The Benefits of a Call Centre & Outsourcing
Call centre n. an office in which a large number of people work using phones, for example arranging insurance for people, or taking customers’ orders and answering questions
(Oxford English Dictionary)
A Brief History
Less than 50 miles from my hometown of Leicester is the origins of the first known call/contact centre in the UK. Back in the 1960s Birmingham Press and Mail had PABX (Private Automated Business Exchanges) installed in order to have rows of agents/advisors handling customer contacts. In the 1970s the call centre technology expanded, with telephone banking and sales as more industries started to conduct their customer service over the phone. It was in 1983, the term ‘call centre’ was first published and recognised by the Oxford English Dictionary and the 1990s saw the international expansion of call centres, with call centres becoming the ‘front line’ of businesses across the world. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that we saw the trend of outsourcing, with big businesses seeking to cut costs by transferring their call centres overseas. Call centres now are an integral and vital part of a business and an equally important source of jobs.
The difference today is that it is no longer just big businesses that outsource their call centres. Due to the expansion of technology and the need to save costs in order to remain/become successful, more and more smaller businesses are outsourcing. In todays ‘Covid’ climate, this need to save costs is not to remain/become successful but to simply stay afloat, making outsourcing one of the most vital decisions a business can make in its quest for survival.
For someone that has spent many years working in and with call centres, I have seen first-hand the importance of call centres both to the businesses and the employees. Below I state some of the benefits I feel the call centre has to provide to businesses looking to outsource and some advice to employees looking to succeed working in one:
Working in a Call Centre
In the UK the call centre provides jobs for people from all walks of life. Students find it an ideal job to fit around their studies, parents find it helps with work/life balance and new graduates see it as an opportunity to grow and move forward in their careers. I have personal experience of a friend who left school at 17 and went straight into working at a call centre, over the years he worked his way up to a ‘Multiple Area Manager’. The opportunities the call centre provides to its employees are unlimited and I believe the success is purely down to the individual.
For me it is disappointing to see that Pakistan call centres are not viewed as job opportunities where an operator/advisor has the option of growth or progression. Yes, I have encountered individuals that have been in the field for a long time and have succeeded in building their careers, however, such opportunities are few and far between.
My advice to anyone wanting to work and succeed in a call centre is simple:
- Be wary of clauses in contracts – a contract is an agreement which is beneficial for both parties, call centre owners tend to use jargon and put in clauses where they can restrict you from earning a living. Be careful of what you sign and make sure you are receiving all the benefits outlined by the government.
- Master your trade – to succeed in your role, you need to master it. Pay attention with the training, ask questions where you don’t understand and persevere. Use all the resources that are available to you to upskill yourself.
- Expand your wings – only once you have mastered the role you are being paid to do, take on extra duties. Ask to ‘shadow’ other departments or take notes at a meeting. The more you can learn about the business the more opportunity you have to offer new skills and progress in the business.
At New Era we have a very simple straight forward contract, it is a piece of document that shows the date you started working with us, your job description and our code of ethics/conduct. We do not use jargon or have hidden clauses. We are building a business where we want staff to want to come and work for and with us. We employ staff with the aim to have them with us for many years to come, so if the motivation is there to grow with the business, we will fully support it.
Using a Call Centre as a Client
Cost saving is the biggest benefit of outsourcing, followed closely by time saving (which in itself is cost saving, for time = money).
On average you can get someone answering your calls for less than half of what you would pay in the west. You save the time in not having to recruit or train agents and if you do end up building a team of outsourced agents, you only have to deal with the one person, rather than all of them individually.
If you run a 24-hour office, then monitoring staff at all times, especially those on the graveyard shift is both difficult and time (cost) consuming. By outsourcing, you have staff working for you that are monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you require a large team of agents/operators then you need to consider the office space to cater for them. By outsourcing you eliminate that extra cost completely, if your team grows, your overheads will remain the same.
With the money saved, if you are able to reinvest it back into your business, it gives you the opportunity to further grow your business. I always advice my clients to use that money for advertising, the more you advertise, the more work you get and so on.
However, to successfully outsource and save money, you need to ensure you select the right outsourcing company.
New Era Outsourcing Specialists
At New Era, we don’t make false promises, our talking is done on the call centre floor, where our promises are met. Our charges per hour might not be the cheapest, but the training and continuous monitoring that goes on behind the scene is something we simply do not compromise on. We pride ourselves on being the only call centre with training methods similar to ones used in major UK call centres and taxi offices combined.
- No setup fee for your first agent – we are confident in our abilities; we know we can assist in making your business grow. We don’t charge a setup fee for the first agent, because we will prove ourselves. When your business grows, you will increase the number of agents you need, it is only a matter of time. However, if it’s just the one agent you need, that is fine, you get that with no additional charges.
- Staff monitoring – we have dedicated members of staff whose sole purpose is to monitor the work of our agents. We reward our agents on carrying out their roles at the highest of levels. Agents scoring 90%+ in quality scores are rewarded with bonuses.
- Monthly reports – three months down the line we provide our clients with monthly reports including quality, punctuality and attendance scores for each agent. Feedback from the shift manager and the agent him/herself is also shared. We feel this gives our clients a clearer picture and the satisfaction of a job well done.
Outsourcing can be one of the most beneficial decisions a business makes, especially in these current ‘Covid’ times. You can help keep your business afloat, save money and see your business grow, alongside eliminating the stress of unwell staff and providing social distancing office space.
If you are interested in working with New Era OS, as either an employee or a client, leave your details on our contact us page and someone will be in touch.
Also do comment below with your experiences of working in call centres and outsourcing, I would love to hear from you.
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