I know I’m coming a little late to the game here, but I just found this posting while reading other articles.
A lot depends on what you are looking for in a contact centre. Do you just want someone to answer the phone and take a message (answering service), or will they actually need some knowledge of your business, perhaps to route calls to you or your staff when appropriate. Are you looking for someone to do troubleshooting? Order entry? General customer service? Outbound sales? There is a lot to consider. What is your budget? What kind of coverage do you want? (Business hours? Extended hours? 24/7?)
Take a look in your local jobs section of the paper. How much are other companies offering for a similar position? How much would it cost you to directly hire someone to do the job. Don’t forget the “hidden” costs of employee/employer taxes, additional equipment and maintenance of that equipment (PC, desk, chair, phone, etc). What happens if you rely on one person, and they are sick? Is there a backup?
Now, consider contact centre costs. You *should* be able to get more bang for your buck, but a good contact centre isn’t going to be cheap, either. Especially if you want to keep your calls in the same country as you (I’m guessing you are in the US, but that is just a guess). Sure, you can off-shore your calls, but will your customers respond well to that? Think they won’t know? Think again.
You’ve mentioned a virtual contact centre, so it sounds like you’ve some some homework already, which is good. Sounds like you are comfortable with the idea of work-at-home agents, VOIP communications, and remote management. Or, at least willing to give it a try.
A quick search just as I write this shows a few other centres. Here’s a random selection (perhaps you’ve already looked into some of them):
Will this company work with you (if you are still looking), I don’t know.