in-house call centerAn in-house call center handles the company’s own customer service and marketing instead of outsourcing it to a third party provider. Several businesses today have moved away from outsourced call centers and created their own contact center within the organization. There are many possible reasons behind why businesses have opted for an in-house call center particularly inbound call handling and when it comes to servicing their existing customers, but the main underlying reason would probably involve their customer.

The call center experience of a customer greatly affects customer loyalty; if customers are dismayed with the service your contact center is giving them every time they call, they may take their business elsewhere. The following are examples of advantages that having an in-house call center may offer:

  • Effective and proper communication of company brand
  • Important insights from customers are recognized in each interaction
  • Successful assimilation of call center services with the company’s resources

Businesses may only enjoy the advantages of having an in-house call center if they properly invest money and time in these areas: setup, workforce, technology and training. With the continuous development of new technologies, businesses are able to look for effective ways to better serve their customers. However, owners should keep in mind that what may have worked for one organization may not work for their business – success can only be achieved through careful thought and planning.

Technology Requirements for an In-House Call Center

Businesses that plan to build their own in-house call center shouldn’t miss out on the following technologies if they want to provide quality calls to their customers.

Hardware

Many of the software that are used by call centers today runs on industry-standard servers; they usually require a switch to connect the telephone system with the internal telephone system which is commonly referred to as PBX (public branch exchange). Businesses have to be extra careful in choosing where to get their call center technology from. Many telephone companies require their clients to sign a contract that ‘locks’ the client to using only their equipment. Moreover, they must choose hardware that is compatible to the software that their company utilizes. Choosing a computer telephony system can be quite a challenge, which makes using pre-integrated platforms easier.

Software

  • Automatic Call Distribution (ACD). This helps businesses create effective structure queues – each caller is assigned to a specific agent that possesses skills that match the customer’s needs.
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System. An IVR system allows an in-house call center to properly route calls to agents; it also has a self-service feature that enables customers to get what they need or complete an interaction without actually speaking with an agent.
  • Metrics and Analytics. Having the ability to tally metrics and analyze results is essential to any successful call center. An effective software should help you identify the strong and weak points of your agents; it should tell you how long your customers are waiting on queue, how long the call lasted, how frequent do your customers hang-up and many more. The following factors should tell you if your in-house call center is effective in fulfilling your goal of providing quality service.

Network

Routers, firewalls and other network hardware are necessary to link your back-office software to your telephony system; one of the most important things to consider is your networks capacity – it should match your call center requirements. Always keep in mind that having a bad network will result to having a bad call center too. There are several network options available for your in-house call center including VoIP and voice-and-data networks. When choosing what kind of network to implement, go with something that offers economic advantages, employee flexibility and savings for your business.

Costs

The aforementioned is costly to get started, not to mention ongoing labor force, recruitment and training of your laborers, management and much more. It may be more cost effective upfront and ongoing to outsource your call center operations.  A third party call center is a company that already has the infrastructure, made the costly investment and has the know how to run the operations. When outsourcing it’s crucial to hire the right company and ensure the right staff is assigned. Therefore, it is imperative that you have a project manager on your end to oversee the third party call center to ensure everyone is doing their part and correctly. Your project manager will need to have its own quality assurance agents listening to calls making sure the third party call center’s agents are handling your customers the way you want your customers to be handled.

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