategies. Talk to the workers directly and see how competent they are.

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