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How to start a call center with low investment?

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So your business is on the rise, you get more and more customers each month, and people are actively contacting you. Some of them are new prospects, and they want to learn more about your product/service. Others are your existing customers, and they need some advice or help from you as an expert. At first, a mobile phone can be enough to handle all customer queries, but when the amount of calls gets overwhelming, you know it’s time to do something about it, preferably without spending a fortune.

Many business owners are tempted to think it will be enough to hire one person and have them answer calls and messages from customers. You can ask your clients to send you an email or leave a message on Facebook. However, people still prefer to make calls when they have an urgent issue. And at the end of the day, it’s not even about how much one person can handle.

Source: Statista (2016). What are the main drivers of growth within your contact center(s)?

According to the stats, 88% of contact center industry leaders claim customer experience and expectations to be their organization’s main driver of growth. Indeed, if your customer base is large, people will be calling on your inbound line a lot. They will be dialing simultaneously, but they won’t be able to get through all at once if all you have is a mobile phone.

This is a sure way to customer dissatisfaction, and you don’t want that. So here we are again. You do need an IP telephony with multiple channels and a call center software. In fact, it will bring a number of benefits to your company:

● you’ll have your own business phone number;
● you’ll be able to serve multiple clients simultaneously;
● you’ll have a dedicated customer support department, which will release some of your team members from this burden and let them focus on their actual job;
● you’ll enhance your brand image by providing excellent support;
● you’ll constantly receive new data about your leads and customers, and these are by far not the only advantages.

It all sounds great, but it doesn’t look like something you can get for free. However, if you think that setting up your own call center costs a fortune, you’re plain wrong. Indeed, some 10 years ago companies had to buy heavy on-premise equipment and hire extra staff to make it work. Now, you don’t even need to have a separate office space.

Setting up a call center with a minimum investment

VoIP technology combined with cloud-based call center software solutions will do the same job for a much lower cost. In case you want to establish a small support department at your office, all you need is to buy a call center software and a couple of PCs with headsets, ensure a stable internet connection, and then hire a few agents. This will already be much cheaper than the entire on-premise facility. To further reduce the cost, you can outsource a support department. This way, you’ll only need to pay for the service of remote agents. However, there’s a small disclaimer. Although outsourcing is great for such services as consulting, receiving applications, identifying needs and making appointments, it’s not very suitable for more complicated processes like sales of sophisticated products.

Most cloud-based solutions for a call center are very reasonably priced. You only pay for what you use, meaning that there are different service packs and payment plans, so your final paycheck is kinda customizable. In addition, cloud telephony software vendors take up the service and customer support of their product for the entire period of your cooperation for free. This minimum assistance will be enough for a small call center.

For a smooth start of a cloud-based call center, you only need to take three basic steps:

– set up a call center software and connect IP telephony;
– integrate a good CRM system;
– hire in-house or outsource a team of enthusiastic and professional agents.

Call center software and basic settings

First, you’ll need to obtain a virtual phone number that you’ll be using as your business line for incoming and outgoing calls. It will enable you to easily take calls from a smartphone or browser without the limitations of traditional telephony. Combined with functional software, it will allow you not only to answer multiple customers at once, but also to track call history, record conversations, leave voice messages, and much more. It all depends upon the kind of software you choose.

CRM integration

If you reached the point when you need a call center, this means you have people to serve. Some customers will call you multiple times, and they won’t be very thrilled by having to answer the same questions from agents every time they reach out. That’s why you need to integrate a decent CRM system to keep track of all the customer interactions. It’s great if your call center software supports API integration to coordinate multiple apps, but it’s even better if it already has a built-in CRM.

Exceptional team

You can purchase software with all features in the world and integrate a CRM so fine it will automatically send out Christmas cards to all your clients, but it won’t do a thing to your business if you hire the wrong people. No matter whether it’s an outsourced support department or an in-house team, you must choose the people who’ll be capable of doing their job well. In reality, it’s almost impossible to find experienced call center agents to match your exact industry, but it is possible to recognize people who are capable of learning, and willing to do so. The essential abilities for a customer support agent include listening skills, patience, a positive attitude, and natural communication.

All in all, setting up a call center these days is not as expensive as it seems. With a little research and dedication, you can easily create a great support department that will become a decent face of your business.

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Business

Does Having A Website Guarantee Growth In Business?

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If not before, we’ve indeed learned a lesson about online businesses in 2020. Online presence is the key to success in this digital era. You might already know how important it is to have a website that can help your business grow online. But, little did you know that having a website does not guarantee business growth.

Wait. What?

The truth of the matter is that having a website is only the stepping stone for entering into the world of digital commerce.

Read this- several reports confirm that more than half of the startups fail within the first year of their inception. And most of them set up an online store or a website.

So, where is it all going wrong? Of course, to set up your business online, you need a website. Besides, having a relevant domain name and a beautifully crafted website indeed influences business. But it requires a lot more than just creating a website to gain online success.

In this article, we’ll give you some practical ways to help you grow your online business.

Does Having A Website Guarantee Growth In Business?

So, keep reading to find the correct answers for all your whats, hows, and ifs.

Like Promotions Like Advertisements

For starters, you need to understand one thing; your website is like your shop. Your customers would only buy from you as long as they can find you.

You’ll need to promote and advertise your website (online business) the same way you’d do it for your physical retail store in your community or locality.

Note that, by similar promotions and advertisements, we do not mean magazine prints or TV coms. Investing in these traditional strategies could be way too expensive. And, luckily there are several other ways to do so.

For example, you can start with guest blogging and press releases about your business. Thus, improving website visibility in front of the masses. But remember, you only partner up with niche relevant blogs and magazines for guest posting and press releases.

Likewise, you can also include paid promotions such as Facebook ads and Google ads into your advertising plan.

NOTE: It is noteworthy that promotions and advertisements are not identical, although they work pretty similarly and for the same goal.

When you’re promoting, you’re not enticing your target audience to purchase at the very exact moment. Meaning you’re instead promoting your brand than your products.

Contrary to this, when you’re advertising, you’re asking your customers to make a purchase.

Also Read: Tips for choosing a WordPress Template and Why You Need Template Monster

Competitors Can Be Great Teachers

Most website owners assume that taking up the usual steps, such as optimizing keywords and building relevant backlinks, is enough. But, there’s a catch to this practice.

Consider this scenario.

Every website follows these steps. But, not every website ranks at the first position in search results. In other words, a few websites perform outstandingly, then the rest. Indeed, they are doing something exceptional that others are not.

Now, some websites within your niche (your competitors) should be ranking on top positions in search results. In contrast, others might be ranking on the tenth or maybe fiftieth page.

So, what is it that the top rankers are doing and the bottom rankers are missing in their marketing? Maybe it is a mix of paid and organic traffic sources. Or perhaps it all has to do something with the content that they have on their website.

To your surprise, you can indeed find out what’s helping your competitors rank better than others for your desired keywords. The practice is called competitor analysis. And once you’ve identified what’s helping your competitors outperform others, you’re already a step closer to growing your online business.

What you can do next is, adopt their strategy, modify it to suit your needs, and you’re good to go. And if it is working for your competitors, it should work for you as well.

Market Trends Help Maintain The Pace

Like all other things concerning your business, marketing trends also keep on changing. Precisely, digital marketing trends in 2021 are far more stern than it was a year ago. So what do you do?

You keep up with the trends.

Consider this –

Every change in the market drives specific changes in the industry operations. And also how consumers interact with the industry. For example, a change in consumer preference for pre-packed foods would also affect how food and beverage companies produce their products.

And the ones who can’t keep up with the market trends are often the ones to fail or are generally at the bottom of the market funnel.

Must Read: Improve your Business with Better Customer Success

Need For Robust And Holistic Approach

All in all, you need a way to market your website more than you need the website. Although your website is the stepping stone, it is not the end of your efforts.

Perhaps, coming up with a robust and holistic plan to penetrate the market should be your primary focus. And accordingly, things would start falling into place.

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Choosing The Right Low Melting Point Alloys For Your Small Business

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Are you struggling to find the right alloy for the business? Whether it’s a small or large company, you need the proper equipment to create products.

Every manufacturer relies on the best quality materials to make equipment, parts, and products for a small business. During assembly procedure, those materials need to be joined as a tight seal, molded in the required structure, or bent correctly without breaking. For this delicate task, most manufacturers prefer low melting point alloys. But why?

Low melt alloy, also knows as fusible alloy, melts at a low temperature (below 300ºF) than solder alloy. Its chemical composition turns metals into liquid or semi-liquid form first and re-solidify later. Therefore, working with these alloys is helpful to fuse or mold different parts at the lowest temperature.

However, depending on the application, choosing the right low melting point alloys for your small business is important. In order to maintain the durability and strength of the cast or fused part, make sure you get the correct alloy. That’s why as a business owner, you need knowledge about low melt alloys in the market.

Don’t worry. This article presents you with some popular alloys to guide you through.

Low Melting Point Alloys For Small Business- An Overview

Although there are various options for low melt alloys, certain characteristics restrict their usage. The melting point, reactivity, toxicity, or brittleness are the main factors you need to consider before choosing.

Moreover, fusible alloys are typically made of some post-transition metals like zinc, tin, gallium, antimony, bismuth, cadmium, etc. Manufacturing companies use many of these elements as additives while creating a low melting alloy. Additionally, some centrifugal casting equipment over the final product protects it from damage, ensuring more life span.

Let’s discuss some common alloys.

  • Tin-based: In tin-based low melting point alloy, more than 50% major element is tin. Most manufacturers prefer this due to its malleability and ductility properties. Correspondingly the metal can be precast and reshaped without crumbling.

Pewter is the most popular tin alloy for decades. However, many other tin sheet metals suppliers provide high-quality and custom tin materials. They have wide application areas like coating for food containers, automobile parts, etc.

  • Indium-based: These alloys can wet and adhere to both metallic or non-metallic surfaces like ceramic, glass, and gold. Moreover, indium-based low melt alloys have ductile features providing a wide range of melting points and fatigue resistance. For this reason, manufacturers use such alloys for bonding and sealing applications.
  • Gallium-based: They have more than 50% gallium as a major constituent. Due to its very low melting point, even in unalloyed form, gallium melts on your hand at normal temperature. Additionally, gallium alloys can also wet metallic and non-metallic surfaces like glass and ceramic. That’s why these are generally used for thermal management purposes, like in semi-conducting applications.
  • Bismuth-based: Bismuth-based low melting point alloy is desirable due to its unique characteristics. The pure bismuth can expand up to 3.3% during melting and solidifying. Henceforth, manufacturers prefer such alloy where necessary expansion or shrinkage of a product is desirable.

Additionally, bismuth is less ductile or brittle and has lower thermal conductivity than tin. Also, it costs less than the other low melt alloys. Not to mention, its toxicity level is lower for humans. That’s why they can be used clinically to treat many diseases.

Final Note

On a final note, before choosing the right low melting point alloy for your small business, determine its purpose. If you’re in jewelry making business, you can’t use an alloy expanding too much. Therefore, you need to study the characteristics of each alloy carefully.

Further, you need to pay attention to its strength, flexibility, elongation, and tolerance with the temperature variations. Some alloys liquify instantly, whereas some go through a semi-liquid state before the manufacturer can mold it.

In addition, low melting alloys changes in density during solidifying. Such as, bismuth-based alloy expands greatly in the liquid state but gets dense in its solid form. In order to resist the severe thermal expansion of the metal, selecting the proper low melt alloy is vital for your business.

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Learn How To Streamline Your Business Processes To Make IFTA Reporting Convenient

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The processes and regulations of a trucking business are as complex and intricate as the size of the business itself. It is not possible for a single person or a small team to oversee and run everything in a trucking company. So, any small upgrade or tool that would help in making the business processes easier is readily absorbed by the industry as long as they are economical.

When the IFTA was created in the 1900s, it was aimed to:

  • Quickly and effortlessly log data
  • Eliminate extra personnel.
  • Set up a clear process.
  • Automate repetitive tasks.
  • Help keep things organized.

A wave of happiness flowed across all personnel in the trucking industry. It had just made many of the processes and documentation that much smoother.

Also Check: 20 Most Critical Facts About GST

What is the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA)?

IFTA was created in 1996. It stands for the International Fuel Tax Agreement.

According to the South Carolina Legislature, the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) is an organization of states and the Canadian provinces under which the fuel use tax obligations of interstate and international motor carriers are administered.

Motor carriers across the country had to maintain a report of the miles they drove and how much fuel they consumed all the time. This was particularly bothersome when carriers had to constantly cross different state borders.

Before the IFTA was created, the trucking company had maintained tremendous amounts of documents, paperwork, unit conversions and much more every time their trucks drove across different jurisdictions in order to file the fuel tax reports, i.e., each jurisdiction had its own rules and regulations for filing the fuel tax reports. This meant the vehicles also required multiple fuel tax licenses.

running an IFTA report

The creation of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) in 1996 brought together 48 states of the United States of America (USA) and 10 provinces of Canada together to enable trucking companies to file their fuel taxes under a single license. This saved the trucking companies a lot of time and money. Visit Samsara for the complete list of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) member jurisdictions.

Some jurisdictions where the IFTA credentials are now valid are Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia.

Despite all of this, there can sometimes be mistakes in the IFTA reporting process. But the quest for perfection never stops.

So, what are some ways that can help to make the reporting more convenient? An effective way to go to the roots of the problem – Business Processes. Streamlining business processes has the potential to substantially improve efficiency and speed of any associated task, and filing IFTA reports is no exception.

Streamline Your Business Processes

By undertaking simple, yet significant measures, business processes can be effectively streamlined to make the reporting process of IFTA buttery smooth. Their benefitting consequences result in making the IFTA reporting process more convenient.

Here are 5 measures that you can take:

1. Process Monitoring and Control

Process monitoring and control can radically transform the way your business works. It brings with it:

  • The motivation to collaborate.
  • Improvements in team management.
  • Enhancements in communication, visibility, and transparency.
  • Advanced data analytics, pattern recognition, and more.
  • Ease of data access, transmission, and maintenance across people and platforms.
  • Automation of repetitive tasks and periodic error corrections.
  • Design and form tools to customize dashboards and profiles.
  • Safety and security from hacks and data breaches.

2. Maintaining an Accurate Record of the Miles

Maintaining a record of the miles and fuels consumed is vital to file the IFTA reports.

You might be tempted to provide a rough estimate of the fuel consumed, and miles driven as the tax filing deadline closes in on you. But do not make this mistake, because the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) requires you to be as accurate as possible. Failing to do so can put your company and the fleet at the risk of an audit.

3. Good GPS Tracking

The incorporation of a good GPS vehicle tracker will surely benefit in the long term if not in the short term. Samsara’s GPS tracking helps to provide real-time vehicle visibility. This reduces the scope for any falsification.

The benefits of GPS tracking are not just limited to real-time vehicle tracking and visibility, but also extend to the following:

  • Optimization of routes to improve efficiency and decrease time.
  • Improving security to lower the risks of losing assets.
  • Improving customer service by providing features such as live sharing.
  • Reducing costs by providing insights to help make better decisions.

4. Using ELD and Fleet Management Software

Failure to file reports on time can cost you a lot. They can result in the suspension of the license or heavy fines for the company. However, paperwork is tiring, uninteresting, time-consuming, and repetitive.

Turning towards technology to track vehicles, miles, and fuel purchases can do wonders in making the experience of filing tax reports effortless by seamlessly integrating into your workflow to improve efficiency, strengthen safety and ensure compliance.

Must Read: Improve your Business with Better Customer Success

Modern innovations in the logistics industry, like ELD compliance solutions and fleet management software, made the process faster, streamlined, and efficient.

5. Using A Dedicated IFTA Software

A dedicated IFTA software will help you ease many things starting from:

  • Maintaining a directory and organizing all your fuel receipts.
  • Accurate and updated logs.
  • Recording all the miles driven.

This will help you file reports faster and better.

It is not easy to log each and every small and minute mile of your truck. A dedicated IFTA software takes care of them for you by helping you log data incrementally without any hassle.

Conclusion

The aforementioned processes will have thoroughgoing reforms in your business to make IFTA tax filing and reporting more convenient than ever before.

Modern technological innovations improve speed, efficiency, increase accuracy, decrease errors (especially human errors) and ensure compliance to the Hours of Service (HOS) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations.

This article helps guide you through a process that can otherwise seem intimidating and can become a challenge.

All of this works in synergy to eliminate paperwork and repetition, enabling you to dexterously file quarterly IFTA reports for your company.

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