How to Run a Call Center Business


As digital communication technology evolves, customers have newer communication channels to contact businesses. Social media, messaging apps, and chatbots have increased customer expectations for convenient and exceptional customer service.

Therefore, the following customer service fact might surprise you: 76% of consumers prefer good old customer support via the phone.

Call centers aren’t going away anytime soon. That’s good news for anyone setting up or already running call center companies. Call centers remain integral to business success because they address customers’ needs, nurture relationships, and help build customer loyalty.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to run a call center business. Whether you’re starting out or are already in the business looking to make changes to ensure success, here’s what you need to do:

1. Set call center goals

The first step in starting any business, be it a cybersecurity business or even an offline business like a cafe business is goal setting.

You must start by establishing your call center goals. You have to have a clear understanding of what you hope to achieve. Otherwise, your call center business plan won’t work.

That said, here are examples of call center goals:

  • Improve resolution time
  • Increase customer satisfaction
  • Increase customer advocacy
  • Collect customer feedback
  • Reduce cost per contact

The list goes on.

When setting goals, follow the SMART framework. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

For example, a SMART call center goal statement would be: improve CSAT score by 7% by the end of the year. The goal is specific and relevant (improve CSAT score), measurable and attainable (7%), and time-bound (by the end of the year).

Now, compare this to a goal of achieving 100% customer satisfaction. The latter is vague, unmeasurable, unrealistic, and indefinite. It doesn’t specify how to define or measure customer satisfaction. It doesn’t have a due date. The goal itself, while ambitious, is unattainable.

Setting goals and monitoring call center KPIs (key performance indicators) go hand-in-hand. Otherwise, how do you know what success looks like?

These are the critical call center metrics to track.

  • Average Speed of Answer (ASA) – how long callers wait before they connect with an agent.
  • Average Handle Time (AHA) – how long an agent takes to manage a call from contact to resolution.
  • First Call Resolution (FCR) – the percentage of customer inquiries agents resolve during the first call.
  • Abandonment Rate – how many customers terminate calls before speaking with customer support representatives.
  • Transfer rate – the percentage of customer calls transferred to other departments. A high rating here highlights a need for cross-training or an intelligent routing system.
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) – how many customers are satisfied with your products and quality of service.

With clear goals and KPIs, you can easily measure performance. You can also choose appropriate processes and implements, from contact center software to servers and power supply systems, and help align your efforts with overall business objectives.

2. Decide on call center type

Determine the kind of call center you want. There are several types of call centers.

  • Inbound call centers manage incoming calls from customers. These centers handle general customer queries, technical support, order/payment processing, appointment scheduling, etc.
  • Outbound call centers make outgoing calls to potential customers. Businesses use these centers for lead generation, sales, market research, debt collection, and customer feedback.
  • Hybrid call centers combine inbound and outbound capabilities.

If your primary goal is resolving customer inquiries, an inbound call center should be part of your business development plan. Go with the outbound model to sell products or conduct market research.

Once you know what you want your call center to do, decide whether you want on-site or virtual call centers.

Traditional call centers are physical locations where the entire team receives or makes calls. The benefits of on-site centers include direct supervision, data security, and efficient team collaboration. The drawbacks are high operational costs, a limited talent pool, and limited round-the-clock support.

Virtual call centers are cloud-based, with employees working from remote locations. The advantages of remote centers are low operation costs, access to a global talent pool, and 24/7 customer support. The disadvantages include limited managerial oversight, data security concerns, and reduced team communication, although these can now be easily overcome with existing technologies.

There are several factors to consider when deciding which operational model to use. They include cost, security, reach, and location.

The virtual call center route attracts startups since it eliminates overhead costs like office space or IT infrastructure. On the other hand, highly regulated industries such as finance and healthcare opt for on-site locations. For them, even with measures like password managers, unsecured devices and internet connections can pose significant data security risks.

3. Decide on a budget for the call center

The cost to run a call center business will vary depending on the type you choose. However, there are three areas you must invest in.


Labor accounts for up to 70% of total business costs. These include wages, benefits, incentives, recruiting, training, and related taxes.

However, the amount you will spend varies by location and experience. Numbers from Salary Expert show that the average salary for US call center agents is $18.08 hourly. In India, it’s $2.26 per hour.


If you opt for an on-premise call center, you will need to invest in IT infrastructure and office supplies, including:

  • Servers
  • Data centers
  • Phones
  • Headsets
  • Computers
  • Network hardware (modem, routers, cables)
  • Power supply systems

You can do away with a lot of the things above and save money if you leverage Voice Over Internet Protocol software. 

Below is an example of a cloud-hosted VoIP phone system.

A typical setup for this would only involve a router for the Internet and a handset. For as long as you have a broadband connection, you can easily use VoIP.

Other Solutions

Some call center solutions are so multi-faceted and powerful that they also allow you to store and manage customer information across communication channels. But if your solution only offers the basic features, you’ll need to invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) solution. It will help agents track customer interactions and works with popular sales funnel builders like Clickfunnels and ClickFunnels alternatives to help manage leads from marketing platforms. 

When deciding what technologies to use, prioritize business tools based on their impact on customer experience and operational efficiency. 

As you formulate your final budget, account for monthly, fixed, and variable costs. Also, create a contingency budget to cover unforeseen expenses. A good rule of thumb is to reserve 10% of your budget.

Overall, careful planning and thorough cost analysis ensure business owners have everything needed to run a call center business without exceeding the allocated capital.  

4. Hire a Call Center Team

You must hire three key positions to run a successful call center business.

  • Call center agents/representatives: They receive or make calls to potential clients and existing customers, providing support or selling products and services.
  • Call center supervisors: They manage day-to-day operations by supporting reps and ensuring they adhere to policies, processes, and standards.
  • Call center managers: They develop policies and processes, set goals, and monitor performance.

Remember, a bad hire can cost up to 30% of the employee’s potential first-year earnings. 

So, spend time outlining each position’s status, qualifications, responsibilities, desired skills (hard and soft), and compensation. Furthermore, candidate screening ensures you don’t waste time moving unqualified applicants through the recruitment process.

Pre-employment assessment tests also help verify that shortlisted candidates fit the job description.

See the job knowledge test below.

The role-specific questions screen out candidates who copy/paste job descriptions onto their resumes. They also allow you to visualize how applicants handle real-life scenarios.

Call center jobs aren’t for everyone. More often than not, agents field customer complaints with angry customers. Or, in the case of cold calling, people who aren’t interested in what they’re selling.

So, rather than hiring mostly for customer service experience or familiarity with equipment, focus more on soft skills such as active listening, effective verbal communication, empathy, and problem-solving. You can always train applicants to use call center equipment. You can’t train emotional intelligence.

Once you have a final list of suitable candidates, you can move on to interviews and, eventually, onboarding new hires.

5. Build Training Processes

It’s true care centers are notorious for high turnover rates. So, it can be tempting to forgo proper onboarding. Why bother training people who are likely to leave, right?

Well, wrong. Onboarding statistics show that great onboarding actually increases employee retention by 82%.

But what does great onboarding look like? Essentially, it entails:

  • Creating an employee knowledge base with FAQs and call center scripts
  • Crafting training webinars covering call handling procedures and escalation protocols
  • Designing e-learning modules assessing call etiquette and conflict resolution strategies
  • Implementing role-playing exercises to demonstrate appropriate communication techniques
  • Enabling shadowing and call whispering during live customer interactions

By onboarding new hires, you increase employee satisfaction and lower turnover. 

Your job doesn’t end after onboarding employees, though. Professional development programs also contribute to retention. So, make sure you continue to upskill your employees and keep them updated on industry trends through lectures and training sessions. Employees will keep working for you if they see you care.


Despite the proliferation of digital channels, many people still prefer the immediacy and authenticity of a phone call. However, with everything happening in real-time, the stakes are high to keep customers happy with stellar customer experiences.

We shared five considerations necessary to run a call center business successfully. The steps not only allow you to meet customers’ expectations, but they also ensure your efforts align with overall business goals.

So, whether you’re starting or have been in the game for some time, incorporate these strategies into your call center business plan for the best results.

About the author

Nicholas Prins

I'm the founder of Launch Space. We work with global companies helping them scale lead generation through SEO and content marketing. Head over to the homepage to find out more.

By Nicholas Prins