In the Age of the Internet, it’s easy to forget that not everything in business is powered by software. The telephone – officially invented when Alexander Graham Bell spoke into the instrument in 1876 and said the immemorial words “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.”— is still with us. It may have changed its appearance and become far smarter than anything Bell could have imagined but it still remains an intrinsic part of any business.
Still, there may come a time in your business when answering your own telephones is slowing everything down. Yes, every business wants the phone to ring, but if it rings too often and call duration become problematic, then it may be time to invest in or contract with a call center.
However, not all call centers are the same. Some become more efficient than others by using an innovative software system called a cloud predictive dialer. According to leading provider of this cloud contact center software, “a predictive dialer is an automated telephone dialing system that enables call center agents to dramatically increase their number of live connections. Predictive dialers connect agents only to calls that are actually answered by people, freeing agents from the need to listen to unanswered calls, busy signals, disconnected lines, or answers from fax machines, answering machines and other automatic services.”
It’s not easy trying to decide whether to continue to handle all your own calls or to reach out for help from a call center. How do you know when it’s time to change how you manage your telecommunications to save costs, improve efficiency, and increase productivity and profits for your business?
It’s advisable for your business to use a call center under the following conditions
1. When there is an increase in call frequency. Your phone is always ringing, and you don’t have enough people to answer it. Things are chaotic, and not only are a large number of calls getting shuffled off to voicemail but you don’t even have enough time to call everyone back. Since business partners, vendors, and customers can’t get through to you and you don’t return calls, you are losing business.
2. When there is an increase in call duration. The majority of incoming calls take up so much of your staff’s working hours there is not much work that gets done. While it’s wonderful to be getting a continuous stream of orders, your staff also needs time to process the orders. If, for instance, you are running a small ethnic restaurant and your phone is always busy because people like to have their orders ready when they walk in, you may not have enough staff to actually prepare the meals and serve patrons in the restaurant. It’s hard for employees to stay productive and difficult for your business to increase profits when everyone is distracted by the telephone busy explaining menu options, taking orders, giving directions, and taking reservations. By working with a call center, your small team of employees can all do their respective duties without constant interruptions. Meanwhile, the call center could also help you with things like calling up loyal diners to encourage them to leave reviews on restaurant review websites. While it is always possible to just hire more staff, it will be far cheaper to just use a call center to handle frequent calls and calls that have a long duration.
3. When there is an increase in leads to qualify.You’re looking for ways to expand your marketing strategies. Good marketing creates leads, but you also need ways to convert those leads into sales through online and offline techniques. Getting help from a highly effective call center could be a way of making sure your salespeople have the help they need in sifting and sorting between inquiries and prospects who are ready to buy.
4. When there is a need to improve customer service. Call centers can also help your business to expand the quality and quantity of your customer service. For instance, call centers can follow up on customer orders, confirming that their products have been shipped out. They can also be used for getting feedback from customers after they have received their products. Some call centers even process customer emails for a company.
5. When there is not enough time to return calls. Call centers can also make outgoing calls to people who left messages during business hours but staff did not have enough time to call back, or for people who called after business hours, or for people who called during a public holiday when there was nobody in the office.
6. When there is an increased need for sales support.When you get leads coming into your business, call centers can make outgoing calls to schedule appointments or take orders for products or services based on people responding to a mail order or infomercial campaign.
7. When there is an increased need to communicate more regularly with telecommuters and outsourcers. In companies that have a lot of remote workers, call centers can work as dispatchers, improving communication between company managers and telecommuters or independent contractors.
Your business should use a call center when the telephone changes from being an instrument to grow a business to becoming a bottleneck for business growth, cutting into productivity and profits.