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FAQs - General

Q: This seems like an easy thing, what’s the big deal?

Q: Is used equipment an option?

Q: Can't I just start with a couple phones and computers?

Q: How much of my expenses should go to labor?

Question: This seems like an easy thing, what’s the big deal?

Answer: Having an inaccurate understanding of what is involved in running a call center is the shortest road to failure. It is a labor-intensive, technology laden endeavor. Purchasing the wrong equipment – or the wrong features – can waste money, while labor costs, left unchecked, can quickly exceed your budget (or revenue). There are many areas where things can go wrong and starting a call center from scratch is especially difficult.

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Question: I can’t spend upwards of $100,000, or more, on new equipment; is used equipment an option?

Answer: Steer away from used equipment except in two situations. The first is when it is being provided by the vendor, has been reconditioned and certified, and includes vendor training, support, and a minimal warranty. The other situation is if you have personal experience using and programming that exact type of equipment. (Always be careful and take steps to protect yourself when buying used equipment. Also, be cautious when buying used equipment from unknown individuals, that a small minority are unscrupulous and could cheat you or provide less than what you expect.)

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Question: Can't I just start with a couple phones and computers?

Answer: You could, but you will limit yourself – and your effectiveness and efficiency – from the very beginning, as well as run the risk of quickly outgrowing your investment. A phone and a computer would be a viable solution for one person, but even then, efficiency would suffer.

If you are serious about running a professional call center, you need to be thinking phone system (not phones) and networked computers. When you buy equipment from a call center vendor, the phone and computer network can be integrated into one unit or minimally interfaced to each other, allowing for optimal effectiveness.

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Question: How much of my expenses should go to labor?

Answer: This is an interesting question; it depends on many factors, including the number of agents, the hours of operation, and your labor market, among other things. Typical percentages range from 60 to 90% of your total expenses. So even conservatively speaking, over half of your costs will be for labor.

If you will be operating 24x7 (that is, continuously), you will need to schedule one person to work around the clock, which equates to 168 hours a week. Even at a low wage, with few benefits, this projects to be a monthly payroll of over $6,000. Obviously, labor costs can escalate quickly and can easily spiral out of control.

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