Call center development
The first threshold of financial stability of an outsourcing contact center is reached when its capacity increases to 120-140 operator positions (by the way, the same value corresponds to the manageability threshold: if you grow up to 120 positions, you can open a second site). At this point, we can say that "the landing gear is retracted, the car has entered a steady climb." Business owners can relax a little and breathe more or less calmly. However, the phenomenon is that many companies literally get stuck at 80-90 (and then, incompletely filled) and then the development of the call center simply stops. They cannot overcome this barrier, and often they are still shaken by cash gaps. Let's talk about it for a bit?
Stability threshold value
First, you probably have a question about the rationale for the value of the stability threshold. Why 120-140 seats and not, say, 200 or 250? And it's very simple. Under normal management, ACC's gross profit margin is somewhere around 25%. At average market prices for February 2021, one operator place brings 85-90,000 rubles per month, which, when the CC is completely filled, gives a volume (permit me, I will omit the word “gross”, that I don’t carry it along with me) of profit of about 2.500.000. If this money is set aside in the form of an airbag for at least a month in advance, then in the event that one of the customers does not pay, this money will be enough to cover the payroll of an average project. With smaller amounts of profit, there will not be enough money for operators to pay salaries in such a situation, people will scatter, and the shop will close. And it's hard to get them back. I hope I explained for stability.
Why call centers do not grow to this size
Now let's look at the main reasons why enterprises do not grow to this size. The first is subcontracts (we say subcontract – we mean the death of the OCC and vice versa). As soon as a small OCC begins to grab subcontracts, it drives itself into the very trap – there is almost no profit, and the volumes (see above) are not enough to pay operators in case of emergency. All the outsourcers that the author saw (and he saw a lot of them in 18 years of work in the OCC and with the OCC as a consultant) and who got stuck in a situation of “missed pregnancy”, had a share of subcontracted places in the amount of more than 15-20%. Although I think that even 5% is already a lot. The only reasonable (and local in time) use of subcontracting is when a company suddenly loses a customer and needs to retain trained staff until a new customer is found. Otherwise, this is suicide extended in time.
And here we can see the second problem : we would take a normal project, they don’t give us, then competitors dump, then we don’t pass according to the conditions of the competition, what else is the reason. Sometimes it looks funny, sometimes it looks absurd, sometimes it evokes both of these feelings mixed, like shampoo and conditioner in one bottle. That is, when company X is going to work at 4.5 rubles per minute on a subcontract, while its competitor dumped a normal customer from 8.0 to 6.0 rubles, this is seen by the management of company X as a more correct strategic choice. Well, if there are absolutely no chances, and you really want this particular customer, drop to 5.0, you still have nothing to lose, the barn burned down – burn the hut. It will not be worse. Why they don't do this – I can't imagine.
But in fact, they don't get normal projects for that reason. When I ran into this question many years ago, I almost racked my brain trying to figure out why the company I worked for consistently won competitions. We had the same price tags with our competitors, the same technical equipment, the locations a kilometer apart. But we were statistically much more successful, how did it work out? And now I know. And to whom projects are given more often and to whom they are not given more often, this box, it turns out, was opened as easy as shelling pears. Where a girl or a boy sits on the phone and email of the company with a chat. Where the owner does not want / cannot / does not know how to sell. By the way, he can’t teach that girl either, because he doesn’t know how. But in such firms, through one, some completely wild marketing experiments are being undertaken in the spirit of “let's spend a conditional million on advertising on Facebook , although we already have a cash gap on our nose.” Dear owners, no one but you will teach your people how to sell. And no one will sell better than you, they are hired, if anything – they quit, and you rake. Sell yourself, believe me, this is good advice. In all firms that are stuck, the owners do everything possible to evade sales, and in growing firms, on the contrary, they participate in them.
The third problem. Wrong distribution of money. The cry of the soul is simple. It happens that there is some money in the company, but they are distributed (I have already said about a million and Facebook) as if in accordance with the logic of a maniac, and not a businessman. Well, why, for example, with a total capacity of CC of 80 (eighty) places, scatter these places over 5 sites in different cities, over 7 sites, this will only increase the share of management costs in an already small budget, and worsen manageability. There are few owners, but many site managers. And what they are doing there, on the ground, no one knows, even despite the presence of cameras and other means of objective control. And they are creating. Why do this? Improper distribution of money eats up the remnants of profits like a rabbit boa.
The fourth problem . Maybe she is the worst of all of the above, although … they are all bad. This is the presence of an anchor customer, whose share in income (not necessarily in profit) is more than 10% (orange zone) or, even worse, more than 15% (red zone). “We opened a company, there was a familiar director, they invited us to be serviced at home, they agreed, we have been working for 3 years. And the third year we have 90 places, the third year we have them plus zero.” It's not even that losing an anchor customer is easy, and this threatens to instantly destroy the business. The fact is that in such a situation, everyone sits and hopes that on the expected date the expected amount will fall into the account. And it will be enough to pay the salary and stay a little bit. And it won't, because the money is not properly distributed within the company.
In general, the secret is simple: sell in person, then you won't have to rejoice in subcontracting, sell in person until you pass at least the threshold of 120 places and you don't have a single anchor customer and call center development will continue.
Dmitry Galkin, independent consultant