On the final part our ultimate guide to running a security dispatch center series, we discuss how the launch and run your own, in-house, security dispatch center. Customer service is one of the best ways for your company to differentiate itself from the competition. A dedicated in-house dispatch center can set you apart from competitors that either have officers in the field handle calls or outsource the work to an overseas call center.
Having your own call center can dramatically increase the quality of your customer service and the functions you can carry out for customers. It helps you make the transition from being a vendor to a partner. However, it also takes a lot of time and effort to set up and work efficiently.
Speaking From Experience
First off, I'd like to start by being completely transparent by saying that I whole heartedly recommend keeping your call center in-house as long as you can afford it. This is an area of your business that you'll want complete control over. In the early days hiring in-house may not be an option but your goal should be to run your own dispatch center when your business is large enough to justify the cost.
"In the long run, the benefit of having your customer service team in-house far outweighs the cost savings of outsourcing." - Chris Anderson
That being said, the first step in launching your in-house team is similar to the first step in outsourcing; you have to properly assess your needs.
Determine Your Needs
Start out by establishing exactly what your requirements will be and determining the tools and technology required. Depending on the volume of calls you’ll need to handle and the types of requests customers might have, you have a variety of tools that could help things run smoother.
For instance, a company with a high volume of calls might want to consider using a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) or toll-free line to reduce costs. If you have customers with many different types of requests (parking, registration, security, etc.), setting up call routing will help speed up the process.
Another thing that will speed up the process: maintaining a detailed, easy to use database.
“You need to have a pretty comprehensive list of information ready for that person taking calls." - Johnny Page
- Customer contact information (preferably through a CRM)
- The scope and type of service for different accounts
- The chain of escalation for specific events
- Employee contact information and which employee should be forwarded certain types of calls
- Access to schedules so they know who is working at what site
The Silvertrac security dispatch system is set up to handle a high volume of calls and streamline the process so that the employees on the phones have all the information at their fingertips. It also gives customers the option for online reporting, decreasing the volume of calls you need to handle
Establish Clear Expectations And Processes
Make sure that everyone in your organization, not just dispatch center employees, have clear expectations in regards to how to handle customer calls. For instance, supervisors need to be consistently checking messages so that if they miss a call that was forwarded to them, they can call back and resolve the issue. Otherwise, that customer is going to call the center again, clogging up the lines and getting frustrated.
Make sure the employees in your call center know how to handle calls and spend as little time on the phone as possible. For instance, encourage them to take quick notes while on the call and then do the full input of information later so they can get the caller off the line quickly.
This is an area of your business that the more attention you give to the details, the better. It's really hard to go overboard on this.
For example, have you ever called a customer service line and felt like the rep on the phone had the perfect answer for every question you had? Isn't it a drastically different experience from a call with a rep that seemed unprepared and disengaged?
Take the time to thoroughly plan responses, chain of command, and standard operating procedures. Of course you don't have to get everything nailed down to start. But make it a monthly habit to circle back and update the processes in place.
Hire The Right Employees
Call center employees might have some different required skill sets than your guards. Obviously customer service is important, but there are some other necessary skills we might not think of as much. Word processing/typing is very important so they can quickly and accurately record customer issues. Also, depending on where you operate, you might want to make sure they are bilingual in both English and Spanish.
Make sure you have metrics to define performance as well, whether that’s total number of calls, customer reviews, etc. Measure their performance, and make sure call center employees understand how they’re being evaluated.
By hiring quality employees, establishing clear processes, and utilizing proper technology, your in-house call center can become a valuable tool that sets your company apart.
Part Four of Four
This article wraps up our four-part series on Running Your Dispatch Center. Just in case you missed some of the previous posts we've got them listed below. Be sure to download The Ultimate Guide to Running Your Dispatch Center for even more amazing tools and information.
- Episode 42: The Ultimate Guide to Running Your Dispatch Center
- Episode 43: The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing a Dispatch Center
- Episode 44: How to Outsource Your Dispatch Center
- Episode 45: How to Launch an In-House Dispatch Center