Sand castle, house, career… building any or all takes the right strategy, tools, and people. We’re launching a new Zendesk Talk Enterprise plan geared to the kind of structure we specialize in: contact centers. With Talk Enterprise, we aim to give you the tools and hands-on support you need to construct yours with minimal sweat (and zero hammer-related injuries).
With services like our Launch Success Program, Monthly diagnostics, and 99.95% usage SLA, call center operations run smoothly and let your team can focus on supporting customers. Here’s how to get started:
Determine your strategy and KPIs
Before you get started building your contact center, take a step back to solidify your primary objectives and key metrics. For example: is customer satisfaction your main goal? Or is operational efficiency more important? Will you have agents working in-house or will you outsource your customer service? Will your customers contact you through various channels (not just phone, but also email, SMS, social media, self-service)? Your contact center setup strategy will vary based on your organization’s goals. These goals may change over time, but an initial idea will help you prioritize investments.
Estimate call volumes and staffing requirements
Although it’s hard to really know your call volume until you are up-and-running, you can use the following rough assumptions to get an early estimate:
- Assume 3% of your customers contact your team
- Assume 5 events per customer account per month
Based on call volume estimates, the Erlang C formula helps estimate the number of agents required based on the estimated number of calls, average handling time (total time per call), maximum wait time and service level (one popular industry benchmark is an SLA of 80% of calls answered in 20 seconds). We like this handy Erlang C calculator.
Choose appropriate equipment and setup your environment
Set your team up for success with the right equipment for the job. Choose a cloud-based, VoIP solution that allows agents to take calls from their computers, over the internet -- that’ll allow your team to stay flexible and limit hardware investments.
High quality headphones are a worthwhile investment. Clarity of sound, noise reduction and comfort are important. Our team here at Zendesk has tested a bunch of headsets.
In choosing your contact center software, consider systems with call tracking, recording monitoring, and flexible routing systems. Your system should be well integrated with your other support channels, as well as your CRM system, so that your team can easily deliver seamless, personal support across every customer touchpoint.
To ensure consistently reliable VoIP performance, invest in a dedicated network connection. Make sure you have the diagnostic tools you need to troubleshoot and identify potential sources of impacted quality. You’ll also need to have a solid failover solution that will divert any calls to an alternate number in the event of any site-specific outages.
Create a hiring and training plan
Hiring, training and retaining the right agents is an essential part of your call center’s success (we have a full guide on this topic), including helpful tips for developing a recruitment strategy, writing a job description, conducting interviews and onboarding new agents.
Develop a rollout and testing plan
Once you’ve established your primary goals, selected the appropriate equipment, and created a hiring plan, you need to plan for the contact center roll-out. If time of the essence, limit the number of vendors you engage: choose a vendor that provides a VoIP solution that’s easy to set up, requires no additional equipment and includes multichannel communication options.
A multichannel contact center system with a built-in business VoIP solution -- like Zendesk Talk -- allows you to limit ramp time and get up and running quickly.
Appoint a project manager or point person to lead the charge. Once you’ve got things set up, perform user acceptance testing. Create, then follow, test cases to ensure all aspects of your contact center are working as expected. Record all bugs, problems or issues that come up for easy resolution.