Ten Reasons You Should Never Outsource Your Call Center
All day long I could talk about why you should outsource. Today I will be playing devil’s advocate and give you ten reasons as to why you shouldn’t outsource your call center. These are some of the reasons why outsourcing fails, why your experience with an outsourcer could be miserable, why you should always keep your options open.
1. You Do Not Understand Call Center Metrics
This happens a lot. Say you have someone who just got put into the position of trying to figure out how to operate your customer service. If that person does not have a lot of experience understanding call center metrics, it can become very confusing and frustrating to understand the terminology that different vendors are trying to tell you. I am not saying you will get ripped off, but if you do not have a person on your team that has an understanding of call center language, the experience will be miserable.
2. You Say No to Calibrations or Monitoring
Your partnership with an Outsourcer should be just that: a partnership. Your thought while outsourcing should not be, “I’m outsourcing, it’s done, it’s out of my hands.” You need to have the resources available to hold your call center partner accountable if your customers are dissatisfied. You should want to blind monitor or at least set up weekly or monthly calibrations to make sure you, your outsourcer, and your clients are all on the same page. It is important for you to listen in.
3. Vendor Management
Have a Vendor Manager that can help guide you through the ins and outs of communicating with outsourcers. If you do not have a Vendor Manager, you should not outsource. The terminology can be confusing, and a manager will help you narrow down who should join your team.
If you believe price is the only reason to outsource, then you should never outsource. You should want to utilize the tools outsourcers have to make your customer experience the best it can be. If you force your budget to be small and you say, “I don’t want advanced reporting, I don’t want blind monitoring, I just want bare bones, the cheapest price I can possibly get,” I guarantee you and your customers will be miserable with the quality of support you receive. It is understandable that the price needs to work for you, the benefits of outsourcing being utilized from blind monitoring and MPS to analytic data and sentiment scoring, you cannot get this information if you are functioning internally.
5. Vendor, not Partner
If you think an outsourcer is just a service for you to utilize, you are wrong. An outsourcer is a partnership. To care about your clients means you need to have a relationship with your outsourcer, who in turn care about the clients they interact with firsthand. If you treat your outsourcer like they are below you, your relationship is going to fail. It is okay to not know everything we know as a call center. It is not your job to know what we know, and our job is to help you understand and to help you grow. There is a human nature in extending your brand by asking for help. If you are good to us, we will be good to you.
6. You Do Not Care About Bells & Whistles
The real reason to outsource is to be able to utilize the rich amount of resources we have to offer that you would not otherwise have doing your customer support internally. If you are not interested in the tech tools we have available, that will definitely save you money, but your quality of customer support will not be nearly as high-quality.
7. Training is Not Tight
The call center you outsource with can only train your reps using information you give us. If you do not have that information or training ready for us to use, you are not ready to outsource your customer service. As a business, you need to take the time to build training documentation that you can then hand off to your outsourcing partner to make the training process on their end more efficient. This is not an overall reason to not outsource, this is a reason to not do it now.
8. Thinking Blended Agents are Best
If you are looking for blended agents during your core call time, it is probably because your call volume in not heavy enough to warrant outsourcing. You are not going to get the experience you and your customers will be looking for because your call center vendor is not going to care as much if they are only taking a couple calls a day. A low call volume is a good reason to keep your customer service internal. Furthermore, if your call volume is low, an outsourcer is going to charge you a higher per-minute time. They may not be charging you for a full dedicated agent, but pretty close to it. The smallest I would ever possibly go is when you hit the 3-5 agent mark in your internal center, then it might be a good idea to start outsourcing.
9. Only Outsourcing to Call Centers with Name Recognition
I often see executives say they want to outsource with a certain company because they are a “top call center”. To me, “top” just means big, it does not necessarily mean “good”. But what happens is, if you have a 10,20,30,40-seat call center in a company with 30,000 seats… how important do you think your program is to them? Balancing your options with a call center that is an appropriate size for your program is just as important as any other factor.
10. Not Having a Full Buy-in From All Stakeholders
Who are your key stakeholders? Is it Marketing? Sales? Finance? You need to make sure every facet of your company is on board with your plan to outsource or not. If one key stakeholder disagrees, they are going to make transitioning miserable for you and there will be a constant battle of getting everyone on board with any decision making that happens. If you have a full buy-in from every department, you are on track for a successful transition. In my personal experience (and no shame here), it is usually the IT people that want to hold on to whatever they have internally. A main reason why programs fail is when there is not a full bind with the organization, and they are nitpicking every possible thing that could go wrong.
Outsourcing is a great option if you have the resources and flexibility to. These are simply reasons why your organization might not be ready to outsource. We try to be as open and trustworthy as possible, and I do try to give my listeners and readers the most accurate knowledge I can give.
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