Customer focus is the most important trait for startups. Every single customer who churns can have a detrimental impact on the company’s future. Simply because startups aren’t given the luxury that the bigger brands are afforded, you can’t lose a few customers and hope to make up for it by quickly bringing in more new customers.
That’s why the best of startups invest in customer service and support. And an integral part of support is the call center department – a channel that most customers are familiar with.
While you might not have this at the top of the priority list, we’re here to tell you why you should!
By opting for a contact center solution, startups can:
- Let their employees completely focus on building a world-class product or service, thereby drastically improving productivity, focus and efficiency.
- Save abundant time and money (you’d want to be as resourceful as possible being a startup).
- Have dedicated and specialized agents on the go answering queries and helping customers with their issues, which in turn positively contributes to customer loyalty and retention.
As a start-up, you want everything best for your business and it is no different when it comes to selecting the best call center for your start-up. When start-ups contemplate the idea of call center outsourcing, it is no surprise that they are lured by the big names in the call center outsourcing business- huge call centers with thousand of seats with the most advanced technology and operations spanning the globe. Big Call Centers are certainly suitable for equally big companies that require thousands of seats, something that can’t be done in-house unless you incur massive expense for infrastructure, operations and management. However, for small businesses or start-ups, is that really relevant?
Call centers are more than just answering services. They’re the most common point of contact between a brand and its customers. Which is why how you go about selecting a call center solution is just as important as realizing that you need one.
Here are a few things you need to keep in mind while choosing the best call center for your startup.
While outsourcing your call center function is a more economical alternative for startups, there’s still a cost involved. Allocate a budget for this and find out which pricing model suits you – different call centers have different ways of charging their clients.
Some call centers have a monthly subscription while others quote their price on a per minute basis. So, it’s important to have a fair idea about the number of customer calls you receive. Also, if you want agents dedicated to your business, that will cost more in comparison to shared agents who usually handle multiple accounts.
Large call centers are usually extremely stringent in their charges and will charge you for everything because they know that to a small client, they can dictate their terms. Even though their pricing may seem at par or economical at first because of per call or per minute rates but in the long term, given their additional charges for each component of the service, they invariably turn out to be more expensive. You will be paying for their set-up fee, IT fees, customized reporting and god forbid, if you happen to ask for any changes after the initial set-up, you will pay through your nose!
Hence, it is better that you go with a small or mid-sized call center that gives you equally professional and quality services but are flexible with their pricing plans and can accommodate your changing business requirements without hefty charging you exorbitant costs.
Personalized Service and Flexibility
Whether you want to be a Small fish in a big pond or a big one in small, choice is yours. When you are a small client for a large call center, the time and care you and your project gets is treated as such. After all, it is directly proportionate to the part of their revenue you contribute to. Are you comfortable with your project being run amongst hundreds if not thousands of seats catering to multiple clients? Do you think your project will get the same quality and attention? Human and business logic tells another tale.
As a startup, you need a call center that works with you like a partner and shares your passion and vision. You may have an unforeseen spike in volume or there may be additional tasks that you need temporary help with or you may be doing A/B testing and need few extra resources at a short notice. The best call center for start-ups is the one that understands your fluctuating requirements and can accommodate them.
You may not have the right processes in place and even if they are, they may need to be modified frequently and even suddenly. You need a call center partner who can work with you closely to help you analyze your business processes and can consult you on how to fix the gaps and can implement the changes for you in the shortest time frame with least friction.
Try asking a large call center for this level of service and cooperation. If at all they agree, rest assured that it would come at exorbitant costs!
Expertise and experience working with start-ups
The best way to zero down to the best call center for your startup is to look for a call center that has prior experience working with start-ups because they are the only ones who can understand your environment and challenges well. At LiveSalesman, we started our journey with Skype when it was still a startup and grew as they grew. Since then, we have helped several revolutionary start-up businesses on their journey to become industry leaders.
As a startup, you may not be able to hire a different person for each task. You should look for call centers that have agents smart enough to multi-task without getting overwhelmed. The best way to ensure this would be to look for candidates that let you screen candidates before they are allocated to your project.
If your startup is appealing to a specific niche, it might be better to have vertical-specific agents. At LiveSalesman, for instance, we offer specialized Call center solutions for online fashion retailers, hospitality businesses and salons in addition to default call center services.
Agents with the superior technical know-how can seamlessly engage with customers and resolve issues tactfully. The addition of expertise not only makes complaint resolution not only becomes quicker, but customers would find it easier to interact with such call centers, which in turn has a positive effect on retention in the long run.
Reporting and Insights
You wouldn’t want your call center to merely reply to customer queries. Every time the customer interacts with an agent, there’s a ton of data that is collected.
So, the next criteria are the quality of insights and type of reporting. Are you looking for deep customer insights or only a log of all conversations? Also, how frequently do you expect customer call reports?
If insights are something you are particular about, you need to specify that at the very beginning before partnering with a call center. Also, you need to state whether you need reports on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
The best call centers for startups empower them with quality insights into customer calls in addition to providing the usual call log reports. This also shows transparent they are.
Last but not the least, you need to know how the specific call center handles sudden outages and system failures. How well are they prepared in case of an emergency? Are proactive measures taken to inform the customer about it and even smoothly re-route calls based on an existing contingency plan?
Outages can severely affect customer relationships and loyalty. According to a study, nearly 50% of customers will avoid a brand in the future if they’ve had to wait for more than 5 minutes because of customer service downtime!
The best call center for start-ups should be highly dependable and should have a solid disaster recovery plan in place. This ensures that your startup’s customer support function is always up and running with the worst scenario being that the outage is clearly communicated to the customer.
Contact us today to learn more about our customised call center solutions for start-ups and small businesses.