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Contact Center Budgets: Don't Just Get By - Get Ahead!

Still working your way through next year’s budget? Like members of the ICMI Community, you know that the contact center doesn’t fit the typical business mold -- and it requires special planning and budgeting consideration.

What makes budgeting for the contact center unique when compared to budgeting for other business units? To start, the contact center doesn’t generate the majority of the work it does (other departments, like marketing, do). The issue is further complicated by the fact that CEOs and CFOs don’t speak “call center.”

I think one of the most striking moments during the Mastering Contact Center Financials course last week at the ICMI Training symposium in Orlando, Fla. was this: As a contact center manager or director with budget control, you have to take a barrel of things into account when you’re effectively planning your budget. You’re not expected to automatically know all of those things on your own, but to gather that intel, you’ve got to communicate –with executives to understand strategic business goals, and with marketing, IT, sales and other units to understand their needs and their planned goals and initiatives. It’s that exchange that can help you understand the total environment’s impact on the contact center, as well as the contact center’s potential impact on achieving strategic goals.

You’ve got to have that level of communication all the time if you’re going to be able to identify the resource and results tradeoffs that, according to “The Seven Principles of Call Center Budgeting”, are a critical part of the center’s financial picture.

How do you build your budget? If you answered that you used last year’s budget with a percentage change, you’re not alone. You might be surprised to know how many contact center professionals will readily confess that’s their tactic. I want to know how you build your budget (the good and the bad!) and what you’d change about your process to get ahead, not just get by. You can share that here, or send us a tweet: @CallCenterICMI.