Telemarketing Services and Call Center Frequently Asked Questions

telemarketing services and call center frequently asked questions FAQs answered by QCS expertsQuestion #1: What are the advantages of working with Quality Contact Solutions

Answer: The advantages of working with Quality Contact Solutions are as follows:

  • Results – We exist because the world is driven by sales and we put the money where our mouth is. In other words, we literally generate revenue when we speak. In 2019, our outbound telemarketing sales teams made more than 7 million phone calls resulting in over $25 million in sales and increased revenues for our clients.
  • Experience – The QCS leadership team is comprised of telemarketing experts with over 150 years of industry experience. This knowledge allows us to navigate the confusing world of telemarketing set-up, technology and compliance with ease.
  • Compliance – QCS is an industry leader in telemarketing compliance. Our leaders Dean and Angela Garfinkel have worked closely with the Professional Association for Customer Engagement to establish both the PACE Self-Regulatory Organization and the Customer Engagement Compliance Professional (CECP) program. Four members of the QCS leadership team are CECP (Customer Engagement Compliance Professionals) certified ensuring you can walk confidently through the inner workings of telemarketing compliance at the State and Federal Level
  • Good to Great – QCS has tested many established client programs against our own team to ensure “Good” shifts to “Great”. We enjoy competition and love to win. This QCS strategy allows our clients a low-cost opportunity to test their current vendor against another team and make an informed decision on their ongoing program placement.
  • Control Costs – Outsourcing is often less expensive and extremely more efficient than operating a program internally. When you outsource with a company like QCS, you remove many internal costs that instantly save you money to accomplish the same objective. Often these cost savings are re-allocated to other company long-term initiatives.
  • Feel the LOVE – QCS loves to spread the LOVE! While many call centers will provide clients with an Account Manager as their point of contact, QCS takes it a step above the rest. Clients with QCS receive attention from every level of the organization. Our owners Angela and Dean play a pivotal role in the ongoing success of every client program. We believe true partnerships have strong relationships and we work every day to take care of our clients.
  • Culture – We believe the we exist because the world is driven by sales and we have built a culture that fosters exemplary execution in everything we do. We value quality, intelligent urgency, service, achieving goals, being positive, conducting worthwhile work and being easy to work with.

Question #2: What is a call center services provider?

Answer: A call center services provider is an organization that provides communication with new or existing customers. These organizations are typically in a physical location however there are call center providers who utilize virtual resources to address the need for customer communication. Call center service providers specialize in outbound and inbound call handling.

Question #3: What is call center outsourcing?

Answer: Call Center outsourcing occurs when a you hire an external organization to staff and manage your sales, lead generation, appointment setting, inbound/blended customer care, technical support and compliance functions. Quality Contact Solutions is an outsource Telemanagement firm that specializes in accomplishing these goals.

Question #4: How can call center outsourcing help my business?

Answer: Quality Contact Solutions clients see the following benefits:

  • Controlled & reduced operating costs
  • Innovative business methods born from the successes of other organizations like yours
  • Organizational focus on core business goals with a reduction in mundane tasks
  • Maximization of internal resources time
  • Access to industry’s cutting-edge technology and experience

Question #5: How can I increase sales?

Answer: Many organizations are chasing growth goals while still operating the same way they have always done business. At QCS we help our clients increase sales with our:

  • Experience – We’ve spent time mastering our craft, so you don’t have too. Years of experience in similar campaigns reduces the learning curve of new sales agents and allows us to implement changes to process that increase sales.
  • Specialized call centers– Over 20 specialized call centers across the U.S. ensuring increased results whether your focus is sales, lead generation, customer care or appointment setting. We’ve got the team to fit your needs!
  • Technology – Call Center platforms are designed to increase efficiencies of the SDR. Our systems increase dials, which increase contacts and ultimately result in more sales.

Question #6: How to reduce call center costs?

Answer: Between salaries, technology, overhead and benefits, internal call center operations can be a large item on your P&L. Outsourcing provides you the opportunity to leverage skilled SDRs, advanced technology and outsourced overhead to accomplish the same or better results at a lower cost.

Question #7: What are the costs of outsourcing?

Answer: Outsourcing costs will vary based off the type (inbound/blended/outbound), complexity and size of the program. Also, here is a great resource to read. When you are ready to discuss a proposal give us a call at 866-963-2889 or request a price quote. We’d love to help!

Question #8: How do I select a call center or telemarketing partner?

Answer: Selecting a telemarketing services company can be a daunting task. Our whitepaper “How to Select a Telemarketing Services Company” will walk you through everything you need to know.

Question #9: What are some ways to improve customer support?

Answer: This is a great question and finding ways to better support your customer base will inevitably be a part of your company’s ongoing success and reputation. Outsourcing your customer support will provide you with access to tools such as:

  • KPI Dashboards – These dashboards will display key metrics such as service levels, average speed of answer, calls in queue, average time to abandon and occupancy rates.
  • Expert Customer Support Supervisors – Supervisor work with the front-line customer support staff on knowledge transfer, maximizing call efficiencies and keeping KPI goals on target.
  • Customer Support Workforce Management – These team members are trained in call flow management and adapting staffing to ensure maximum efficiency of your inbound project
  • Advanced Call Routing – Inbound dialer technology allows outsourcers to route various IVR options to specifically skilled agents or alternate locations for one call resolution and geographic redundancy.

Question #10: What are the top call center locations?

Answer: In our experience, Midwest call centers provide high quality accent neutral agents, low attrition, and a strong labor pool at a reasonable cost. Although, Quality Contact Solutions owner operator call centers are located primarily in the Midwest we do have call centers on varying coasts for perfect geographic pairing on any project.

Question #11: What is Telemarketing?

Answer: Telemarketing, also known as inside sales or telesales is a method of marketing goods and services to customers or businesses via telephone. Quality Contact Solutions is an outsource telemarketing management company that utilizes these tactics to engage client customers on their behalf.

Question #12: How can we generate more leads?

Answer: You are not alone. Many companies struggle with the challenge of increasing highly qualified leads due to lack of budget or internal bandwidth. Outsourcing is a perfect cost-effective way to increase dials, which increases contacts and ultimately increases highly qualified leads. Read more about our Telemarketing lead generation and qualified sales lead generation.

Question #13: What are the advantages of outsourcing?

Answer: The advantages of outsourcing are:

  • Creating immediate buffer capital funds by reducing costs associated with your internal calling.
  • Increased productivity and efficiency of internal programs using advanced dialer technology.
  • Increased customer support with flexible staffing to support large peaks and valley with inbound call and email volume.
  • Peace of mind knowing your telemarketing efforts are guided by compliant professionals.
  • Enhanced agent pool
  • Years of industry experience will gain your organization insights and proven methods to program success/innovations.

Question #14: What industry websites would you recommend?

Answer: We recommend the following sites for industry information

  • Professional Association for Customer Engagement (PACE) – PACE is the only non-profit trade association dedicated exclusively to the advancement of companies that engage with customers via the contact center.
  • Data Marketing & Analytics – Leading industry organization focused on all things marketing.
  • National Do Not Call Registry – Federal Trade Commission’s website promoting the National Do Not Call Registry for both businesses and consumers.
  • FCC – The Federal Communications Commission regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. An independent U.S. government agency overseen by Congress, the Commission is the federal agency responsible for implementing and enforcing America’s communications law and regulations.
  • Connections Magazine – is a source for news and information for call centers, contact centers, teleservice companies, telephone answering services, and telemessaging call centers.
  • NACC – National Association of Call Centers is “The Leading Voice for the Call Center Industry.” The NACC’s goal is to advance the call center industry by offering high value-added information, research, and products to its members for effective decision making.
  • Mac Murray & Shuster – telemarketing and consumer protection law experts
  • Quality Voice & Data – Handles all your Caller ID needs. Quality Voice & Data provides value-added solutions to clients who desire to increase the quantity and quality of contacts through the use of technology.
  • TextBetter – to text enable landline phone numbers

Question #15: What is the difference between a traditional inbound call center providing customer service and an outbound telemarketing center providing inbound customer service?

Answer:

Traditional Inbound call center – The primary difference is skillset, management and technology. A traditional inbound call center has made customer experience the focus of their business. From the customer service professionals they hire, technologies they purchase, management who oversee projects and training they conduct, everything is focused around creating a world class customer experience.
While the differences may seem small, in fact they make a huge impact in the overall performance and experience your customers will receive. Let’s look.

Skillset – Agent skillsets in an inbound call center are different than that of those in an outbound telemarketing center. Outbound telemarketing centers are often focused on sales, lead generation or appointment setting. Agents are extremely focused on hitting their outbound goals, gaining customer agreement and they have a more aggressive mindset. These agents are trained to ground and pound. Take objections, provide rebuttals and make sales. They are ninjas in the art of powerful persuasion.

While inbound call center professionals have goals they also focus on, they are more of the mindset to do what it takes to make the customers happy. They are focused more on resolving the customer issue with a high level of quality and urgency than what they will gain out the call itself. These agents are trained in the art of courtesy conversation and ensure that even the most frustrated customer feels a sense of love, respect and resolution when the call is over.

Technology – Most outbound telemarketing dialers can receive inbound calls. This is important to ensure that the customers can call the agent back when a call is missed. Typically, this is where the extent of similarities with a traditional inbound call centers end.

Inbound call center dialers are designed to receive large volumes of inbound calls. They can route specific calls to specific agents based off the skill level of a Customer Service Professional. Additionally, they can divert calls to alternate locations based off how long a customer has been holding in queue or even allow a customer to receive a callback instead of holding without losing their place in line. Lastly, they have the ability to blend outbound calls with inbound calls to increase maximum efficiency of an agent’s time and client’s dollar.

Management – The primary differentiator with management is their focus and experience. Outbound managers will focus on very different KPIs than an inbound manager. For instance, outbound managers will focus on items like completes per hour, contacts per hour, dials per hour, conversion percent, average order size. They will focus on how many completes they need to meet goal, how many hours they need to run and lead management.

Inbound managers on the other hand will focus on KPI’s such as service level percentages, occupancy rates, abandon rate, average handle time, average speed to answer, as well as call volume peaks and valleys. These metrics are important to ensure reduced hold times and increased customer satisfaction scores.

In most situations if you are planning an inbound project, we would recommend a traditional inbound call center over an outbound telemarketing center. That said, don’t cut out the outbound telemarketing center without looking at their technology, skillset, and management experience. There are call centers out there that have proven they can do both and do them very well. These call centers typically focus on blended work. They infuse outbound calls when inbound volume is low. This type of facility has created an environment of hybrid agents that have the ability to handle either project proficiently and we do operate with these types of centers.

telemarketing services agent with the answers to the questions Question #16: What are the costs of an outbound telemarketing program?

Answer: Call centers will price their services in a myriad of different ways however here are the common line items you will see on an outbound telemarketing invoice.

Telemarketing hours pricing will range from $28 to $40 per hour, depending on the size of your program. A larger team will typically be invoiced at a lower rate than a smaller team. Pricing is also dependent on the skills required. More complex programs will require an hourly rate at the higher end of the spectrum.

  • Low Volume/Low Complexity – $35 – $39 per hour
  • Low Volume/High Complexity – $40+ per hour
  • High Volume/Low Complexity – $28 – $32 per hour
  • High Volume/High Complexity – $33 – $34 per hour

Training Hours

Training hours should be an agreed-upon number of hours that the call center will invoice you for the initial training and any required ongoing training to support your outsourced outbound call center program. Training rates are typically 20 to 30% below the hourly telemarketing rate. Easy programs should be trained in as little as a few hours. Difficult programs can take 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the amount of knowledge that is required to place your calls and achieve your goals.

Set-Up Fee

Most outsourced outbound call centers charge a fixed rate for setting up your program in their environment. Those fees will range from a low of $2,500 to $10,000 (or higher), depending on the complexity of your program.

At QCS, our setup fee includes the following components:

  • Script development FAQs development
  • Rebuttals development
  • Training deck development
  • Reports development
  • Data file layout and file transfer process development
  • CRM system access and login testing
  • Client consultation on best practices for implementation

And depending on the program, additional development may be needed for email templates, text messages and custom knowledgebase implementations.

Monthly management fee

This fee may be charged if your program requires a dedicated Account Manager or if the program is smaller than the company’s typical minimum sized client. Monthly management fees typically range from $5000 to $7500 per month depending on the complexity and size of the program.

Professional services fee

These fees may be charged for any request or change to a program that is outside the initial scope of work. Typical ranges for Professional services fees range from $125 to $150 per hour. Typically call centers will provide a professional services quote to the client after the request has been made to detail the time and total cost to complete.

Question #17: What are the costs of an inbound call center program?

Answer: Call centers will price their services in a myriad of different ways however here are the common line items you will see on an inbound telemarketing invoice.

Most companies have two separate pricing models for inbound call center outsourcing programs.

Per Minute Model

If a client’s incoming calls, emails and chat messages are low volume or inconsistent, their program will most likely be priced on a per minute basis. This is because programs with low volume or inconsistent volume patterns are best placed into an environment that is either shared with another inbound call client or blended with an outbound campaign.

Shared/Blended model – Pricing ranges from about $0.70 – $1.25 per minute, domestic

**Note**Minutes are calculated by adding the talk time plus the call wrap-up time. And this is typically a loaded cost, including the management staff and support staff.

Hourly Model

When a program has enough inbound volume to warrant dedicated contact call center agents, most companies will price the service on an hourly basis.

Dedicated agent model – Pricing ranges from about $25 – $35 per hour, domestic.

Typically, the more agents required to fulfill the needs for a particular client, the lower the per hour rate. Another X-factor can be if there are specific requirements like needing licensed insurance agents or if a program needs to be staffed 24 hours per day and 7 days per week.

Training Hours

Training hours should be an agreed-upon number of hours that the call center will invoice you for the initial training and any required ongoing training to support your outsourced outbound call center program. Training rates are typically 20 to 30% below the hourly telemarketing rate. Easy programs should be trained in as little as a few hours. Difficult programs can take 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the amount of knowledge that is required to place your calls and achieve your goals

Set-Up Fee

Most outsourced outbound call centers charge a fixed rate for setting up your program in their environment. Those fees will range from a low of $2,500 to $10,000 (or higher), depending on the complexity of your program.

At QCS, our setup fee includes the following components:

  • Script development
  • FAQs development
  • Rebuttals development
  • Training deck development
  • Reports development
  • Data file layout and file transfer process development
  • CRM system access and login testing
  • Client consultation on best practices for implementation

And depending on the program, additional development may be needed for email templates, text messages and custom knowledgebase implementations.

Monthly management fee

This fee may be charged if your program requires a dedicated Account Manager or if the program is smaller than the company’s typical minimum sized client. Monthly management fees typically range from $5000 to $7500 per month depending on the complexity and size of the program.

Professional services fee

These fees may be charged for any request or change to a program that is outside the initial scope of work. Typical ranges for Professional services fees range from $125 to $150 per hour. Typically call centers will provide a professional services quote to the client after the request has been made to detail the time and total cost to complete.

Question #18: I’m just getting started, or I just want to test. What is your minimum?

Answer: We love tests! In fact, testing against current vendors or a brand-new project is what we’ve built our success on. When conducting a test there are many pieces, we consider such as size, complexity, longevity of the program, if the work is worthwhile work and growth potential.

We understand that all businesses start somewhere before they become giants and that is why QCS has developed “QCS SMB”. QCS SMB (Small/Medium Business), will work with you identify your needs, your vision and determine if we are a good fit. Give us a call, we’re happy to help make dreams become realities.

Question #19: I have a CRM that manages my customer data. How will I make sure this stays up to date?

Answer: You can rest easy. QCS has integrated with numerous client CRM systems such as SalesForce, NetSuite, Sugar, IMIS, SalesGenie and many more. Our teams are well versed in various CRM programs and we ensure that all data capture is entered with a high level of quality and accuracy.

Question #20: Can you send emails or text messages?

Answer: Yes, and often we can do it more efficiently then our clients. We utilize APIs to pull data out of our dialing platforms straight into specifically designed templates that will be pushed to your customers in real-time upon their request.

Question #21: I am nervous about all the telemarketing regulations. How can you help?

Answer: We are an expert in telemarketing compliance. In fact, we perform compliance audits for some very large clients that rely on our knowledge to ensure they stay within the boundaries of the TCPA and TSR. Additionally, we have four CECP (Customer Engagement Compliance Professionals) professionals on staff who help guide our clients through the maze of regulations.

Question #22: Quality is important. How will I ensure quality standards are being met?

Answer: Quality isn’t just in our name, it’s our culture. We take a hard stance on ensuring our clients are getting the highest quality and we rely on weekly monitoring/calibration sessions with our clients to ensure we are aligned with what high quality sounds like to them. We call it “Monitoring with a Purpose”.

Monitoring with a purpose is the idea that each session/calibration is not randomly listening to calls but methodically targeted to make the most impact. QCS and our clients go into each session with an objective and work together to come out of that session with solutions or ideas that will increase results. These sessions may consist of identifying what a “Great” call sounds like or listening to a specific objection with the goal of formulating the perfect rebuttal.

Question #23: How secure will my customers information be?

Answer: QCS is PCI-DSS Level 1 Certified to ensure your customers data is secure. What does that mean? PCI-DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and is an information security standard for organizations that handle credit cards from the major card providers including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, etc.

There are 4 PCI certification levels available. Levels 2-4 only require a Self-Assessment in order to receive certification. Level 1 is more rigorous and requires a 3rd party to audit corporate governance (policies and procedures), the operations/processes being used, and all technology involved. We take no chances with your data, read more about how a PCI Level 1 call center is best equipped to protect your customer data.

Question #24: Is it possible to outsource more than just phone communication?

Answer: Yes! Our teams have extensive experience in handling large amounts of email volume as well as chat.

Question #25: Will customers know I’m using outsourcing?

Answer: No. When we partner with clients our team becomes that brand. We use technology to display our clients name on outbound phone calls, we train our agents to become experts in our client’s product knowledge and we focus our scripting on using words like we and us vs them and they to create unity with our clients.

Questions #26: What is your availability to scale?

Answer: Scaling projects is a non-issue. QCS has worked with many clients to implement scaling implementation plans that build programs quickly and intelligently. When scaling, our primary goal is to meet the demands of our clients while maintaining the quality and performance that has created the ability to scale in the first place.