Call centres are still a hugely important feature of many businesses; many customers still require direct access to a company in order to complete certain processes, or when they have issues or concerns. Providing a world-class service in this department is still an indicator of a top class business.
If you have ever recruited staff for a telephone customer services position, you will know how difficult and time-consuming a process it can be. Finding people with the right skills is difficult enough, but they also need to be reliable, competent and dedicated. Customer service teams traditionally have a much higher staff turnover than other areas of business, and so hiring frustration can be common.
It is this sort of frustration that prompts many modern businesses to outsource their telemarketing requirements. Often, it is easier and more effective to allow a specialist external agency to handle the various tasks that come with customer services, and call centres in general.
If you would like to find out more about the costs and processes that come with external customer service teams, simply continue reading this page. Approved Index can help though, if you want to start comparing top UK agencies today.
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Call Centre Service Benefits
Outsourcing your telemarketing campaigns and inbound call handling to a call centre services company has many benefits:
- Dedicated telemarketing experts at your disposal
- Avoid the expense of hiring and training
- Quickly set-up and run campaigns
- Run short-term campaigns without internal team disruption
- Track the success of campaigns easily
Combined, these factors allow for much greater flexibility and business agility, which can be incredibly useful when you’re trialling telemarketing for the first time or when your inbound call volumes fluctuate with the changing seasons.
Call Handling Services
Call handling is the process of managing phone calls both to and from a business; generally, the main aim of these teams will be to handle customers and to make sales, but they can also be deployed in other areas too.
As mentioned above, one of the main benefits of hiring an external telemarketing agency for this role is that it frees up hours within your organisation. Even if it were more cost-effective to use an internal call handling team, it may still make more sense to outsource the process in terms of resource, space and time-management.
Call handling can be of use to companies of all sizes. If you’re a sole trader, an inbound call handling service can act as your virtual office, whilst if you’re a larger business it can provide welcome support when you experiencing unusually high call volumes or you need call handling outside working hours.
Call Handling Roles
When you sign up to a call handling service, your business will be given a unique telephone number from which calls can be answered or diverted to the relevant member of your staff. When a phone call comes into the call centre, it is answered by an operator with your company name as though the caller has reached your office.
These operators will be able to provide basic information about your business (contact details etc.), or transfer callers who want to speak to a specific individual. Some companies will simply pass calls on to the next available operator -who has your company details on screen - others will offer your team what are essentially dedicated PAs, who deal with your calls and no one else’s.
Call handling companies can provide the following services:
- Call answering, diverting and forwarding
- Fax and email forwarding
- After sales service
- Direct response handling
- Customer service
- Order taking
- Appointment Booking
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Call Handling Benefits
Phone call handling is at its most effective and productive when used by your company for taking orders, handling customer service, or for providing technical support.
It is mainly used by businesses that need a professional call handling service. They use this service to have their calls answered, screened and forwarded. Customer service representatives are armed with a database of information and agreed upon call-scripts to ensure that the correct information is given to customers in the way that you wish.
Call handling can offer many benefits to businesses of all sizes:
- No need to employ and train new staff internally
- Keeps in-house employees free to focus on more important business
- Telephone answering service on offer 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
- Can open up regional and overseas call handling centres, ideal for handling multiple languages
- Once a script is agreed ,you can be sure customer calls are always addressed in a professional way
- Customers never fail to speak to an operator, improving satisfaction
- Stay on top of calls during seasonal peak times or unexpected rushes
- No need to worry about calls overflowing
- Quick & easy to transfer calls into the office or elsewhere
- In-depth customer tracking
- Can be a useful trial ground for new technologies before bringing them in-house
What To Look for in Call Handling Agencies
As with any call centre based service, there are several things that you should keep an eye out for. These factors aren’t to be taken too lightly or you risk derailing any campaign further down the line. The qualities you should look for with telephone answering services are:
- Their experience and track-record
- Have they done work in your industry or sector before?
- What infrastructure is in place to support you company’s needs?
- Are the customer service reps (or agents) enthusiastic and pleasant?
- Can you choose the reporting metrics, e.g. data such as call duration, revenue, handling time, etc?
- What programs are they using? Are they compatible with your preferred platforms?
There is also the option of using an offshore call handling centre, but the decision to do this must be made carefully as it brings with it pros and cons
The obvious pro to using offshore centres is that it decreases the cost of the service, with a possible saving of up to 25%. For budget-conscious companies, this will be a big consideration. However, take into account the effect using an offshore centre can have on your corporate image, and the training difficulties and time differences that accompany it too.
For the most accurate cost estimates and quotes, simply complete the form at the top of this page.
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Virtual Offices Services
Beyond merely handling your calls for you, call centres can also act as a Virtual Office, which can further save on staffing and overhead costs. With a virtual office you are given a business address and telephone number, presenting your business with a professional image. However, you will be sharing space and resources with other companies who are employing a similar service.
Virtual Offices are particularly helpful for small to medium sized companies, as it allows them to use the same software and IT infrastructure as big businesses. This gives them opportunities that they otherwise would not be able to afford.
When using a Virtual Office service, you can expect support in a wide range of tasks, including:
- Call answering and handling
- Mail and fax forwarding
- Drafting and typing dictated texts
- Preparing reports and presentations
- Managing customer accounts
- Preparing invoices or offers
- Accounting work
- Data entry
- Follow up phone calls
Virtual Office space does not always have to mean virtual. You can book space in an actual office and use both meeting rooms and breakout spaces. These are often available with services such as refreshments, stationery, and wireless facilities as requested. You can create the environment you need to impress your clients.
The main benefit of a virtual office comes in the appearance of professionalism; having staff that are dedicated to presenting your business in the right way is essential for any business looking to make the right impression, with both customers and partners.
Virtual Office Factors
There are call centre providers located throughout the UK. However, finding the right company for your business depends on a lot of different factors, many of which have been discussed in this article. These include what it is your company sells, the size of the campaign you need to run, whether your campaign involves inbound or outbound calls and, of course, costs.
While these factors may be fairly obvious, others are less so:
- Are they experienced in dealing with your kind of customers – not just from a sector point of view but in terms of income, demographic, etc?
- Do the staff have regional accents and what impact will this have on your brand?
- Can your contract include a performance related element?
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The information on this page has been designed to provide you with information about the processes that go into external call centres. Although this information should give you some insight into the services on offer, it is always better to speak directly to suppliers if you want full information, with cost estimates - Approved Index can help here.
To compare quotes from up to 4 top UK telemarketing agencies, simply complete the form at the top of this page. Approved Index’s quote comparison service is free and without obligation, and it could save your business as much as 40% on services.
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