Call Center Outsourcing: 9 Tips to Successful Partnering
Call center outsourcing has its benefits, as long as it's coupled with the right partner.
But it's the company looking to outsource who has the prime responsibility of ensuring the right fit.
As the client, never outsource without clearly understanding your organisational goal for the move, for example, higher customer satisfaction, increased customer retention, quicker resolution, and so on.
Once goals are clear, establish clear, valuable metrics for inclusion.
Next comes long-term planning, and it is in this phase where the most attention and time has to be paid.
While outsourcing your call center can be smart, like sparing the cost of call center software and employing staff while serving more customers, there are also some major disadvantages; a third party can decrease customer satisfaction at the very least and/or ruin brand reputation.
In the planning phase, the following nine points are some of the most important things to consider:
1: Track record
The best way to find out the truth about the quality of the service a potential partner provides, is by checking into their track record and finding out what their past and current partners say about them, and what stories the data tells.
If possible, request to speak to someone at those companies in order to get referrals. The more on-the-ground the person you speak to, the better equipped they are to furnish you with the truth.
2: Staff turnover
High staff turnover is a good indication of something wrong in the company. Find out the reasons if possible, and also what plans the company has in place to retain agents.
Why is this your problem?
It is your problem because if these were your staff members, it would be your problem.
This is because, even though you’re outsourcing, when there is a high turnover amongst agents, chances are they are unhappy and this will be reflected in the work they do for you, negatively impacting the customer experience.
3: Meaningful reporting
The call center outsourcing solution will undoubtedly offer reports, but are they meaningful?
Decide in advance, which analytics and metrics are truly meaningful to your company and stipulate your needs upfront, clearly.
It’s no good receiving pretty graphs and great figures about metrics that don’t matter.
4: Documentation and standards
If your potential call center outsourcing partner does not have documentation in place, like standards, processes and procedures, as well as SLAs (Service Level Agreements), bolt.
They are not ready to outsource.
The framework of any service provider needs to be solid for them to provide quality service and more importantly, be held accountable.
5: Continual service improvements
Look for signs that indicate the company has created internal operational processes that genuinely, and not superficially, encourage continual service improvements.
If they don’t have this in place, you can be sure they will not act on negative feedback from your clients and therefore quality as well as your reputation, are at risk.
What to look for?
- Employee surveys, analysis and actions based on feedback
- Customer satisfaction surveys, analysis of feedback and Corrective Action and Preventive Action reports.
- Escalation processes and activity around complaints.
- Audits that reflect activity.
6: Location & language
To save costs and serve a larger amount of customers, Dell outsourced their first call center to a company in India, and went on to set up many more. While some centers were successful, one was not.
The result for that one, was a drop in customer satisfaction levels.
The complaints were mostly about poor service quality because English customers found it difficult to communicate with Indian technical support agents who used scripted responses.
The center failed and closed down.
A good way to tell if a call center outsourcing company emphasizes quality is when it has a culture of developing its people.
Check to see if they invest in training and development. If they do, they probably care about things like quality, which of course, is essential for your company.
Never be tempted to leave the technology up to the potential call center outsourcing partner.
While you don’t need to understand what technology they should be using, you do need to make clear, upfront, organisational needs that may require specific technology.
- Call recording
- Virtual queues
- Client monitoring
- Speech analytics capability
- Programming requirements
Your clients won’t know that your call center is outsourced, and even if they did, it would not matter - your partner becomes your brand voice. It is, for this reason, it’s essential their culture matches yours.
While it’s important to request their mission and vision statements, some companies do not live by them, so what can you look for to find a genuine fit?
- Go through staff reviews on Glassdoor.
- Interview their staff.
- Visit the company’s offices.
- What activities do they offer their employees?
- How do teams celebrate victories?
- Call their support center anonymously a few times, so that you can speak to different agents.
Don’t be afraid to think outside of the proverbial box in order to get the details you need to make an informed decision.
Your business has enough on its plate. Outsource what makes sense for your business, choose a world-class SaaS technology solution and focus on what's important: your clients. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.