Using a call center broker to find your next call center has many advantages. A key one is time. This applies to reducing the time you must personally invest in the project, as well as the length of time from inception to implementation. Quite simply, a call center broker can provide you with the shortest timeline to having a functioning call center up and running. Here’s how the call center selection process goes when you do it yourself: 1. List Requirements: Start by defining what you want to achieve, in terms of both process and outcomes. 2. Design a Request for Proposal (RFP): Make a detailed RFP. Few people like to do this, but it’s an expected part of the process. A bad RFP will result in inadequate responses, so don’t skimp on this step. Expect to invest weeks of your time, writing, editing, fine-tuning, and testing your RFP form. 3. Invite Call Centers to Participate: Determine who to invite to the RFP process. This is a challenge and requires much effort to find the right call centers to even consider. You will want to do some online investigation and preform an initial screening. 4. Send Out RFP: With your RFP complete (you hope) and a list of prospects, you send them the RFP. 5. Wait for RFP Submissions: Allow a month or more for call centers to complete the RFP. A few will return them on time. Others will return incomplete versions. More will formally decline the opportunity. And many will just ignore it. Also expect a couple call centers to ask for more time. 6. Evaluate RFPs: Scrutinize the completed RFPs. However, don’t be shocked if you don’t receive any fully finished RFPs by your deadline. Also don’t be surprised if the ones you do receive fail to meet your expectations. If so, go back to step 2. 7. Select the Leading Candidates: Assuming you received qualified responses, pick the best ones. There may just be one (if any) or there may be a couple. If you receive many that look good, your job in narrowing the field has become extra challenging. 8. Vet the Leading Candidates: Now you need to investigate your top call centers: Make phone calls, check references, and conduct a sight visit. 9. Award the Bid: Deliver good news to the winner (and bad news to everyone else). 10. Provide Process and Procedure Information: Let them know your expectations. 11. Test Implementation: Make evaluation calls into the call center, and identify problems 12. Go Live: You are done—lmost. 13. Hope For the Best: Hope they meet your expectations. Your job may be at stake. Here’s how the call center selection process goes when you use an established broker: 1. Contact an Experienced Call Center Broker: Make one call to an established industry broker. 2. Answer Your Broker’s Questions: The call center broker will guide you in listing your requirements (step #1 from above) and documenting your process and procedure information (step #10 from above). 3. Go Live: Your broker will oversee call center implementation, testing, and problem resolution. Then you can go live. 4. Let Your Broker Monitor Performance: Your broker will track your call center’s results so that you don’t have to. Which way is easier? What would you rather do? Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center and telephone answering service industry—and who provides a call center matchmaking service. Contact Janet at email@example.com or call 800-901-7706. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.