Breaking Down the Call Center Implementation Process
Feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of implementing your account at a new call center? That’s understandable—it looks complicated and there’s a lot at stake. But working with an experienced call center team can simplify the process and relieve the stress.
While every implementation is different, all implementation plans share five key components:
For agents to be effective representatives of your brand, they need to be trained on your products, services, policies and brand personality. It requires a collaborative effort between you and your partner, where you both contribute to the curriculum and share the training duties. Your implementation plan may also include train-the-trainer sessions, where your staff trains instructors who will be training the agents. Types of training can include classroom, Web-based or e-Learning, and can be done at your partner’s facility, your facilities or remotely. Training can also include visits to your headquarters and locations, which is especially valuable. If you want the agents to provide consultative sales support, they may receive additional training in effective telesales techniques.
You will need to work with the call center to help them understand the full range of services they will be providing, such as:
- Inbound services
- Outbound services
- Social media monitoring and engagement
- Chat or email support
The implementation phase is the time to clearly define your objectives and expectations. This is also the time to define your KPIs, reporting requirements, and other business-related measures you’ll depend on to monitor performance and measure success.
What systems will be used to handle your business? Call centers employ advanced technology to enable their operations, with systems for customer contact, real-time reporting, managing orders, and measuring results. Maybe you need a partner that’s HIPAA- or PCI-compliant. You also need to specify whether the call center will use its own in-house systems or integrate with your systems. Most essential is for your technical staff to have a close working relationship with your partner’s IT team. Together the groups must work efficiently, and plan for integration, communication, high availability, security and disaster recovery.
This is often covered during the selection stage, as it is a key component of all planning processes. The call center will utilize workforce management (WFM) software in conjunction with volume forecasts to develop projected staffing requirements. Your implementation manager will work with the WFM team to determine the required size of the team, mapping these requirements to the services they’ll perform and the hours they’ll need to work to meet your objectives.
Implementation is also the time to provide a profile of the kind of specialist you want working on your account. A great call center will evaluate each applicant’s suitability for inbound, outbound, back office, and/or e-commerce programs. This determines that an agent is “baseline-qualified.” However, different accounts require different personality types and skill sets. Working with your call center partner from the outset to establish what you’re looking for will enable them to staff your account with the optimal applicants and internal candidates.
At the beginning of implementation, the teams will collaborate to define telephony requirements, including call routing, after-hours call flow, hold music, queuing, call transfer procedures and more. There are many other topics to discuss, such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR), which can gather information from a caller before they talk to a live agent; screen pop, which can display customer information for the agent; universal queuing, which manages all customer contacts—email, chat, callback calls—in the same queue as inbound voice calls; and real-time agent reporting, monitoring and recording. Your call center implementation manager should explore all these options with you to make sure the telephony setup delivers the level of customer service that you are seeking.
Feeling less overwhelmed? Just keep your eye on those five components, work with your call center to put the systems, people and policies in place to meet your needs, and you’ve made a good start to a long-lasting, successful relationship.