Wednesday, 31 August 2011

What are the best opening hours for a call centre

An interesting article appeared on the Call Centre Helper website recently entitled “What are the best opening hours for a call centre”

The article was interesting from a number of viewpoints
  • Costs
  • Availability 
  • Customer service 
As those involved in the call centre arena know, a major part of call centre success is related directly to opening hours. This can be divided into 2 main areas. Opening hours that directly affect consumers and opening times that affect business.

Keeping call centres open 24 hours per day is generally not possible, unless required, as it is a costly exercise both in terms of financial impact and HR. However by offering the right mix of opening hours becomes an important ingredient in delivering customer satisfaction.

By offering the right mix of opening hours is important when delivering the right mix of customer experiences that benefit all.

The article goes into more details covering areas such as
  • Extended office hours 
  • Outbound calling 
  • Making use of web self-service 
  • Staff redeployment 
  • Use of an answer machines 
Read the article on the best opening hours for a call centre

Monday, 22 August 2011

The advantages of Voice over IP Telephony Solutions.

Voice over IP Telephony is all about making and receiving phone calls using an internet connection rather than the traditional method of using ‘Fixed’ phone lines such as analogue, ISDN2 or ISDN30 to make a phone call. VoIP telephony has an advantage over traditional telephony in that it usually costs far less than traditional methods of voice communications and so reduces the need for major capital expenditure.

Some of the benefits that VoIP can bring:

Lower call charges: By implementing a VoIP telephone solution into a business it can begin to save on call charges straight away. Savings can range from 30% to 60% by switching away from traditional telephone services.

Save on hardware: The move to VoIP is one of the easiest transitions that any company can make. There is no requirement to purchase expensive phone system (PBX) equipment. At its simplest, VoIP telephony can be used by any business with computers that have a sound card, speakers, a microphone and a suitable Internet connection. On top of this all that is required is a softphone client to make and receive calls. Softphones can either be free or paid for.

There are many types of IP enabled desktop phones that can be used with a VoIP service and often the type of phone chosen is a personal preference. However always ensure that phones are compatible with the service that you are going to use before purchasing them.

Flexibility: VoIP telephony allows you to use the phone in the same way that you always have with a fixed line service. When making the switch, you can even keep your existing phone number(s) so avoiding the need to go through expensive re-branding exercises. A VoIP solution allows you to tailor a system to suit your circumstances. Add extensions when you need then and remove them if you don’t

VoIP telephony offers a business many advantages over traditional systems. The cost for a basic VoIP telephone system extension starts around £8.50 per month and includes extras such as voicemail, music on hold, Outlook integration etc. Other options such as IVR’s , call queues, call recording are modular and can be bolted on as required. The use of existing phone numbers, the choice of other geographic and non geographic numbers, the ability to have remote workers connected without additional charges and from anywhere in the country give improved flexibility to any business looking to enhance their presence and maximise productivity.

Other benefits:

Adapt to changes in the business without the need for major additional capital expenditure.

Business Continuity: VoIP offers enhanced business continuity and disaster recovery options over and above traditional fixed line services. Rapid switching to alternative numbers / mobiles ensures that downtime is kept to a minimum. Organisations looking to have a telephony business continuity solution in place in the event of premises loss can have a system sat in the background ready to activate at a moments notice.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Want to know what one of the biggest problems facing UK small businesses over the next few years will be?

Domestic broadband costs SME’s £751m in wasted time every month.

A staggering 70%* of SME’s across the UK are still relying on ‘domestic broadband’ rather than ‘business grade’ connectivity - and are counting the financial costs as a result

Not all broadband is equal.

Residential broadband services are not up to the challenges that will be facing businesses over the next few years. Residential networks are becoming more congested with traffic from video and gaming, while at the same time businesses are being encouraged to move more and more of their critical applications online with the march of “cloud based services”. This means that when problems arise, poor customer support from your supplier reflects badly on your business.

All of this is only going to become more important. From mobile working and email, to placing orders, from taking bookings to video conferencing or “plain old” word processing: the web is becoming the modern office space. And the costs associated with connectivity failures are going to become more and more apparent as web based working and technologies develop.

Therefore it becomes paramount that you ensure that you have the necessary broadband services in place to handle your business and that it gives you a quality of service that your customers will expect of you. When considering a supplier ensure that they have a scalable solid network in place and excellent CUSTOMER SERVICES not just customer service.

You have a stark choice. You can carry on with a broadband service which although it works for now may become unfit for purpose in the future and impact on your ability to carry out your business or move to products that will deliver real benefit and peace of mind to you.