Handling all of your customer service in house is great when you have a small number of customers. It ensures that they always get quality support, helps them build a personal connection with your brand, and helps you get to know your customers.
It can also take a massive amount of resources away from the work that will push your business to the next level—and you can get all the same benefits if you work with the right call centre.
How do you know when it’s time to hire a call centre? Ask yourself the following questions:
1. How much time do you and your top level employees spend on customer service?
Customer service is important, but it rarely makes you money directly. If you—or your top level employees—are spending more than a few hours a week on customer service, it’s time to think about hiring.
You might be able to get away with hiring just one person, but eventually that person will be sick and you’ll be left doing your own customer service for a few days. A call centre has many employees, and can guarantee that somebody will always be there when you need them. And many modern call centres offer packages specifically tailored to fit the needs of small businesses.
2. Are you or any of your employees actually good at customer service?
Good customer service requires a certain skill set. You have to be patient, listen actively, and be able to calmly provide solutions or a compromise.
Not all of us are good at these things. Some people are brilliant administrators but terrible customer service people. Their time is best spent doing what they’re good at.
If nobody on the team is good at customer service and you have to hire, it’s worth considering a call centre.
3. Are you thinking about creating or expanding your customer service department?
Maybe you’ve already hired someone—or several people—to do your customer service, but they’ve become so busy that there’s always a backlog. But hiring additional staff also means making room for them, buying equipment, going through the hiring process, and training them.
Call centres already have their own equipment, office space, and employees trained in customer service. They also have training procedures in place to help employees quickly adjust to working for your brand.
4. Do you enjoy the hiring process?
Let’s face it: very few business owners actually enjoy the hiring process. It involves looking at hundreds of resumes, interviewing at least half a dozen people, and training the successful candidate(s). And once it’s done, your new employee can bail at any time, forcing you to go through the whole thing again.
When you go with a call centre, you hire them once, and they do the rest. Your original person left for another job? They’ve got someone else. You need to expand and hire half a dozen people? They can hire all of those people for you, and those costs are all incorporated in the centre’s fees, so you don’t have to worry about losing money when someone leaves.
5. What kind of customer service do you need?
Most call centres offer two kinds of service: basic customer service which requires very little training, and advanced customer service for complicated products. Since training requirements are vastly different, prices can be as well.
There may also be different plans for services during regular office hours and evening/weekend office services. Take a look at the common plans offered in your area. Local is ideal because you can get a better idea of work environment and training standards—to figure out what type of plan suits your needs.