Starting a call center can be a lucrative endeavor, but it takes careful planning and execution to be successful.
Here are the 10 steps you can take to get started on building your very own call center.
Ten Steps to Launching a New Call Center
1. Choose Your Type of Call Center
The first step in launching a call center business is to identify the type of call center you want to launch. You might choose from the following types among others:
Inbound call center
An inbound call center takes calls from customers and helps them with whatever they need. This type of center is often used by businesses to provide customer service or support.
Outbound call center
An outbound call center makes calls to customers, often for sales or telemarketing purposes.
Learn more about the types of call center businesses.
2. Name Your Call Center
Give your call center an identity so people will think of it as a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your call center from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your own name among other options.
The main goal for naming your call center is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so that people will want to do business with you.
3. Determine Your Call Center Business Model
There are several possible types of business models for a call center, including:
- Per-minute billing: In this type of billing, the client is charged based on the number of minutes the call center agent spends talking to customers.
- Per-call billing: The client is charged a flat rate for each call, regardless of how long the call lasts.
- Monthly subscription: The client pays a monthly fee for access to the call center services.
Your billing model will be based on the type of call center business you have and the type of clients you plan to work with. You can change your billing model as your business grows and expands.
No matter which model you choose, make sure that it aligns with your business goals and the services you offer.
Read more about choosing the right business model for your call center.
4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business
By incorporating your call center, you will limit your liability. You can incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a C Corporation (C-Corp), or an S Corporation (S-Corp). Or you can operate as a sole proprietorship.
The business structure you choose for your call center will determine the amount of taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.
Read our article comparing the most common call center business structures.
5. Write a Call Center Business Plan
All call center business owners should develop a business plan.
A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or lenders, as well as to guide the day-to-day operations of the business. The business plan should include information on the company’s products or services, market analysis, financial projections, and management team among other things.
Read our article about how to write a call center business plan.
6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses
There may be required licenses and permits you need to obtain before launching your call center business.
For example, if you plan to work from home, you might need to obtain a zoning permit.
The type of license or permit required will depend on the type of call center business you have, your location, and any other regulations that apply to your industry.
You must register your call center as a legal entity with the state where you plan to do business. You can simply file an online form through your Secretary of State website.
Registering with the federal government is also essential so you can properly pay taxes for your business. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for at the IRS website, if you plan to hire employees.
7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed
In developing your call center business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.
If you have your own funds to invest in your call center, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your call center include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.
Read our article about the costs associated with starting a call center to help you determine if funding is needed.
8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently
When you start your call center, it’s essential to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. You definitely need a computer with Internet access, and accounting software for tracking expenses and revenues.
You may also want to invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) system, which can help you manage customer data and interactions. Other software options to consider include an auto-dialer, which can automate the process of making calls, and a VoIP phone system, which can help save on costs.
Read our article about the technology and software you need to run a call center.
9. Market Your Call Center to Potential Customers
Before you start selling your services, you must let the world know you exist. The first step is to create a website so people can learn more about your services and how they benefit them.
After you launch your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Also consider networking with other people in the call center industry through social media and blogs so they can help share your business.
You also need to start gathering the materials needed to execute on your promotions strategy, which is your strategy for attracting new customers. Call centers should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared:
- Attend trade shows and industry events
- Generate positive press and media attention
- Engage in email marketing campaigns
- Develop a strong referral program
Read our article about how to market your call center for more tips.
10. Get New Clients & Grow Your Business
When you promote your services, you’ll start to get interest from potential clients.
Make sure you’re ready to serve these clients. Also, be sure to establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs. And be sure to find and train the right people to help you grow your call center business.
Read our article about how to effectively grow your call center to learn more.
FAQs About Starting a Call Center
There are many reasons to start a call center. Call centers provide an essential service to other businesses by handling customer calls and inquiries. They can also be very profitable, as they have low overhead costs and can be run with a small staff.
Starting a call center business from home is possible.
You need to have the right technology in place, such as a computer with Internet access and a VoIP phone system. Finally, you need to ensure you have a good marketing and promotions strategy to attract new clients.
Starting a call center online is also possible. In addition to setting up the proper technology, you also need to create an online presence. Develop a website so that clients can book your services online.
You should also promote your website through social media and other online channels. Finally, consider setting up an online payment system so clients can pay you directly through your website.
Here are some tips for starting a call center:
- Start by researching the industry and understanding the different types of call center businesses.
- Develop a business plan to help you map your goals and strategies.
- Choose a niche market to focus on and build your business around that.
- Find the right location for your call center business.
- Set up the proper technology to maximize efficiency.
- Train your staff on how to best serve your customers.
- Promote your call center business through marketing and advertising campaigns.
- Monitor your progress and make necessary adjustments to ensure success.
- Get new clients and grow your business.
- Keep up with industry trends to stay ahead of the competition.
A simple checklist to use when starting a call center is as follows:
- Choose Your Type of Call Center Firm: This should be based on what you are best at and how much experience you have. Remember to keep your interests, skills, and experience in mind at all times.
- Name Your Call Center: This should be done with care, as your brand is important for attracting the right customers. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
- Choose a Legal Form for Your Business: Whether you choose to become a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation or another option will depend on your business. Ensure that you are aware of all the implications of each type.
- Determine Your Call Center Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
- Write a Call Center Business Plan: Your business plan will also help you determine what your start-up costs will be and will provide a roadmap with which you can launch and grow.
- Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses: In most locations you will be required to apply for a business license and/or permits before you can begin operations.
- Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed: You will need to know how much money you have to spend on all of your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
- Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently: You need to have the right tools in place to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
- Market Your Call Center to Potential Clients: A solid marketing plan will be crucial to your success. It should focus on attracting the right customers so that you can provide them with the services they truly need.
- Get Clients & Grow Your Business: Once you have a solid marketing plan, it's time to actively pursue and secure those who could benefit the most from your services.
Start a Call Center
Starting a call center can be daunting, but if you follow the tips provided in this article, you’ll be well on your way to success. Make sure to research, develop a business plan, and market your call center business to potential clients. With the right tools and strategies in place, you’ll be able to provide quality customer service and grow your business.