Call centers are booming like never before and are enjoying the best order books. The reason for this: Communication with customers is a task that is outsourced by many companies and passed on to the telephone center. Anyone who is currently toying with the idea of opening their own call center will encounter ideal starting conditions that enable a quick entry into the industry. On the other hand, however, various hurdles and problems must always be expected. The following article gives you an overview and gives you valuable tips on the way if you want to open a call center .
Call centers have a mixed reputation
If you want to start your own business in the call center industry, you should know one thing from the start: this business model is unlikely to win a popularity contest. Call centers are often frowned upon and associated with negative aspects such as rip-offs, waste of time and dubious deals. Anyone who wants to open a call center should therefore pay attention to their image from the start and make sure that it is not dragged through the mud.
The difference between inbound and outbound call centers
Before starting the concrete implementation of your business idea, you should decide whether you want to open an inbound or an outbound call center. Even if the names sound quite similar, the models behind them sometimes have significant differences.
An inbound call center only accepts calls (from customers). It specializes in customer service, complaint management and problem solving. Since communication originates from the customer, inbound call centers are generally considered trustworthy and not a nuisance.
The situation is different with the outbound call center . They specialize in external communication, which means: Your employees call customers to offer you a new contract or a product, for example. Many people called react annoyed and sometimes even aggressively to this form of contact – one reason why most call centers have a less good reputation.
Important: If you want to open an outbound call center, you have to deal with the protective laws that apply in Germany. If you disregard these, you could face a threat in the worst case scenario.
Open a call center: You should meet these requirements
Anyone wishing to open a call center does not need to provide any special proof of professional suitability. Or in other words: you don’t have to meet any specific requirements. However, since you are daring to take the step into self-employment and this should by no means be underestimated, it is definitely an advantage if you think about your personal suitability in advance. As a call center owner, you should:
have completed training as a businessman for dialogue marketing or as a service person for dialogue marketing
bring along a comprehensive talent for organization
- Enjoy communication
- Have a knowledge of human nature (important for the selection of employees)
- be able to delegate well and assign tasks
- Proof of professional experience in the area of call centers
- Have persuasiveness
- be able to argue well
- be eloquent
Which legal form for a call center?
On the way to your own call center, sooner or later (better of course earlier) you have to think about a suitable legal form. Many prospective call center operators are unsure which one is the best, because on the one hand they want to set up a business as easily as possible and on the other hand they want maximum security. Unfortunately, these two points are somewhat contradicting each other.
While the sole proprietorship, for example, brings only a few bureaucratic hurdles with it, on the other hand it is relatively risky. If your business fails, you are not only liable with your business assets, but also with your private property.
The situation is completely different in the case of the GmbH and its “little sister”, the UG (limited liability). These legal forms offer you maximum security, but also require share capital.
Basically, these legal forms are conceivable for a call center:
- one-man business
- UG (limited liability)
Looking for customers
Opening a call center means that you are primarily active in the B2B area. This in turn means that the majority of your customers are companies themselves and not private individuals. Fortunately, there are plenty of companies that commission call centers to take over their customer service or to operate telephone marketing – after all, outsourcing is currently very trendy and is slowly but surely also reaching small and medium-sized companies.
The biggest problem will be convincing potential customers that your call center is the right one. In order to stand out from the masses of competitors, you should on the one hand come up with a unique concept and on the other hand consciously pay attention to a high level of quality. Unfortunately, the industry is teeming with black sheep, which additionally fuel the bad image of the call center and sometimes do not always work legally. By deliberately differentiating yourself from these providers and exhibiting trustworthy and high-quality behavior, you have a good chance of quickly positioning yourself in the market and winning customers.
Looking for suitable employees
In addition to looking for customers, once you open a call center, you will also have to look for capable employees. Because one thing is a fact: If you want to grow with this business, you inevitably have to hire employees. Among other things, the following aspects must be taken into account:
- The quality of the employees determines the quality of your call center – you should therefore carefully select the applicants
- Employees cause additional costs, but they also increase sales at the same time
- A job in the call center is particularly suitable for students
- But permanent positions are also possible
- Appropriate pay increases employee satisfaction and motivation
What does it cost to open a call center?
Finally, let’s come to a very crucial point: the finances. It should come as no surprise that opening a call center doesn’t work without capital. Or expressed in concrete figures: around 20,000 euros will be necessary to set up a call center. The largest part of this sum will go to the property (i.e. rent, furnishings, ancillary costs) and the purchase of telephone systems. Insurance, taxes and wages must also be included as cost items right from the start. Without extensive savings or outside capital, opening a call center is next to impossible.