The I-Café As A Call Center

call_centerWay back in the early years of this decade, I was one among the first group of i-café owners who studied the conversion of cafés to call centers during the period of the day that require such activity. We called the project then as ICD/CCN (Internet Café by Day, Call Center by Night) as most call center operations are done during night time here. To these days, the topic always crop-up in various forums frequented by i-café owners. The low income on the regular computer rent business forces the café owners to look for alternative sources of revenues and the call center operation is one of those getting considered.

The operation of an i-café as call center is logical because the hardware components are already there. Only a few more hardware to provide the VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) capability and the software for Customer Relations Management (CRM) have to be added and the i-café is ready to be used as call center. In our study then, these missing technology will be provided by a virtual host located in the United States of America.

What were then lacking to complete the items needed to operate a call center are the manpower and the campaign. Campaign means the actual business activity to be handled by the call center which could be telemarketing or selling by phone, customer helpdesk or any other outsourced business process. It was getting the campaigns that bogged down the project at that time. If it was difficult to get campaigns in those days, I would believe that it is more so these days.

The manpower for a call center is an issue that has been with us since the birth of the industry. The big call centers are always in need of qualified call center agents which our manpower base cannot supply. This being the case, I cannot see the chance of an i-café getting the manpower to handle the campaigns if ever they get to secure them.

They were claims by some that they are operating as ICD/CCN but I have yet to see a successful one. This is usually the scenario, some unscrupulous persons would approach an i-café owner and would say they have the VoIP technology, manpower and campaign to convert his shop to a call center and earn dollars. The i-café owner just have to put in additional investment that runs in hundreds of thousands of pesos.

The promise is that you, as i-café owner will just shell out the money while they do the rest. They will operate the your i-café as call center at night with the manpower and the campaign that they will provide. You just wait and count the dollars that will come. After a few weeks of operation with scanty results, they will leave you and your investment will be gone.

I could be wrong in my observation and I hope that those who are successful in this kind of venture would come forward and testify in the opposite. In these days of distress in the i-café industry, any testimony of success on this kind of undertaking is very much welcome.

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