Call Center Suggestions
Any suggestions for a call center, preferably in the US. If you've used on before, how do you go about building a knowledge base to answer questions?
I was impressed by LiveOps . Their system integrates the rampup and learning before an operator can work for your company. All the operators work from home, and I think they could integrate into your CRM. I didn't end up hiring them because I decided to channel all support through email (and ZenDesk) on the project, so I can't speak to their actual performance, if I had gone forward with live customer support, I would have used them.
In addition to their service I would recommend using ZenDesk to build a searchable knowledge base for your customers (VA's or operators can use it too). You save money if your customers can find the answer to their questions on their own instead of calling you. It's pretty cool because you can build your knowledge base incrementally from real customer questions. I use this and love it. Their iPhone app could be better, but it's a start.
I ended up using my Fulfillment house for customer calls. This is good for calls about existing orders like, "where is my order", or "I was hoping you could ship it a day later when I get back from my trip". I recommend having a call tree (press 1 for sales, 2 for existing orders, 3 for business development, etc.) Having the person who answers the existing orders extension is nice to have AT the same warehouse it is shipping from, because they know real time information.
However, for general sales calls, I'd outsource it to a call center. I've priced out a company in Canada (24-7 InTouch). They are priced at around $0.88/min on phone, and $0.64/min on chat with $500 setup fee. I can't recommend them until I have tried using them. I'll report back next month. Matt likes a service that outsources to individuals on a network called LiveOps. Much less expensive. But before you do any of these, make sure you have a great FAQ page, or even an organically growing FAQ using Zendesk. The goal is to answer the customer's question before they call.
I recently read a book by a guy who runs a call center. His book is called "Work the system." It is all about creating process in your business. However, the main point is that his business has apparently done amazingly well and out performs the competition because of the process he uses for everything in his business. Anyway, I can't vouch for his business, but it sounds like he would be a good one to check out. His name is Sam Carpenter and his company is named CentraTel. The URL for the company is http://www.centratel.com/