I’m on a crusade. Maybe I’m just tilting at windmills, but I have a passion to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand that they do, indeed, operate a "call center". Sure, you may not have a hundred-plus seats operating multiple ACD queues 24/7/365. But if you have a single person or a small handful of people on your team who spend a good chunk of their time on the phone with customers, then you are a call center – a micro-call center maybe – but a call center nonetheless.
I’ve had the pleasure and privilege to work with companies and call centers of all shapes and sizes. While each call center brings a few new challenges and twists, there is a common thread across all of them: a desire to serve customers so well that they want to come back again and again. That’s true of every call center we’ve worked with, whether they have one agent, ten agents, or one hundred agents.
A few micro-call centers that we work or have worked with:
- One territory sales manager providing a sales and support function in an electronics manufacturing plant
- Three sales associates taking parts orders for a regional truck-parts provider
- Four inside sales associates providing sales and service support for a circuit-board manufacturer
- A team of five credit analysts working in a financial services company
- Three sales reps providing inside and outside sales for a sporting good distributor
Why is it important to understand that you operate a micro-call center?
- Even one person will impact your customers. The question is whether that impact will be positive or negative.
- Customers will make future purchase decisions based on their interactions with your representatives today.
- Capturing a sample of those interactions and coaching your people to provide the best possible sales and service provides you with the opportunity to manage performance and make tactical business decisions based on objective data from those moments of truth.
Okay. Watch out! Here comes the crazy call center crusader:
Hey, "Ms. Small Business Owner" – yes you "Mr. Entrepreneur", look outside your office right now. Is there a person there talking to your customers all day? Congratulations! You run a micro-call center. Perhaps it’s time to step up to the plate and manage it.
The Reward of Listening
How Many Agents Does it Take to Make a Call Center?
Front-line Conversations: Are You Listening?
Flickr photo courtesy of mize2oo5