6 Ways Your Small Business Can Maximize Call Center Adoption

We’ve been a call center service provider for thousands of small businesses over the years. We’ve seen small businesses who get the most out of outsourcing and grow their businesses, and we’ve also seen companies who struggle with outsourcing and decide a call center just isn’t the right fit for them.

We get it. When running a small business, if something doesn’t work, it’s gone. If using a call center feels like it’s doing less than nothing to help your small business prosper, we find it’s typically due to a lack of adoption. If your business isn’t using the call center, or not using it properly, it’s not going to work. Fortunately, there’s help! We want your small business to kick butt in your niche, and adopting the full capabilities of a call center into your everyday is an easy task.

We’ve developed 6 points by looking at how we’ve helped other small businesses over the years get the most out of our call center service. To truly see how a call center can help your organization, it needs to be adopted into your organization. And realistically, a 3rd party call center may not be the best fit for you, but you’re not going to really know unless you’re using it properly and giving it a fair shot. The points listed below have been effective in helping other small businesses adopt the call center into their business so they can see the value in outsourcing, and hopefully they’ll work for you, too.

1. Have Multiple Departments or Employees Check Call Center Performance Daily

If only one person is checking up on your call center’s performance, your company may get a skewed report of how well it’s working – or not working. A better approach is to have multiple people check in so you get a broader range of opinions and ideas. What one person thinks or feels may not be representative of the group as a whole, and the more eyes you have on the processes may allow you to see something that may otherwise go unnoticed.

To streamline processes, it may also help to separate who is responsible for checking on what. For example:

  • Sales: Your sales team should be responsible for checking up on how your call center is capturing, generating, and/or converting leads. Allowing your agents to schedule appointments on your behalf can secure more patients or client traffic.
  • Support: Your support team should be responsible for checking up on how your call center is providing customer service. Having agents input data into your system or perform basic help desk troubleshooting can help increase customer satisfaction and in-house employee performance.
  • Billing: Your billing or accounting team should be responsible for checking up on how your call center is handling billing inquiries. Allowing your agents to process payments on your behalf can help cut down on return calls and alleviate in-house queues.

2. Have Everyone In Your Organization Help With Adjustments

When outsourcing your business processes to a call center, the more feedback and data you have to work with the easier it will be to fine-tune your approach. Some ways to gather this data includes:

  • Gather feedback from staff: Holding staff meetings and picking your employees brains can provide helpful insights into what they believe is working or not. They may be able to offer ideas on how to increase call center performance that you haven’t thought of yourself, which can help maximize your business’s approach to outsourcing.
  • Run controlled tests: Having multiple people within your organization place test calls with your call center is a great way to get an idea of how things are operating, and the type of experience your customers are receiving. It’s a good idea to have more than one person placing test calls and at different times throughout the day or week to get different perspectives and see if there are any hiccups with hold times or operator performance.
  • Generate reports: Analyze reports from your call center like length of calls by call type, number calls received at any hour, hold times, etc.  Reports can help you determine things like if calls are taking too long and if so, how your script can be refined to streamline each interaction.

3. Keep It Simple

Just like in your office, the more complicated procedures you have, the more chances there are for errors. The same goes for outsourcing, except the call center agents that you’re outsourcing to have even more of a chance to botch complicated procedures simply because they aren’t familiar with how your business works. Unless you have a team of dedicated agents that are specifically trained in your protocols, keeping your call handling simple is going to create the best outsourcing experience. Some ways to keep your processes simple include:

  • Implementing FAQs: Allowing your operators to help answer questions is going to be the best way to cut down on the amount of calls your employees have to return later. Simple questions your agents can answer include your business hours, location, pricing, and services to start. However, keep in mind that the more FAQs you add, the more information your operators have to sift through which could result in longer calls and a shaky call flow.
  • Setting up Transfers: For the questions your agents are unable to answer or the scenarios they are unable to help with, setting up transfer options to your in-house staff is a great way to streamline support and make sure your customers are getting the assistance they need.
  • Keep path options minimal: A “path” in a call center script is simply just an option the operator can choose when handling a call. For example, “calling to schedule an appointment” or “calling with an emergency” could be paths you implement. However, the more paths you add, the more chances there are for operators to select the wrong option. We recommend 3 paths, and no more than 5 for a simple process. Any other scenarios that could come up should be grouped in a “catch all” path the operators can take to just gather basic information.

4. Find How The Call Center Adds Value To Your Organization, And Show It

If the higher ups in your company have reservations about your outsourcing experience, a good way to prove its positive impact is to find something the call center is helping with, and show it. For example, less cancellations each month shows that more customers are pleased with your company, and more employees leaving on time each evening shows that they have less work to do during the day.

Whatever your business needs help with, call centers can work with  you to achieve  your goals. From increasing customer retention and locking in more sales, to being available after hours and giving your callers a live voice to talk to, outsourcing provides an added value to your organization that can help your business stand out among the rest.

5. Train Everyone Who Will Be Accessing The Software

In order to ensure a successful partnership with your call center, it’s important for everyone to be on the same page. That means that anyone who you want to access the call center’s software should be given their own login, and a training session on how to use it.

Depending on how complex the portal is, you may want to just stick to the basics while training your employees, like knowing how to pull up message details, listen to calls and make simple changes, but it’s probably not necessary for them to learn more advanced features. For example, SAS’s portal gives users access to their entire script, which they can make edits to at any time. However, scripting requires some programming knowledge, which may not be what your employees are comfortable with. So, it’s best to use your judgement on what you think is important for your employees to know.

6. Implement Software Features

If you’re not using all of the features your call center offers, you’re missing out. After all, those tools are there to help your business succeed and to make the outsourcing experience as seamless as possible. If you’re using SAS as your call center, some examples of features that you may want to consider implementing include:

  • App integrations: Whether you need help with appointment scheduling or customer management, our arsenal of 30+ app integrations are here to help. From web-based apps like Google Calendar, Google Sheets and Google Maps to CRM and helpdesk apps like Salesforce, Freshdesk and Pipedrive, our advanced software is completely complimentary.
  • On-call schedules: Implementing your on-call schedule has never been easier with our user-friendly interface. Plug in your staff’s schedule and stay organized with color coordinated features, or upload your schedule via .CSV file in a matter of seconds. You can even create custom groups for easy input.
  • Scheduled reports: If you don’t have time to generate custom reports all the time, then scheduling automatic reports within your portal will help keep you in the loop without having to lift a finger. You can customize your reports to be sent daily, weekly or monthly, and you can have them include stats like the number of minutes in a given time frame, the number of calls, and more.
  • Surveys: Surveys are a great tool to implement to help you get an idea of what your customers are thinking. After each phone call, your call center reps can send your customers an email with a link to your survey. Customize everything from questions right down to  your company logo.
  • Call ratings: Not only can you listen to calls within  your portal, but you can rate them, too! Leave some feedback for your agents and have a complete hands-on approach to your outsourcing experience.
  • Mobile app: If you or your techs are always on the go, download our mobile app for iPhone and Android users so that you can always stay connected, no matter where you are. Check messages, return calls, and make on-call changes right from the palm of your hand.
  • Users: Give your employees access to your online portal by adding them as their own users. You can set permissions for each user to determine what they can or can’t access, and best of all – there is no limit to how many you can add!

Call centers like SAS can help you handle customer service requests, connect with leads, and open up new communication channels. If you have other tips on how to increase call center adoption in your small business, please reach out to us on Twitter @SpecialtyAnswer.

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