How to Field Overseas Calls (633 words)
> What is your estimated call volume? This will determine the number of staffers needed.
> What is the purpose of your operation? Will it act as a call center only, or will it also handle customer service and returns?
> Will you offer a toll-free number? This needs to be decided well in advance as a universal, free phone number takes approximately two months to order.
> What are your system requirements? A frame relay connection is needed if reps are to tap into your U.S.-based system in real time. This connection can take as long as two to three months to set up and will require the involvement of your IT team.
> What are your language requirements and in which media will reps need to communicate? Multimedia customer service agents require a different set of skills from that of telemarketing sales reps handling just calls in a multilingual or overseas call center. Not only must they be fluent in the required languages, but they also must possess written communication skills in the desired languages.
> What type of service will the reps perform? This will determine the level of skill required by the rep. For example, a software helpdesk requires skilled reps familiar with the software, capable of solving problems, who speak the desired language.
> What are the hours of operation? If you are a cautious start-up, you may not need round-the-clock service, which can save money.
Critical to the success of your outsourced call center operation is that you view your vendor as a partner, says Melamed. "You will still need to manage and train the vendor," she says. And, always visit the call center you plan to work with in advance.