There are call centers and there are world-class call centers. What's the difference? Well, plain old call centers function at a barely operational level in facilities that are inadequately designed and equipped. World-class call centers, on the other hand, are run by organizations that make a serious commitment to employee productivity and customer service by designing and outfitting their facilities thoughtfully and with the best equipment and technologies.Creating a world-class call center requires both time and careful planning, not to mention money. Here's a quick rundown of the key points you'll need to consider.
Software: No one size or type fits all. Applications should be selected on the basis of features, interoperability and usability. Custom software is best, but off-the-shelf applications can be used as long as they are customized to meet your call center's needs.
Voice Network: You'll probably want to base your network on VoIP technology to take advantage of the technology's cost, software integration and call-routing benefits.
Servers: Look down the road and acquire systems with enough speed, memory and storage scalability to handle your call center's operations for at least three years.
Displays: LCDs save power and space, and they're easy on the eyes. The screens should be large enough to accommodate your software's graphical interfaces without creating eyestrain.
Headsets: Ear gear should be tight yet comfortable. Detachable components promote good hygiene.
Keyboards: To prevent repetitive-motion injuries, make sure the keyboards are adjustable and aren't too stiff or lightweight.
Floor Plan: The best way to determine the ideal floor plan is to try a variety of different options to maximize the number of agents per square foot while still providing an effective flow. A program like Autodeks's AutoCAD can be a big help in designing an efficient layout.
Space: Is there enough physical space to accommodate the number of planned agents? Have you planned for future growth?
Aisles: The aisles between workstations should be wide enough to allow for efficient movement and meet local building-code regulations.
Workstations: Workstation furniture should be selected and configured to help agents handle their tasks efficiently and with minimal wasted movement. Look for full-service manufacturers that provide not only agent furniture systems, but also storage cabinets, meeting tables, chairs, and administrative and executive office furniture. You'll end up with a more cohesive system at a better price than you would working with disparate vendors.
Supervisor Stations: Supervisors need to see and be seen. Make sure your layout has positioned supervisory personnel in central and prominent locations.
Noise Control: Noise-abatement techniques, such as wall and cubicle soundproofing, as well as noise-canceling headsets, will enhance call quality while boosting agent productivity.
Ergonomics: Workstations, chairs and computer-input equipment should all feature ergonomic designs.
Design: Will power be dropped in from the ceiling or will it come up from the floor?
Outlets: Are there enough outlets to support all the equipment that will be used?
Wiring: To prevent dangerous snags and trips, wiring and cables should be totally concealed — in the flooring, the walls and the furniture.
Backup: An emergency generator can keep your center running independently of the main power grid. At the very least, in the event of a power failure, a generator can allow the center to power down gradually and safely.
Heating/Cooling: People and equipment both need adequate environmental controls. Call centers that are too cold or hot degrade agent performance and potentially shorten equipment life.
Air Filtering: Dusty, dirty air can make agents drowsy, burn their eyes and provoke allergies. Dust can also gum up equipment, so invest in a high-quality air-filtering system.
Lighting: Good lighting is an often-overlooked design element. Dim, overly bright or improperly positioned lights can drain agent productivity. The money spent on hiring a lighting expert won't be wasted.
Security: Closely analyze your call center for security weaknesses. You'll need to address three areas: technology security (affecting networks, servers, software and other technologies), physical security (affecting the call-center site) and employee security (including background checks , security-level administration and security training). Overlooking any of these areas can lead to serious long-term consequences.
Designing and building a world-class call center isn't easy or cheap. But since the center is your business's most prominent customer-contact point, it's one area you don't want to scrimp on.
We want to make sure you have the freshest information possible, so we’ve updated that chart to reflect the state of the contact center market for Q2. more
If improving customer experience is important to you (it should be), then 2017 may be a good year to reevaluate the software you use for your contact center. With customer preferences shifting, the importance of an efficient contact center has never been higher. You cannot afford to simply focus on keeping costs low. Significant competitive advantages are available to businesses who manage this area effectively. more