Your contact center is the first “face” your customer sees. When you choose to outsource your customer service, you are choosing who represents your organization, the kind of impression you want to make customers, and how you’ll be remembered for their future needs.
The contact center serves two purposes: customer service and ticket resolution. Understanding your customer’s needs and meeting them quickly is essential to a successful call center.
When choosing to outsource the services that contact centers provide, you should consider these six areas of criteria.
The type of outsourcer
There are two types of outsourced call centers: dedicated and shared. If you are considering outsourcing your call center, think about which type you will require.
A shared outsourced call center manages call volume from multiple clients. Their depth of specific knowledge about a product or service is more shallow than a dedicated outsourced call center.
A dedicated outsourced call center has specific agents assigned to handle call volume from your organization only. Agents in this type of call center are able to give your customers more meticulous attention and provide better informed technical assistance specific to your industry.
Inbound and outbound call centers have different requirements with regard to how they interact with customers.
Outbound call centers need to be focused and knowledgeable about the specific party they are reaching out to. Generally, outbound call centers require a dedicated outsourced call center.
Inbound call centers can have a broader scope of knowledge. However, special consideration must be made about the level of skill required to resolve tickets. When outsourcing, inbound call centers can use either or a combination of shared and dedicated call centers.
The cost of service
In-house call centers are a significant expense to most organizations. Agent and manager salaries, hiring, training, and operations costs, as well as software purchase and maintenance all factor into the cost of an in-house call center.
Many center outsourcing organizations bill based on agents’ productive time. That amount is inclusive of all costs associated with infrastructure maintenance and training. Because the call center is shared by many clients, the overhead is lowered for all.
However, if your organization requires technical knowledge/skill or is prone to high call volumes it is even more necessary to weigh the cost of outsourcing. Jobs that meet either criterion are prone to cost more.
The call volume of your business, and the call volume they can handle
As many outsourced call centers bill per interaction, you should consider the volume of calls you require them to handle.
A low volume of calls can make outsourcing cost-effective. But, as the volume of calls grows so too does the cost of outsourcing the call center.
Consider what kind of technology an outsourced call center might use to handle high call volumes. Call centers can mitigate high call volumes by leveraging advanced virtual agents and interactive voice response (IVR) systems. Choose a call center that doesn’t shy away from employing technology to augment their human agents.
The knowledge and experience level of their agent staff
Depending on the type of inbound calls you receive, call center agents need to have varying levels of technical knowledge. To ensure your customers regard your organization as competent, call center agents need to be subject matter experts. Outsourced call centers that have experience working with organizations similar to yours are what you should seek out. They should have knowledge specific to your industry. This knowledge provides a solid base from which to build a customer engagement plan specific to your organization. Without this knowledge, the customer experience will be lacking.
If your organization requires your call center to answer technical questions or walk customers through a detailed process, this consideration is even more important.
The caliber of customer experience they can deliver
When considering an outsourced call center you need to assess how your customer service plan will be carried forward. Define the points of the customer experience that are important to you and ask how your outsourced call center will ensure these needs are met.
When you outsource your call center you relinquish direct control over customer-agent interactions. You quite literally put your customers in another entity’s hands. Look for outsourced call centers that share your ideals of customer experience.
The channels they can provide
How many channels do you need to sufficiently connect with your customers?
Consider which channels of communication you need to effectively reach your customers. Find business process outsourcers that have the ability to interact over multiple channels. In this way, you make sure your customers are always able to reach you, no matter the format.
Connecting over multiple channels offers your customer’s choice. They can meet you where they already are. If channel choice is important to your call center’s customer service approach, this is an important consideration when thinking about outsourcing your call center.
When you outsource your call center you want it to be an extension of your organization. Find call centers that have a similar customer service approach as you. Don’t be afraid to be picky in your decisions. After all, it is the face you show your customer.