Thursday, January 7, 2010

What is the hardest thing about running a call center?

http://hubpages.com/hub/MindMapping-Description-and-ToolsI was recently asked this question in one of the forums that I am active on and its actually a surprisingly difficult question to answer.  Here's what I said to the Questionaire ... if you have a similar question, take a read through the points below but pay special attention to the extra info section.

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What is the hardest thing about running a call center?

Well I guess this answer varies depending on if you're running a Customer Service Call Center or if you're running a Help Desk/Support Call Center. However, in either case probably your first challenge would be determining the appropriate KPI's that need to be measured.

You need to know what services are important to your customers and ensure that your teams are in the right place with the right knowledge to provide those answers to your customers to minimize any service disruptions or service impacts.

Then you need to be hiring and sourcing the right candidates - local or external - to ensure that your customers are getting the information they need. Once you've found the bodies, you're going to be looking at initial and ongoing training.

Appropriate teams and methodologies need to be in place to ensure that information flow and tools are available to your front line staff so that customers get the appropriate answer as quickly as possible - things like FAQs and Knowledgebases are great, but they need to be kept up to date. You must also ensure that you have a robust and effective system to track customer interactions.

Given you quite a bit of building and running a call center ... your question though ... the hardest thing ... really depends on what step of the process you're in. If just starting out, then getting the right people is probably going to be your biggest challenge - as a hint, hire for Customer Service skills and experience vs. Technical ... its easy to train/teach technical skills but a lot harder to do the same for Customer Service.

If your service is already well established you probably want to look at your KPI's and metrics as well as training and tools to ensure that your customers are getting the best answer possible. 

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Extra Information - 

As you can see, as much as I would have liked to, I was unable to give a complete answer to this question as it is a bit too vague.  I would have liked to have known the following for a starting point to get into more depth.
  • Service Provided
  • Size of Company/Team
  • Size of Customer Base
  • Customer Service Call Center or Technical Call Center
  • Volume of Contacts
  • Current Customer Satisfaction Level & KPI's in place
  • Current Knowledgebase
  • Current Toolset
  • Insourced or Outsourced Customer Service

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