What Most Call Centers Look Like
Call centers are an expensive proposition. Most are built with a ton of capital equipment and ample bandwidth for lots of phone lines. Dozens or hundreds of desks, chairs, phones, headsets, paperclips, pencils clutter the expensive square footage. Of course, you need heat, A/C and a couple of techs to run all of the sophisticated switches, predictive dialers and computers.
You also needed a big budget for electricity. Typically there are electronic displays all over the office showing the call cue activity so you, the manager, know what’s going on. Don’t forget that big parking lot for all those people who are taking or making those calls, and the insurance to protect the company. You need a lot of different things and services to run a modest or sizable call center.
I know because I’ve built and run several of them. The one I owned as part of my software company; Timeslips Corp., was staffed with about 50 people and cost me over $300K to build. That was a fraction of the cost required to build the one I ran in Dallas, TX a few years later, with several hundred people.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Make All That Overhead Disappear
There is another way and it’s so much easier and less expensive now than ever before. All of the physical infrastructure is no longer needed: No building, no equipment, no electricity – none of it. Actually there is one thing you do need: a nice big screen or two for your computer, so you can monitor every aspect of your call center without ever leaving your desk.
You can be located anywhere: a spare bedroom, a vacation home, a hotel room or the back seat of a taxi – it really doesn’t matter. But I haven’t yet mentioned the best part. You can employ hundreds of people, monitor their every move, watch their detailed activities and know who are the best closers, the best techs or the best customer service people are more efficiently and with more precision than ever before.
By the way, they too can live anywhere in the country or even the world. It doesn’t matter where your staff are located as long as they can handle calls efficiently, with the fewest voice mails possible. They can even work in their pajama’s and you don’t care. That’s because you’ve gone Invisible! Simply put, being invisible means that you, the CEO, can expand quickly and effortlessly with little risk or commitment to long-term leases or buildings. Invisible also means clients see only the best service possible, well trained, happy staff and you can run the whole operation anywhere in the world.
The Best Part:
It cost 95% less. And, you avoid the untold headaches of keeping a large group of sales or tech support people happy in a physical space. The efficiencies are far higher than they ever were. So much so that Jet Blue and Southwest Airlines have sent their entire phone staff home; home to work that is.
By now, the press has elevated Ebola to the importance of a huge national crisis, it may be and let’s all hope its not, but with your work force all working from home. They are less likely to spread an illness among the staff when they never share a space. What does that mean to you, when your staff takes less sick days and can take better care of themselves?
While everything I have discussed so far benefits you, the CEO, It’s your staff who are the real winners. It’s proven that productivity rises and costs plummet, staff members just love to work from home.
It’s the Job Everyone Wants!
The working professional’s dream: Full pay with no commute, no hours wasted in traffic, no gas expense, no car repairs and flexibility to set one’s own hours. What’s not to like?. Oh don’t forget – working from your PJs – priceless!
Yes it’s a little harder for you to find the best sales people, but in the end it’s worth it. (see my blog post on how to hire sales superstars anywhere in the world) Your best sales people are automatically moved up the call queue, so they take more calls than everyone else. Top closers get the most calls, of course. And the best of those become responsible for teams.
All this scales to an almost unlimited size without any of the growing pains a physical call center has. The system is so efficient even the smallest team of three people can gain significant advantages from operating virtually instead of having a physically located, fixed position team.
Your Call Center Manager Can See Everything
Using a cloud-based virtual call center, you will never have to upgrade your equipment or hit limitations; that’s simply not going to happen. Instead, you have access to unlimited capacity for pennies on the dollar when compared to owning and deploying your own equipment. Your performance statistics are immediate and vast, precise and customized to your exact needs.
Measuring productivity is one of the major benefits of a virtual call center and this screen illustrates which agents are answering calls, when they do and for how long they stay on the line. You can even listen to a recording of each and every call they answer. When you do, you start really seeing and experiencing your agent’s true personality.
You can easily measure the exact number of calls each reps completes along with the time spent and the dollars generated.
Measuring productivity is one of the major benefits of a virtual call center and this screen illustrates which agents are answering calls, when the do and for how long they stay on the line. You can even listen to a recording of each and every call they answer. When you do, you start really seeing and experiencing your agent’s true personality.
And finally the exact number of calls per person.
How Does This Apply to Me?
- If you are a one-person company, this may not be applicable to you other than to educate you on the topic. But if you are already receiving leads over the phone either through radio advertising or TV exposure, and have sales people taking calls, then you know instinctively how well this works for your type of lead flow.
- If you run a support operation and have calls coming in from all over the world then you need this system. I had a busy tech support department and as I described above, it cost me a fortune and was difficult to manage. Using the tools I outline above, you won’t have a problem scaling your operation at minimal “per-seat” expenses.
- If you have a catalog selling operation or sell courses with a support or coaching network that takes incoming calls, this style virtual call center is built for you. Since you are using this to support your products I would suggest coupling it with a powerful, cloud based help-desk system to automatically build a knowledge base from all the answers to questions you provide.
- This also applies to medical or emergency hot lines but now provides you with the ability to have “helpers” all over the country instead of just one small town.
What do I Mean by Being Invisible?
When I refer to being “Invisible” I am generally referring to the viewpoint of your clients. We want them to experience a frictionless, efficient, and helpful company, delivering a superior product (seemingly) effortlessly.
When I say “virtual” I mean your staff members are working from remote locations. An Invisible Organization is a company that has fully integrated the values of highly efficient systems, standardized training, reduction or elimination of physical infrastructure and very happy staff members who love their company and enjoy their jobs. That’s what I want for you and that’s what I am willing to help you achieve.
A Prelude to a Much Deeper Subject
I am showing you an inside view into an area which few people are familiar. This is just the tip of the iceberg and if you were really interested in implementing a virtual call center, I probably left you with more questions than answers. This is a small peek into my world, where huge lead flow is managed and upsold to paid programs using a live sales force. If you are patient, soon I will be releasing my new book later this winter which will take you through the entire topic of how to transition to a fully virtual organization. The goal of becoming “Invisible” results in being more profitable, more freedom to manage your life and business as you see fit.
Ultimately, the Decision to Go Invisible is Yours
Maybe I piqued your interest in what it would be like to have a virtual organization. Maybe you are already half way there or considering a transition to being more virtual. Whichever the path you take, I would like to be a resource to you as you make the transition.
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