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How to get more clients for your call center (compilation)
Everyone in India these days dreams of opening call centers. Yet, the call center industry has almost completely left India except for technical support, aggressive marketing and a few smaller companies that don’t amount to much. Companies have gone to the Philippines where people there are more gentle, understanding, caring, sympathetic — which are traits that people in America want from a call center that less than 1% of Indians have! On the other hand, Filipinos lack aggression and are not as strong on technical skills which is where India has a huge edge (a sharp edge by the way.) So, India can still compete, at least in some ways. But, the Indians who want to open call centers don’t understand the skill sets involved, and they can only succeed if they have these skills.
(1.) Be the Best Agent Yourself
If you were never a call center agent, or weren’t very good, you won’t understand what is involved in being a great call center agent. If you run a new call center, that means you’ll have to hire people by the dozen to help you out. If you are the best call center agent yourself, you’ll know what to look for in applicants, and you’ll know how to pick the best ones and train them the best way possible so they can become just like you! Even if you didn’t have the softer qualities that the girls have, if you were good by guy standards, you might be able to hire and train others.
(2.) Spot Talent
If you hire call center agents, you will notice that most of the people applying for outsourcing jobs talk to quietly, too loudly, are too aggressive, too passive, too dumb, too unhelpful, or to folksy which means they’ll talk all day to the clients and not get work done. You need to know right away who the best people to hire are. Sometimes that is hard because in your stack of applicants there are no best people. So, you need to have a way to rank your applicants so you can hire the best dozen if you need to hire a dozen. And if people are not perfect, you need to be able to spot the ones you can train to be perfect which leads me to my next point.
(3.) Train Talent
After you have figured out who to hire, and have a long list of backups (because people quit and get fired on a whim in this business,) you need to train people. Training, monitoring, and evaluation never ends in a good call center. But, the newer hires will need more of your attention. You need to make sure you have time in your schedule to do all the hiring, firing, training, and monitoring.
(4.) Hire Monitors
You can’t do everything yourself, so you need top notch people with a lot of experience in the industry who can monitor, train and to management tasks for you. If you find someone who is second rate, your call center won’t do well. If you find someone great who quits, that is also not good. You might consider having a profit sharing program so this person is more of a partner than a wage earner — that way they will invest more in their work.
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(5.) Be Ready
Most Indians jump to step five before they have even been a rep or manager themselves. You need at least five years experience as a rep before becoming a manager, and you need five years experience as a manager before you should consider starting your own gig. Otherwise, you will for sure go out of business! I you don’t have the patience to be in this industry for ten combined years, then you do not have the patience to run your own call center which I assure you is a lot more involving than working at one. Most workers burn out after a few months, quit jobs, go to another call center or call centers, repeat the process for about two years and then leave the call center BPO industry. The fact that you endured ten years puts you in a very special category.
(6.) Find Clients
As a call center CEO, you need to be a master of the art of finding clients. If you did it for another outfit for years before starting your own, that is a good background. A call center cannot survive without clients. On the other hand, your clients won’t stay for long if you have lousy callers or managers. You should be an expert at all of the marketing channels associated with accumulating clients from email, cold calling, networking, websites, and even freelancing. If you start your business marketing yourself as a freelancer, you can accumulate your clients one by one which is a lot easier than trying to fill twenty seats, and then getting fired after two months which is more like a roller coaster than a BPO.
(7.) Manage Growth
Many of the most famous call centers have had huge problems managing growth. Because in real life, your call center demand may go from 100 seats down to 30 seats and then up to 200 seats. Call center business is a roller coaster, and you have to be a master of adapting to fluctuations in demand. My suggestion is to try to develop a clientele of very steady clients over time. If you have empty seats, charge a low fee for a three month contract for a new client. If you temporarily do not have enough free seats charge more for new clients. If you are consistently booked, it is time for a satellite office, or to move to a bigger office. Most call centers do not gracefully handle fluctuations in the market and get blown around in the wind of unsteady clients. They try to compensate by having one year contracts with complete strangers who have no reason to trust them. The result is lost prospects. There are other ways to balance growth where you do not alienate the client.
(8.) Save Money
If your business is doing well, you should save your money so you can invest in buying an office. Many in the call center business do a lot of drinking or partying. The stress of call center work makes people want to drink. You need to have a healthy liver and clear head to survive in this business. Also, if you party your profits away, you can’t grow. Buying your own office is a great investment and here’s why. Most people buy real estate and rent to irresponsible people who don’t pay rent on time or destroy the place. The investment is filled with risks. If you are the occupant of your investment, you’ve eliminated 75% of the risk right there. Even if you go out of business, you can still rent the building out to others and have passive income. So, buying an office is the best investment you could make — and it’s a sign of stability, prosperity, and respectability!
(9.) Do Good Deeds
If you are in the call center business, after you die you will go to a special heaven designed especially for you. It is referred to as call center heaven. But, you can only gain admittance if you do good deeds. So, be a good person and don’t do anything you shouldn’t!
(10.) There is no ten
Shouldn’t this entry have an even number of points? No! There is no ten. Why not, ten is a good round number? There just isn’t. You have learned enough now. So, go out into the real world and make your mark, grasshopper!