9 Things to Think About When Building a Call Center Staffing Plan

Outsourcing your call center could be the smartest decision you ever make, but only if you take the time to plan it out. While your call center outsourcing vendor will handle most of the legwork for you, there are certain variables that you as a company should decide upon first. It is important that you have a framework of a call center staffing plan that fits your business needs today while setting you up for success tomorrow. After all, it is your business on the line and only you know the objectives you want your customer service operations to have.

Take the time to start imagining what an outsourced call center will look like for you, by deciding on these important variables.


Where would you like your call center located?

There are several options for the way your call center can be housed. Prices and implications for each location type vary wildly. To help you make your decision, let’s go over some of the possible situations you might experience.

Would you prefer your call center be located on-site?

Some companies prefer to have their call center located on-premise at one of their existing locations. In this case, you could hire a call center outsourcing expert to take over an existing center, or help you set up and manage a new call center operation. You could select a contact center consultant to set it all up for you. The disadvantage is the problems you have to manage going forward if you do not have call center expertise. Issues like attrition workforce management and schedule adherence can cause operations to struggle.

Alternatively, you could hire a call center outsourcing vendor to establish, staff and run a center at the location of your choosing. This way, you can keep an eye on everything and interact with the agents, but you don’t have the duty of managing them. In some cases, your call center vendor may be able to provide you with call center staff who are already trained.

Would you like a dedicated call center?

Some companies prefer to have a call center established just for them. This is common in the case of healthcare, banking, insurance, and other information-sensitive businesses. In this case, you have two options.

The most common is to hire a call center outsourcing company to build and manage the entire operation on an extended contract basis.

The second is called a Build-Operate-Transfer model.

Build – You hire a call center outsourcing vendor to build a new or established call center facility for you. It is outfitted by the vendor with furnishings and furnished by that vendor as well as outfitted with the right technology and equipment.

Operate – The contractors hires and trains the staff. They can even install qualified management for the center.

Transfer – Once everything is running smoothly, the vendor turns the center over to you.

Do you only need a few agents or a portion of a call center?

If your business demand is highly variable, or your call volume is very small, you could contract your activities to an outsourcing vendor that provides a shared facility.

In a shared center, the agents are Dedicated exclusively to your project, or they are Shared between projects based on demand. This arrangement is often the most cost-effective. Plus you gain a professional Supervisor and Support staff to manage your program. Managers are present for employee monitoring, scheduling, coaching, and human resource needs.

Do you need a physical call center?

Also, consider whether you even need a physical location, or is it fine to have agents work from home. These “at-home agents” may reduce your cost, but oversight of these employees is more complicated than those working in a controlled office environment. For instance, while quality assurance standards in place, ambient noises could vary by agent.


How many locations would you like to have?

Next, consider how many locations you would like to have for your call center operations. It is not unusual for a company to have several different contact center locations. This variety makes it easier to find agent coverage for specific times or unique skill sets that may not be concentrated in one place.


Are you comfortable with dispersed agents?

Think about whether you are comfortable with dispersed agents too. Having more than one location helps to safeguard against any potential downtime. When the centers are located in areas having different weather patterns, the centers can easily back each other up during weather events or communication and power issues. Having a location in several different time zones is one example.

You might find that some locations are susceptible to weather interruptions or network issues, such as a mountainous area in winter or the Midwest in tornado season. By choosing more than one location, you can mitigate these issues and ensure consistent coverage for your customer service needs.


The Complete Call Center Outsourcing Guide

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Do you need back office processing too?

Many call center outsourcing companies offer other back-office services in addition to contact center operations. This back-office personnel can help in a variety of ways. They can provide fulfillment, case management, inventory management, screening, and other repetitive tasks done at a workstation. In some cases, the contractor can serve as you staffing agency by hiring people on your behalf and fully training them before adding them to your payroll.


What skills would you like your call center to have?

As you develop your call center staffing plan, also think about what skills you would like your agents to have. While the best call center outsourcing companies have soft skills training in place to improve agent empathy and listening abilities, you can also request other skills in your call center staffing plan. Some companies prefer to have multi-lingual agents on staff. You might also elect to have people with technical support expertise, enhanced knowledge of your products or services, or subject matter knowledge.


What technology would you like to have in place?

Will your call center contractor be using your technology or providing it in the center? Today’s centers can easily provide cloud-based services that may include other contact channels and self-service options Your call center outsourcing vendor will be able to work with you to design the appropriate integration, including data and system security, redundancy and disaster planning. You will need to specify and verify the level of firewalls and monitoring required to protect your customer and company data.


Should your agents have specific training or certifications?

Finally, consider whether your agents need to have specific training or certifications. Your contractor should be comfortable either vetting agents for the required skills or training them when hired. For instance, if your agents will handle payment information, you might need to ensure the training and operations are PCI-DSS compliant. If they will have access to medical information, the center should be HIPAA compliant

Consider also the training or skills required to meet different regulatory, legal and industry rules and laws. Depending on your industry, you might have specific standards to which you need to adhere, be it at a federal, state, or local level.

Verification services are also important, as is having an in-house quality assurance team, call monitoring, and recording capabilities. Make sure your call center outsourcing vendor is up to the challenge.


What are your options going forward?

After you find a call center outsourcing vendor who is able to meet your needs today, consider whether they will be able to rise to the challenge tomorrow.

  • Will they be able to be your partner as you expand your operations or experience call volume changes?

  • Can they manage new programs, product introductions, and market expansions? Do they have experience with pilot programs, demonstrated improvements and self-service channels?

  • Can they manage agents through peaks and valleys to meet service levels AND control costs?

  • Does their culture and approach feel like a great fit for your organization?

Not all call center vendors can offer that level of flexibility. Know what you are getting.



The final design of a successful call center will be a collaboration with your outsource partner. To ensure from the start that you get a center that truly meets your needs, focusing on some of these elements of the basic model before signing a contract.  Ask yourself whether you have specific location needs, require specific skill sets, or need additional services. Check out The Complete Call Center Outsourcing Guide which can help you compare your options and get a feel for exactly how a call center staffing plan will look for your company.

GCS has experience across multiple industries and with hundreds of programs. We are happy to help with a discussion of your thoughts and questions no matter where you are in the search process. No pressure. Simply invest a little time to move your process along with confidence.

The Complete Call Center Outsourcing Guide

Get all your questions on outsourcing your call center answered! 


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