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How do you set up a new Contact Centre?

One of the most frequent enquiries that we get through our website is around setting up a new Call or Contact Centre.

The enquiry often relates to the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ but I always like to start with the ‘why’

Why do you want to set up a Call or Contact Centre?

The answer to this is varied. Some have a clear requirement; others see it as an easy solution to a problem and others see it as a business opportunity. Some are expanding and have a need; others are changing something that already exists.

In reality, a call centre or contact centre needs to have a purpose, an objective:

      • Is it to handle inbound service enquiries?
      • Is it to increase sales through outbound contact?
      • Is it to deliver a profit from handling outsourced business processes?

 

The defined need is the starting point for the design of a new operation but then there are other considerations to be made. The starting point has to be at a strategic level which in turn can  be broken down into a number of key areas.

It is a combination of answers to the above that provides the input required to commence the detailed design. This will then require an extensive bandwidth of knowledge covering all of the  areas highlighted below.

Each area in isolation can be a project of its own and we typically put a project structure in place with workstreams to deliver specialist areas of work. This works well especially in identifying and tracking interdependencies but also in ensuring that the design meets the strategic objectives discussed earlier.

 

But before starting any of the workstreams, the initial design considerations are fundamental.

What are the services that will be delivered?

How will they be delivered?

How many customers do we expect?

What is the demand for the Contact Centre?

How many people will be required and when are they needed?

What skills/experience do they need?

Once these questions are answered, we can start to prepare a vision of the Contact Centre and in particular its high-level look and feel. This then leads us into the more detailed design activity.

The following examples highlight the complexity involved in setting up a new Contact Centre.

 

What experience do we want our customers to receive?

How can they contact us?

When can they contact us?

Will there be self-service options?

How is the experience measured?

What training is required?

 

What are the skillsets required?

What are the Role specifications and competencies?

How can we recruit and select?

How are we going to plan resourcing and shift patterns?

What is the Induction programme?

What training is required?

 

Will the centre be in a single location, multiple locations or a virtual contact centre?

What office accommodation and facilities will be required?

Where is the best location for available skills/languages?

What support functions need to be co-located?

What will the workspace look like?

 

How do we ensure that all channels are integrated and consistent?

What is our approach to Customer Management systems?

How will we integrate Self-service into our website?

What operational support tools are required e.g. WFM?

How will we produce Management Information?

How will we share knowledge with our staff and our customers?

 

What are the business processes required to deliver the service?

What operational processes are there to manage the Contact Centre?

What are the workflows?

Are there automation opportunities?

How do we capture and share knowledge?

Is there a continuous improvement plan?

 

What is the operational structure?

How will we manage performance?

Who will support the team?

How will we measure and manage quality?

Who will develop shifts and rota’s?

What are the operational policies and processes?

 

The questions above are indicative of the type of matters that all need resolving in the implementation of a Contact Centre but they will inevitably lead to more and especially more detail.

The importance of having a structured approach should not be underestimated as there are many elements that cross multiple areas.

Reverting back to the original question of how do we set up a new Contact Centre, it is not as simple as putting a team together in a room. It is a complex activity that shows a real return on the investment in a good quality implementation. Our clients see the benefits of utilising our experience and a proven approach.

 

 

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