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Would you hire a call center in my position?
rb4580




msg:636352
 10:21 pm on Apr 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

The wife and I are both in the Air Force and also have a side business which brings in about $35,000 - $45,000 per year. We offer 24/7 customer service through a 1-800 number which rings to our cell phone and is a complete drag. On top of that we miss all calls during the weekdays from 6am - 6pm due to work. Who knows how many sales that is, but mose people leave a message or call back. The plan starts at $250 for 250 minutes and is 1$ for every minute you go over. I'm hesitant but am thinking of trying, what would you do?

 

mdean




msg:636353
 10:35 pm on Apr 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

I was in the same situation last summer. Had the kids home for summer vacation and didn't want to answer the phone with kids in the background-very unprofessional. So hired an answering service. They sucked (as is what I hear in most cases) plus I am in debt about $1,000 to them b/c I didn't understand the contract and there were some overuse charges.

I tracked to see if we were AT LEAST getting more orders--and we really were not.

I would never do it again in a million years. It IS a drag with an answering machine and keeping up with all the messages. But it really is a lot less headaches.

rb4580




msg:636354
 11:00 pm on Apr 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Who did you go with MDEAN? I'm thinking of going with Answer Connect

I'm heard good things but you never know... Could you please speak some more on your experiance.. Thanks.

Also, do you feel you miss alot of sales due to not being able to answer the phone alot or do you feel they order online anyways or call back?

[edited by: lorax at 1:04 pm (utc) on April 17, 2005]
[edit reason] No URLs Please [/edit]

zulufox




msg:636355
 11:08 pm on Apr 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

what would you do?

Hire 2 college kids at $10.00 an hour, train them and have them work from my office. That kind of price will bring some pretty good students since most work they can find is $5.00-$7.00.

mdean




msg:636356
 12:36 am on Apr 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

I feel I miss a lot of customers who want to gripe that their order has not arrived (sometimes after 3 days)which I thought would relieve alot of stress by having an answering service. It just was not worth it. I've been setting up a system where I listen to my messages every few hours at specific times and then return those calls. New customers are generally happy if you return their calls within a few hours. It's when you get bogged down and can't get to them all that you have problems. I thought we'd see an increase in orders, but suprisingly did not. It was not Answer Connect that we used.

rb4580




msg:636357
 1:04 am on Apr 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yes, I know those poeple all to well... I have a logo that says "ORDERS SHIPPED WITHIN 24 HOURS" and people call me wondering why their order is not there 24 hours later.... I can't believe some of the stuff I hear sometimes. lol

mdean




msg:636358
 1:54 am on Apr 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

They may think their going to GET their order in 24 hours. I'd get rid of that! What we do is put a statement towards the top of their invoice and then again at the top of their order confirmation email that reads:

***PLEASE ALLOW 5-7 BUSINESS DAYS FOR DELIVERY.***

Exactly like that in caps. It has cut down those monotonous phone calls dramatically!

rb4580




msg:636359
 3:12 am on Apr 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yea, I'm thinking of changing it, when they order their reciept says allow 3-10 days for delivery. If they call and haven't recieved it in 10 business days we send them another one

derekwong28




msg:636360
 6:37 am on Apr 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Instead of spending a lot of money on third party services which may not be reliable, perhaps one of you should consider going full-time on this service. You could be earning much more.

In any case, you should also consider whether you are breaking air force regulations by working on this side business in the first place.

Rachel




msg:636361
 7:59 pm on Apr 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

RB, I'm not sure what type of business you're in, but do you happen to have a good customer that might be interested in this sort of work?

My main business is very niche, so while it'd be easy to train someone to take orders and look up tracking numbers, it'd be very difficult and time consuming to try and train someone to answer questions about our products and help newbies. I've always planned on recruiting one of my more knowledgeable customers once I get to the point of having the money to do some traveling. It's easy for me to hire someone locally to do the order packing, but I haven't been able to get away from the phone calls or emails.

topr8




msg:636362
 8:15 pm on Apr 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

a friend of mine who is a young stay at home mother has a job (in her case over the weekend) where a company routes its incoming calls to her - she deals with basic enquiries and takes details and so on, she gets paid a flat rate per weekend ... so some weeks she does almost nothing for the money and others she handles quite a few calls.

maybe you could find someone who can do something similiar to cover the daytime calls while you are working.

EstoreSeeker




msg:636363
 5:07 pm on Apr 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Actually hiring some young college students will be more easy for you to handle as you will yourself be able to train them according to your needs and then you won’t have to face the problems that call centers or other so called professional people create. And you would be saving some money also.
And yeah I do like to know if you are permitted to have a side business like this while both of you are in air force.

rb4580




msg:636364
 8:19 pm on Apr 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Having a side business in the Air Force is no big deal, they don't care

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