Call center employees
Call centers can help you with incoming and outgoing customer service and sales calls. — Getty Images/Wavebreakmedia

Call center services can be invaluable for managing customer service, making sales and a wide variety of other functions. If you need a larger customer service network or a better means of managing large volumes of phone calls, a call center service may be an effective solution for your company.

Call center services can offer several crucial advantages. In addition to being useful for sales and customer service, business owners can leverage them for surveys, marketing research, telemarketing, debt collection and generating leads. Call center services allow companies to efficiently unite multiple representatives around one or more of these functions.

This guide will help you find the right call center service for your company by:

  1. Detailing how call center services work
  2. Discussing what to consider while shopping for a service
  3. Implementing a call center service for your business

How do call center services work?

Call center services handle phone calls for other companies. Businesses hire them to provide functions as needed, such as customer service, sales or conducting surveys. Some of the largest firms offer multiple services under one roof, though they typically charge a higher price for all of their bells and whistles.

Many call center services offer advantages that include, but are not limited to:

Self-provided hardware: Call center services provide their own phones, headsets, computers and other devices as needed. Because this equipment is typically quite expensive, hiring a call center service can be much cheaper than building your own center. A call center service can be a much quicker solution than an in-house center, too. Because these companies already have their equipment infrastructure in place, their representatives can be ready to hit the ground running with whatever project you may have for them.

Self-provided software: Call center services have their own software that is tailored to suit whichever service they perform. Many call centers also have their own phone lines and high-speed internet. As with call center hardware, this means that you don’t have to devote your own precious resources to purchasing and setting up proper software.

Person power: Another considerable advantage that a call center service can offer is trained representatives. Hiring a call center service and letting its reps take care of certain needs can free your employees up to perform other, perhaps more crucial, tasks. In addition, the best call center services feature well-trained representatives who know how to provide a quality experience, which can save you from spending time and money on retraining your own employees. Call center services’ versatility can make them an attractive option for companies that need their solutions quickly.

Regulations: If your company exists in a heavily regulated vertical, you may need a call center that is compliant with those regulations and whose agents know how to perform within that sphere. Though they’re not always cheap, call center services that specialize in providing services within niche or highly regulated industries do exist. They can prove especially useful for companies that have limited staff or simply need help managing customers’ phone calls.

Growth: Customers who experience quality support are likely to return — they may even bring friends along. The best call center services effectively combine all of the above factors to produce a positive impression of your company. This positive impression can translate to more customers, more sales and, ultimately, your business’s growth.

Other Services: In addition to trained representatives and in-house resources, many call centers also offer such auxiliary services as generating new business leads or performing marketing research. These services may prove useful depending on your company’s needs and goals. Check these companies’ websites or talk to their representatives to see what they have to offer.

Customers who experience quality support are likely to return. This positive impression can translate to more customers, more sales and, ultimately, your business’s growth.

How do I pick a call center service?

Picking a call center service requires research and careful consideration. After all, you will be outsourcing important responsibilities to this company. The sheer number of call center services is great for variety, but can also make it difficult to hone in on which one would be best for your company. Fortunately, there are a few common factors to consider that can make finding the right call center easier.

Services: Before searching for a call center service, consider why your company needs one. Are you looking for help in handling customer service? Or, perhaps you’re looking for experienced sales representatives or lead generation? Do you only need a company that caters to your local area, or do you require a partner that has global reach? Whatever your needs may be, it’s always a good idea to outline what you’re looking to get out of a call center service before you begin your hunt. Establishing that focus ahead of time can save more time later.

Specialization: As previously mentioned, if you work in a highly regulated vertical or must otherwise abide by a wide set of rules, finding a company that specializes in that space can make a massive difference later on. Hiring representatives who know your industry’s ecosystem can save you time, garner additional sales and perhaps even impress your customers. Clients always appreciate representatives who are succinct and knowledgeable.

Cost: Budget is another important factor to consider while searching for a call center service. Many of these companies charge an initial fee followed by monthly payments, though others may use different setups. It never hurts to determine how much money you can set aside for a call center service before queuing up price plans. Because call center service plans can vary wildly depending on the resources that you need, many of them don’t post tiered plans online. You may have to call a representative for those details.

Location: A call center’s location can affect its services and prices. Overseas call center services can be cheaper, but many of them also lack the specialized touch that some companies may require. American call center services often feature those services, though their prices can be higher as well. Though exceptions to this trend certainly occur, it’s still a helpful guideline to bear in mind while looking for the right service. You may want to check local regulations if you feel that they pertain to your company.

Size: It’s helpful to pick a call center service that suits your business’s size. If you pick too large a service, you may risk paying for unnecessary resources or being inundated with more leads than your sales team can handle. Likewise, picking a service that’s too small can create a bottleneck. It never hurts to let a call center service know about your size and growth targets. Doing so can help you decide whether the service is a fit for you.

Reputation: Check user reviews to get the scoop on whether a call center service is up to par. If it isn’t, you might have to take your business elsewhere.

How do I partner with a call center service once I’ve found it?

Once you find a call center service that you like, there are several steps that you can follow to signal your interest and implement their services.

Outreach: Different call center services have different outreach preferences. Some companies need you to fill out an online survey detailing items such as your needs and desired price range. Others may simply require you to give one of their representatives a call for a more direct discussion.

Negotiation: After you’ve completed your initial outreach, you’ll have the opportunity to speak with a call center service representative about your needs. It’s always a good idea to be as honest as possible about your expectations and needs. If you find that the service you’re eyeing can’t meet those expectations, you can move on and find another call center service that can.

Integration: You can begin integrating a call center with your own business once both parties have made an agreement and are ready to proceed. The integration process can vary wildly, depending on the service that the call center is being hired for and its approach to that service, but many of these companies’ representatives are experienced in integrating with your business. This should make it easier to unite any software, hardware or information-sharing technology as needed. Meeting the personnel with whom you’re working can also be beneficial.

Continued partnership: Keeping a close eye on your hired call center service is a great way to ensure that it’s delivering on the functions and professionalism that you paid for. Keep in regular contact with your representative to ensure that growth goals are being met and that the service is doing its best to represent your business. Whether these representatives are selling your products or speaking with your customers, they can have a direct impact on your business’s growth and reputation.

Customers who experience quality support are likely to return. This positive impression can translate to more customers, more sales and, ultimately, your business’s growth.

CO— does not review or recommend products or services. For more information on choosing the best call center service, visit our friends at business.com.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Published February 25, 2019