Whether you are starting up a new company and your business development strategy involves telemarketing, or you have an existing company and you are looking to add telemarketing to increase sales and market share, there are some basics about telemarketing and call centers that you should know before embarking upon that path.
If a company is embarking on telesales for the first time, they must be prepared to make an investment in time, money, and resources; Time for implementation and training, money for call center software, and people to make it all work. Because of its unique nature and size of the investment, adding telemarketing to an existing company’s sales structure must be part of a well-thought-out strategy. Also, from the outset, there are a number of decisions to be made. The following are just a few of the most important.
In order for a call center to operate, it must be set up properly and have the right structure. Determine how many people you will need to operate the center (there is an online calculator that you can use that will help with that process). Determine the location and the amount of physical space required for the call center.
The budget for a call center should be treated as though it were a small company within a company, yet integrated into the parent company’s overall budget. Call centers have unique needs and expenses, and managing their budget is also unique. After all, you are factoring in variables such as your telemarketers’ time, software cost, customer responses, and a host of other things that can be measured to determine the effectiveness of the center and how it is performing to budget.
This decision is an extremely important one. The newer call centers are controlled by highly-sophisticated software that is now most commonly cloud-based. Companies are finding that these scalable cloud based call center solutions fit their needs and allow their systems to grow in complexity as their company expands. The innovation in this field has produced amazing platforms that take an omnichannel approach from which to operate a state-of-the-art call center. The software can accommodate both inbound and outbound calls, depending on the business model of the company. Originally, call center software would just handle calls by queues and long hold times. The new platforms, such as the one developed by Bright Pattern, bring together digital, self-service, and provides artificial intelligence (AI) options. AI allows the software to offer items such as interactive voice response, predictive dialing, live and bot chatting, text messaging, emailing, and video.
Recruiting and training quality call center employees is also key. Once again, if a company is new to telemarketing, it is wise to consider using a third-party for training of call center personnel as it requires a unique set of interpersonal skills. Companies that specialize in this type of training can teach every level of personnel, and also provide motivational coaching to telemarketers and consulting to upper management.
As with any venture, progress can only be determined if it is measured. Some of the key metrics identified by top industry experts include
- First call resolution
- Service level response time
- Adherence to schedule
- Forecasting accuracy
- Self-service accessibility
- Contact quality
- Customer satisfaction
Adding telemarketing and a call center to a business can be a daunting task, and no doubt there are many important details to be taken care of and decisions to be made. Setting up a call center is perhaps the most challenging. Taking a thoughtful, strategic approach is always best practice. Understand the role it will play in your company’s overall sales approach, how it will fit into your existing infrastructure, what resources will you need to apply or acquire, how will it be budgeted, and how you will measure success.