The How to Guide: For Using UK Call Centre Services

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1 The How to Guide: For Using UK Call Centre Services Essential Tips to think about before choosing Call Centre Services

2 INDEX Introduction 3 - So what is a Call Centre 3 - How to choose the right Call Centre for you 4 - What the Call Centre is absolutely perfect for 5 - Why do so many Inbound Call Centres look the same? 6 - The pitfalls you should be aware of before signing up with a Call Centre 7 Off-shoring / 3rd Party Outsourcing of Call Centre Services 8 Pricing - Keep it simple 9 A Free Trial... but what s the real cost? 10 For Your Reference 11 The How to Guide for Using UK Call Centre Services 2

3 SO WHAT IS A CALL CENTRE The following are five key tips we have compiled from our own personal experiences of the Call Centre World and their Telephone Answering Services When we help clients with their enquiries, these are some of the first pieces of information we ask for and advice we give. They are by no means definitive, but cover some of the main aspects of what any one should know before selecting a Call Centre Provider to assist them with their calls. 1. So what is a Call Centre So you ve spent the time to tap in Call Centre or the equivalent in your search engine, but do you really know what a Call Centre is? Well a Call Centre is actually an incredibly simple solution to allow your customers to contact you by phone 24 hours a day 7 days a week from just about any location throughout the world. They should be able to deal with your calls for any of your departments and talk knowledgeably about your Services to your customers. In addition the Call Centre should also be able to route urgent/emergency calls quickly and with minimal fuss to the correct on call staff. If you operate a sales line or order fulfillment service you want to ensure that they can take credit card details & have full internet access to place orders directly onto you systems. The How to Guide for Using UK Call Centre Services 3

4 HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT CALL CENTRE FOR YOU So, ok now you know what a Call Centre is, how on earth do you choose the right Inbound Call Handling Centre to match your requirements? The first thing to think about is exactly what do you want from the Call Centre, is answering the calls really quickly using technology either to hold your customers in a queue or force them into pressing lots of buttons using an Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) system important? Is cost the driver and you are just happy for your customers to be routed thousands of miles offshore to be handled by people that know what is happening in Eastenders or the weather but nothing about you, your customers or your Services. At First Call we recognise business costs have increased throughout the last year. Naturally many businesses s still have a need to outsource calls or provide a 24hr service to their clients. Therefore we would like to offer all new clients a credit crunch busting 10% discount on all services! > CLick HERE to find out more Just maybe all you want is for your customers calls to be answered in a timely, polite & professional manner by a real human being based here in the UK? Once you know what you and your customers would like, then you have to ensure that you match this with the capabilities of the Provider. You should look for a Telephone Answering Service Provider that can tailor their Services to your exacting needs, they should answer your calls in your company name, be able to recognise your key customers, ask relevant questions depending on your customers enquiry and pass all the information back to you without delay. The How to Guide for Using UK Call Centre Services 4

5 WHAT THE CALL CENTRE IS ABSOLUTELY PERFECT FOR Call Centres in general are absolutely perfect for a wide range of applications because of their versatility and the speed with which they can respond to your needs, covering inbound services such as: Emergency information services Health Services Manufacturing support services Lift and property maintenance services Refrigeration & air conditioning maintenance services Heat and power maintenance services Oil and gas support services, both onshore and offshore Handling high-value business leads Solicitors and legal services Lone Worker Monitoring Veterinary services Daytime & Overflow Services Road and traffic control maintenance Media Response Lines Order Fulfillment Services Recruitment Lines Holiday/Sickness Cover Call Centres quite simply are the easiest solution to keeping in contact with your customers 24 hours a day 7 days a week. On average a new Service should take less than 5 working days to implement from start to finish. The How to Guide for Using UK Call Centre Services 5

6 WHY DO SO MANY INBOUND CALL CENTRES LOOK THE SAME? Yes that s right, I know, I know... yes they all look the same (how many sites have you looked at today?)! We have gone to huge lengths to try and get across the differences between our Telephone Answering Services at because fundamentally a Call Centre is a call centre, is a call centre! I know that is not quite what you expected to hear, but we are not in the business of hard selling to you. The only real difference between each different Call Centre is the pricing structure and whether they can tailor their Services to provide you and your customers exactly what you need. At First Call we recognise business costs have increased throughout the last year. Naturally many businesses s still have a need to outsource calls or provide a 24hr service to their clients. Therefore we would like to offer all new clients a credit crunch busting 10% discount on all services! > CLick HERE to find out more So if quality, reliability & professionalism aren t important to you, then go for the cheapest and if they are important to you and your customers then choose the most capable. The How to Guide for Using UK Call Centre Services 6

7 THE PITFALLS YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF BEFORE SIGNING UP WITH A CALL CENTRE If there is a step in this guide that you absolutely must read above all others it is this! To recap all Call Centres offer almost the same Services, but the front-end delivery is most certainly not! Check that what they say you will get charged for is all you will get charged for. Also be wary of where the calls are answered, the way the calls are managed, whether they are processed to your instructions and how they are passed back to you for your review differs between almost every supplier of Call Centre Services. Now this is of course where you think I tell you that our way is best.wrong! Instead, I ll tell you what these pitfalls could be, what their pro s and con s are and then I ll tell you how we do it and then of course leave you to decide what s best for you. The How to Guide for Using UK Call Centre Services 7

8 OFF-SHORING / 3RD PARTY OUTSOURCING OF CALL CENTRE SERVICES I m sure you will have noticed just how many suppliers now are promoting UK based telephone answering services. Why? Well more and more UK companies are returning to the mainland after off shoring for price reasons. The reason they are returning is simple, their customers don t like the off shoring of their Services and demand that they are managed and delivered from here in the UK. The fact of the matter is that off shoring can save Companies up to 70% of the costs of delivering a Service and that means that they can offer significantly reduced prices to clients. The problem is that the level of Service is perceived to be less (and in some cases is significantly lower than on offer here in the UK) and customers see off shoring of the Services as a cost cutting exercise for big companies to make bigger profits. At First Call we recognise business costs have increased throughout the last year. Naturally many businesses s still have a need to outsource calls or provide a 24hr service to their clients. Therefore we would like to offer all new clients a credit crunch busting 10% discount on all services! > CLick HERE to find out more In addition to the reduction in quality there is also the Security aspect of working with a company that off-shores your Services, I am sure that everyone has heard about the recent Data Protection breach of one centre based in India. The last thing to think about is whether the Provider will actually be answering your calls at all times. In today s market place there are many who will claim to be 24/7/365 but few who can deliver it and in reality they may pass on your calls to a 3rd party Call Centre who know nothing about your business. The How to Guide for Using UK Call Centre Services 8

9 PRICING KEEP IT SIMPLE The normal charging structure in most outsourcing Call Centres is a one-off Set-up Fee, a Monthly Service charge plus a cost per Transaction. However, like so many things in life, read the small print. What do you get for the Set-up Fee? Make sure it includes ongoing amendments during any bedding in period; usually 1-month is typical for ironing out all of the issues. Check whether the monthly service charge covers you for things such as, message report delivery, minor amendments to your Service, provision of the divert number(s) for the duration of the contract and access to local rate & free phone numbers. When Inbound Call Centres talk about transactions costs, make sure that you know what they are really saying. Some refer to cost per transaction, other to a cost per transaction minute and still others to a cost per call. When comparing a cost per transaction to a cost per transaction minute, make sure you take into account the average durations of your calls. For instance if your Telephone Answering Service would involve the call centre dealing with new sales orders for you, then the call could very quickly become lengthy, by the time the callers details are captured their order, payment method & delivery address recorded you are soon looking at a 5/6 minute call. If you had two sets of costs, a transaction charge of say 1.20 or a cost per minute of say 0.40 the second initially looks very attractive, however, when you take the duration into account, suddenly you could be looking at a charge of almost double the cost of a fixed transaction charge! This is where it is very important to know your call durations & your expected call volumes so that you can work out the true cost of the Call Centre Service. The How to Guide for Using UK Call Centre Services 9

10 A FREE TRIAL... BUT WHAT S THE REAL COST? Many inbound call centres may advertise a free trial period (usually just one week) to try an entice you into using them & then hope that, to be frank, you don t have the time and energy to find another supplier and just end up remaining with them, even though they are not really what you wanted. Most free trials offer you an entry-level service that is not tailored to you and your customers needs. They are great if all you want to take is the caller s name, telephone number and a brief message and then have that ed to you. However, the requirements of business in the real world are rarely that simple. At First Call we recognise business costs have increased throughout the last year. Naturally many businesses s still have a need to outsource calls or provide a 24hr service to their clients. Therefore we would like to offer all new clients a credit crunch busting 10% discount on all services! > Click HERE to find out more If what you really need is an inbound call centre that can take your calls from anywhere in the world, identify the callers requirements and then implement your protocols to deal with the call, such as passing it on to one of your team of on call staff for by broadcasting a text message to a number of senior staff, then you have to forget about free & think about working with the Call Centre to tailor their Telephone Answering Service to your requirements and not to theirs! So basically, there is no such thing as Free, even if you have not had to pay any money for the Free Trial, what could it have cost you in terms of customer satisfaction and retention? The How to Guide for Using UK Call Centre Services 10

11 FOR YOUR REFERENCE We answer all of our calls from one of our two UK based inbound call centres. Operating 24 hours a day 7 days a week, we answer all of our client s calls directly in one of these two centres. Our pricing structure is designed to be clear and simple, we have a monthly Service Charge, that includes minor updates to your set-up and provides you with a 01224/01253/0844/0800 number for diverting your calls to, free of charge and we charge per transaction, so you will always know how much each transaction will cost you. We do not offer Free trials of our service, however, we will work with you and ensure that we provide you with a fully tailored service, on a minimum 3-month trial basis. If, as I am sure you will be, after this time you then wish to sign up for a longer term contract we will naturally review the costs to reflect this. Remember to download our free handy Checklist to assist you when comparing Services. Also check out our new incentive scheme for new clients and business referrals. > Free Checklist If you would like more details about the Telephone Answering Services offered by First Call Business Communications, please visit our website or contact us via or our free phone number P.S. But Wait there s more! At First Call we recognise business costs have increased throughout the last year. Naturally many businesses s still have a need to outsource calls or provide a 24hr service to their clients. Therefore we would like to offer all new clients a credit crunch busting 10% discount on all services! Click HERE to find out more The How to Guide for Using UK Call Centre Services 11

12 The How to Guide: For Using UK Call Centre Services Essential Tips to think about before choosing Call Centre Services

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