My First Call Centre : How to set up a simple call centre

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by letterboxunlimited, Feb 28, 2010.

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  1. letterboxunlimited

    letterboxunlimited UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    I know there are tons of posts on call centres , VOIP etc but since this could benefit a number of members I thought I would try and gather as much as possible in one thread.

    As the title says I would like to set up a small call centre to make outbound sales calls and answer inbound calls. I would like to use the latest technology available to hopefully keep costs down create long term scalability.

    The basic requirements

    Telephone system
    Call Centre Software

    Telephone: I would like to start off with 5 users answering calls as they come in on a main line.

    Software: We offer a “white label” service to a number of printers and would like to answer the phones using their name. What sort of software would I require to allocate a line then when a call comes in push them to the correct “script” . I guess it would work the same as a call answering service
     
    Posted: Feb 28, 2010 By: letterboxunlimited Member since: Oct 7, 2009
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  2. RBS

    RBS UKBF Ace Free Member

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    Posted: Feb 28, 2010 By: RBS Member since: Jul 13, 2009
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  3. paultnl

    paultnl UKBF Newcomer Full Member

    840 176
    We can help you with everything you are looking for.
     
    Posted: Feb 28, 2010 By: paultnl Member since: Jan 23, 2009
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  4. virtuallysorted

    virtuallysorted UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    632 183
    Can I be super honest and brutal here?

    You need to go back and do your research because it's not just a question of the technology involved to get phones to ring. You need to figure out what level of detail your staff are going to take, how they are going to pass those messages, how you track the numbers of messages and billing for them, what else they can do for clients, how you ensure they are giving out the right info.

    And you also need to investigate what it is your clients want. For example, I know that if you put 5 people all in the same room answering phones for different companies, it sounds like a call centre. Your costs as a small operator are going to be sky high compared to one of the big call centres so why would a client use you rather than one of the big boys?

    I'll admit it - five years ago when I set up a small call centre, I was just as naive and made lots and lots of mistakes. If I was doing it again I wouldn't even include the call answering in my business. That's how strongly I feel about it being a specialist service.
     
    Posted: Mar 1, 2010 By: virtuallysorted Member since: Jun 29, 2005
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  5. cjd

    cjd UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

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    As far as the telephony goes you need one decent broadband connection that does nothing but VoIP - no browsing, no email etc. You need 5 extensions with proper phones and headsets you need Line Presentation so that you can answer with the name of the correct company and pick up the correct script.

    Or you need an Asterisk server - but for that you'll need equipment, an installer and someone to maintain it.

    There's some info on setting up 5 phones and five PCs here:

    https://www.voipfoneuserforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=3846

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010
    Posted: Mar 1, 2010 By: cjd Member since: Nov 23, 2005
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  6. JElder

    JElder UKBF Ace Free Member

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    Most CRM systems will allow you to pop the correct screen/script depending on the number called.

    You will also need to consider:

    What happens to calls out of hours?
    What happens to calls when all your staff are busy?
    How will you deal with sickness or absence, such as during the recent snow?
    How will you deal with bank holidays?
     
    Posted: Mar 1, 2010 By: JElder Member since: Jul 2, 2008
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  7. letterboxunlimited

    letterboxunlimited UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    199 45
    Thanks for the feedback,

    I have no real interest in trying to become a commercial call answering service as I know there are already a number of great services out there. Our setup will simply answer in the partners name i.e printer1 distribution , printer2 distribution then book the job onto our system
     
    Posted: Mar 1, 2010 By: letterboxunlimited Member since: Oct 7, 2009
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  8. letterboxunlimited

    letterboxunlimited UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    199 45
    Thanks for this,

    Would you suggest the setup as shown to be a reliable solution or is there a big benefit of using the Asterisk system?

    Would I just buy a block of numbers then allocate them on a company basis?

    Would this setup mean any incoming call would be sent to the first available phone?
     
    Posted: Mar 1, 2010 By: letterboxunlimited Member since: Oct 7, 2009
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  9. cjd

    cjd UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

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    For the sort of thing you're doing I'd say that the hosted solution is more reliable as we manage it at our end using production scale equipment with all sorts of failover and redundancy and we keep it all up to date and maintained.

    If you run Asterisk locally it runs on a dedicated PC in your office and has to be installed and maintained by you and if it breaks (as PC's do from time to time) you lose your phones. There are way around these issues but they involve more cost, technology and knowhow at your end.

    In either case you would have a PSTN gateway inorder to get calls from your office into the public telephone world. This is called SIP trunks. We provide them free for both types of service.

    Yup - £1.99 per month per number. Add or subtract as you like.

    That's all configurable - generally you have it so that all phones ring and the first available operator picks it up.
     
    Posted: Mar 1, 2010 By: cjd Member since: Nov 23, 2005
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  10. leemason

    leemason UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    Asterisk / Trixbox is excellent for this. You can setup extensions, agents, queues, and record announcements (IVR, etc) or upload pre-recorded wav or mp3 files. Agents can be assigned to queues permanently or can logon and logoff through the phones. You can use HUDlite on the users PC systems to allow pop-ups of information from calls (i.e. CLI, possible links to other applications such as Outlook, CRM systems, etc). All calls can be recorded as standard to wav files and there is a recording interface for you to play them back. Voicemail is also included and again has a web interface or can e-mail you when you get a voicemail.

    There is a basic reporting package built in for call logging and there are addons that you can buy like Call Metrics to allow more granular reporting for the contact centre.

    That's just the tip of the iceberg really but suffice to say it can do almost anything that you can think of needing a phone system to do.
     
    Posted: Mar 1, 2010 By: leemason Member since: Dec 11, 2006
    #10
  11. RJB

    RJB UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    37 3
    Got to agree with Caroline. There is so much more to this than technology. I've worked on setting up contact centres in both the UK and India. There is fierce competition - some incredibly cheap rates to be had. You will not differentiate yourself on the tech side. You need to do it on the service side.
     
    Posted: Mar 1, 2010 By: RJB Member since: May 12, 2009
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  12. leemason

    leemason UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    I agree entirely. However you do need the reporting and monitoring in any contact centre to allow you to gauge how well the contact centre is addressing customer needs. As well as call answering and handling times call recording is important for agent assessment and quality control as well as handling customer complaints effectively.

    That's not to say that you should be a slave to contact centre stats as this will tend to distort the service toward meeting the stats. Just that in order to keep up quality (and therefore customer satisfaction) continual performance monitoring is very important.
     
    Posted: Mar 2, 2010 By: leemason Member since: Dec 11, 2006
    #12
  13. abcxyz

    abcxyz UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    116 6
    Forgive my intrusion, just wondering if that was your call centre business yourself that you set-up abroad? I have actually started a thread here: http://www.ukbusinessforums.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=151351
     
    Posted: Apr 12, 2010 By: abcxyz Member since: Mar 28, 2007
    #13
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