mach4um

Hello everyone,

 

We are a start up company that is about to go into contract with a call center but have a dilemma! 

We would like to find out how small e-commerce companies handle phone orders and phone inquiries when they are unavailable. We want to handle calls on an intermittent basis as we will not be available 100% of the time to handle calls. We are trying to find a cost effective method to accept simultaneous multiple incoming calls from our home based business with the option of transferring incoming calls to our call center as needed.

What methods have you or your customers used?

We have heard of Ring Central which offers ACD queuing but in my opinion it seems somewhat pricey, when it comes down to minutes, since when the call is transfered to another number the minutes from your plan are still being used until the phone call is totally disconnected from the other party. This can increase the amount of your plan after you go over your allotted. Are there any other reputable companies that you or your clients have used to solve this problem? Any help would be greatly appreciated

 

Thanks

 

Josh

 

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Josh,

I have worked for an E-commerce company for the last 2+years. It sounds like you are going to go through similar issues that we dealt with in the past. When I first started with the company we had 4 representatives and handled about 1000-1500 calls/month. We are now staffing 20+ phone representatives.

We also looked into outsourcing a portion of our phone volumes, but found issues with cost and quality of service. In the end I was able to cost-justify increasing internal staffing. In your case it sounds like you need more of a temporary answering service arrangement. I think you will want to investigate a VOIP hosted call center solution. You can allow the calls to queue at your site, and then automatically "transfer" to your outsourced call center once the queue reaches a certain threshold. (30s, 60s, etc)

I would also suggest you take a very close look at the true cost of outsourcing any of your phone calls. If you work with products that have higher return rates, or if your prospects require additional selling to close a transaction you may find it worth the investment to hire a dedicated representative within your own organization to handle the call overflow. This will afford you the ability to deliver consistent messages and information to customers and prospects and leverage your own corporate loyalty to deliver results.
Hi Josh,

As an experienced call center, we have come across several online stores facing the same issue. Different businesses have different requirements, and as a call center operating 24/7/365, we had the advantage of handling calls as per the requirement of their business. We have several US, UK based E-commerce businesses using our service, for whom we designed custom solutions, based on what they exactly needed.

Some of our start up E-commerce clients started off with 4-5 hours of coverage a day and gradually, after watching the trends, call volumes etc, the hours of support was extended to full time during regular business hours. While there were also clients, who already had a steady and significant call volume. They started out to test the quality of our service by routing calls for 1-2 customer service reps initially. Once they were sure that we were the right firm for them, they gradually increased the number of reps to 8 and then to 15, shifting the entire work load to us eventually.

With regards to RingCentral, it was the same cost issue that many of our E-commerce clients faced. A good alternative to Ringcentral would be to go with a provider like www.ipcomms.net. We have been working with this provider for a while now and have found them very reliable. They do not charge you for incoming calls(non-toll free). For all our E-commerce clients we are using www.ipcomms.net now.When it comes to other features such as ACD, Call Queuing etc we provide it from our end. Our facility also provides added features such as ability to listening to live calls, Call recordings, voicemail, custom IVRs(interactive voice response), detailed reports etc.

Can you give me an idea of the call volume you are handling in-house currently?

Looking forward to your reply.

Thanks and regards,

Prathish Vijay
Director
Phykon Solutions
http://phykon.com

IM's : Skype - vijay3268
GoogleTalk - prathish.vijay
Yahoo - prathish.vijay
Hi Josh,

We're an e-commerce company and two years ago we had 3 agents using an aging Nortel PBX, and an open source ticketing system (OTRS). When our call and ticket volume continued to rise, we purchased an open-source PBX called Asterisk where we have our own VOIP network. We looked around for an ACD system for a little while and after a wrong choice, we finally settled on QueueMetrics, which I've been happy with. For the ticketing system, we upgraded to Kayako SupportSuite. Now we handle around 400 calls and ~800 tickets a day and have 20+ agents.

Now our needs are growing even more, so we're opening another office off-shore. There are definite pros and cons to keeping support in-house vs. outsourcing. I've also worked for two large BPO companies and know that sometimes corners are cut in order to meet contractual requirements. In this respect, I echo Richard's comments above.

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