Effective Contact Center Outsourcing
Some businesses handle their contact center needs in-house, training, staffing and managing a team of call agents. There can be several benefits to this approach, as an organization can in theory better control customer experience when its contact center agents are in-house. Or can they? Several organizations, both small and large, have benefitted from outsourcing their contact center roles. Successful outsourcing requires some hard work and attention to the process, but with the right mindset, a contact center can be separate from daily operations and thrive.
There are several considerations before deciding to outsource your company's contact center. Since communication is a key link between a business and its customers, a solution must reflect your customer experience goals. Regardless of whether a contact center is in-house or outsourced, agents require clear workflows, systems that integrate well, and broad training options. A Virtual Contact Center can help ensure that your outsourced solution combines with your back office.
Contact Center Outsourcing 101
There are numerous options for contact center outsourcing. Companies that specialize in providing call center solutions can remove some of the management burdens of running a customer support phone bank. Outsourcing means that your support calls are handled by an outside company, whose employees are trained according to your customer support needs. Calls can be routed to you during escalations, or other pre-defined reasons. An outsourced solution can save money for organizations that do not have the budget for rolling out an in-house team, and also offers flexibility and scalability for smaller organizations. For example, if your company experience cyclical support demands such as a significant uptick in calls during a particular season, you can dial up your call center staffing with ease.
Call Center vs. Contact Center
Often, the terms call center and contact center are used interchangeably, but there can be some critical differences in these solutions. A call center is usually focused on voice communications. Call agents in a call center handle phone call support, sales or other voice communications functions. A contact center, on the other hand, opens a process to different communications channels, such as email, messaging and other forms of unified communications. Both options are available as outsourced solutions, but each requires different levels of customization for optimal use.
What to Look for in Outsourcing?
While outsourcing a call or contact center has its benefits, it is crucial to pick the right vendor for your organization's needs. Some of the most critical aspects to review include:
- Size of outsourcing company
- Management team quality
Size of your outsourced team in the context of the rest of the outsourcing company's operations is an important consideration. If you need a small number of call agents, such as 10, are they going to be lost in a sizeable 1,000-plus agent team? Equally essential to comfort with team size is having a feel for the outsourcing company's management team and its style. How well management communicates and fits with your organization will directly influence the working relationship with its agents.
Of course, technology may be the essential element of your contact or call center, so you should scrutinize the tech capability of an outsourcing company. At a minimum, the company should have advanced call routing capabilities, and the ability to integrate with your systems. Security, is also a significant consideration, especially for companies that deal with private or protected customer data. PCI compliance is a must for retailers or any other organization that deals with credit card payment processing.
Knowledge Transfer is Most Crucial
While technology is essential, how you train outsourced call or contact center agents is vital to seamless customer experience. Discuss how knowledge transfer will work. Will you have opportunities to participate in training and onboarding? Since these call agents will not be under your direct supervision, you have limited opportunities to get training right. Make sure that your outsourcing company understands your vision, your company culture, and your customer experience goals. Demand the ability to participate in training on some level to ensure quality control.
The Right Solutions can Make Outsourcing Easier
When discussing technology with your outsourcing company, ask whether their systems fully integrate with your back office. 8x8's Virtual Contact Center solutions allow for seamless integration with CRM, so even outsourced agents are fully informed about the customer lifecycle. 8x8's solutions also facilitate training, multi-channel communications, and access to analytics.
With 8x8's Virtual Contact Center you get world-class technology and everything your domestic or international business needs without the need for multiple disparate systems. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.