10 Elements in Choosing a Call Center When Outsourcing
Choosing a correct call center outsourcing partner for your customer service and/or sales can be a daunting task for many organizations. It is very difficult to give up some control and trust the service to your organization’s customers to an outside group.
Having 25 years’ experience in the BPO call center arena, we wanted to give some basic thoughts as to some main points that a company should be looking at during the early stages when deciding on a call center partner.
10 POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN OUTSOURCING YOUR CALL CENTER
1. Proper Size– We think this is the first thing that a company needs to consider before talking to contact centers. What size BPO is right for you. If you are looking to outsource a major program 1000+ seats, then you need to talk to the multi-national call centers that have sites that can be as large as thousands of seats or more importantly have multiple sites that they can place your business for more redundancy.
Most of the time though this is not the case as many customer service programs fall into the under 100 seat range. I personally would not want my 20-100 seat program at a site with 1000 seats. In my observations, your program will fall through the cracks and you will become frustrated. You probably want to look at a company that has 500 seats or less to give your program the time it deserves.
2. Track Record of Management– What has the management team done? Are they experts in your business type. There are many different niche call centers out there that “specialize” in everything from financial service to IT to retail. Make sure you have a comfort level with the management of the call center that they understand your business type.
3. Client Support Method– Client support is one of the most important points that you need to feel comfortable on. Some call centers, like ours, make sure that you have a one-point client services manager to help you with all your needs be it production, IT, reporting….Many larger call centers have clients call into the call center manager on the floor for issues. Some have you call in and put in trouble tickets! I am in the group that believes all programs deserve a center where issues can be dealt with 24/7 by a voice that understands your program.
4. Associate Match- The Call Center you choose needs to be an extension of your brand. You must make sure that the call center you choose matches the demographic and personality associated with your brand. Remember they will become the voice of your company. Make sure you agree with what that is!
5. Proper Technology- Make sure you have a baseline thought as to what your program may need from a technical standpoint and then make sure the call center has at least that in their arsenal. Will you need call recording, virtual queues (queue callbacks), private client monitoring, speech analytics capability, chatbots? Are they a multi-channel facility (voice, chat, email, self-service options…)? Do they have onsite programmers or do they outsource programming? Can they handle any screen, CTI, and connectivity issues?
The call center of today is a high tech business. Make sure the call center you choose is up to date with current technologies. There is no excuse not to be.
6. Price/Location– This is a big decision and one that you must not take lightly. There are some programs that do well offshore. There are many though that need a US based center. There are pluses and minuses here that would take a whole new post. All I will say here is that you must understand your customers and the type of program you need to have done.
Costs obviously are much cheaper offshore but the price you may pay in customer loyalty can make it very expensive.
7. Company Culture– What is the culture of the call center? This is where site visits become very important. Is the center paperless, is there energy, do the associates look like they want to be there. You cannot ask agents to go over and above for your customers if the center is not doing that for their agents. How much the agents are paid, what type of incentives are there, what is the agent turnover, how are supervisors and management chosen? These are all important questions to get a feel for the company.
Ask yourself, do they value what we do. That question must be answered as a yes or you need to move on.
Check out article from our white paper section on the Expivia corporate culture…
8. Training– How are their new associates on-boarded, what training do they receive before they start on the floor. What is the ongoing training like? How do they communicate with agents about program changes? How do they handle internal monitoring? Training of agents is huge and a topic not to be forgotten.
9. Scalability/Flexibility– Some people talk about the scalability of a call center. Can they help you as you grow yet still scale back if needed? I talk more about the flexibility of a center. Do they take the time to understand your specific business cycle and needs? Some centers do a great job with this while some will set minimums. Make sure you have a comfort level here.
10. Security- Is the Center you are using PCI compliant? They better be. It no longer is a plus to be PCI it’s not a minimum requirement. We would suggest only working with paperless companies (no paper in call center booths) with strict no cell phone policies.
In the age of social media, your customers now have a voice to shout out how they feel about your company. Choosing to outsource to the right organization for your company can be a blessing. Choosing poorly is a major headache.
Making a proper BPO service decision allows a professional service group with the proper tools to handle your customers while you can focus on your core business saving time and most importantly MONEY.
Visit our website at www.expiviausa.com to see some of the features we offer in our high-end USA contact center. Let us know if we can help you in any way in choosing the correct call center outsourcing partner for your company.
Want more call center operations content? Head over to our weekly call center operations podcast “Advice from a Call Center Geek!” at expiviausa.com/call-center-geek-podcast/
Advice from a Call Center Geek is a weekly podcast with a focus on all things call center and contact center. We discuss topics such as call center operations, hiring, culture, technology, and training and have fun doing it! #callcenter #contactcenter #CX #custserv #callcentergeek