Call centers are an important business requirement for any customer-centric organization. They not only help in establishing good customer relationships and ensure repeat customers but also enhance brand reach and goodwill. However, due to the high cost and challenges involved in establishing an in-house call center, several successful small, medium and multinational enterprises prefer a call center outsourcing partner.
While there are several benefits of outsourcing business alliances, there have been innumerable cases where firms have lost money and credibility due to the poor performance of their call center outsourcing partners. Thus, choosing the right call center outsourcing partner should be a meticulous task where a thorough check about the company’s background, experience, capacity, capability, financial and technological stability, location, and culture should be made before assigning a contract.
Below are some of the key parameters that should be checked by businesses before taking the vital decision of choosing their strategic call center outsourcing partner.
Deciding Factors to Choose a Call Center Outsourcing Partner
Table of Contents
- 1 Deciding Factors to Choose a Call Center Outsourcing Partner
A professional call center company that has been in the industry for a number of years and has the experience of having worked with clients across different locations and industry verticals will have considerable expertise to capitalize on.
2. Latest Call Center Technology:
A provider that has the latest call center technology in place should be selected. Technology that includes in-demand features, such as IVR, Automatic Call Distributor, dialer, voice logger, reporting engine, and others, facilitates the creation of high-quality customer interactions, and also ensures that agents at the call center outsourcing company have maximized productivity and deliver optimal output.
Reducing operating costs is one of the major reasons for choosing a call center outsourcing partner. Hence, businesses need to ensure that the services offered by the contact center are justified in terms of return on investment. Some of the popular pricing models offered are sales-based, transaction-based, and incidence-based. A company can identify the right pricing model for its business requirement before entering into an agreement with the outsourcing service provider.
4. Types of Services Offered:
Businesses should be clear about their plans and service expectations when entering into a Service Level Agreement with a call center outsourcing partner. This will set the pace for the partnership and help the parties to mutually benefit. A professional call center outsourcing services company will offer both in-bound and out-bound services – based on various pricing models – that are further classified into subcategories. These services could include: sales and customer acquisition, customer service and after-sales support, technical support and help desk, and more.
Outsourcing a business requirement to a third party involves risks. Thus, it is important for enterprises to ensure that the country or place where the call center is located offers a safe and prosperous business environment. It should be checked that there is no political instability in the region which would act as a deterrent and cause business interruptions. Also, the risk of natural calamities should also be assessed based on the history of the region.
6. Good Communication Skills:
For the smooth and successful functioning of a business, it is important to have good communication with the customer. In this context, the capability of the outsourcing partner should integrate both well-trained professionals and multi-channel communication technology. Additionally, the outsourcing partner should offer transparency of their process and their language proficiency should match the expectations of the client company. If an interpreter is required or the language of the partner is not easily comprehended by the business executive, it is a recipe for disaster.
7. Check for Quality:
The bottom line for call center outsourcing is improved customer relationships. Thus, the quality of customer interactions should be an important criterion for choosing an outsourcing partner. The management of the call center should be asked if there are any quality processes followed to ensure the level of service delivered remains unadulterated at every stage. Industry-recognized certifications, such as ISO standards, will also attest to the proficiency of the outsourcing provider.
8. Check References:
Any references provided by the call center outsourcing services company should be checked. It is important to know what others are saying and how satisfied or happy they are with the call center service.
9. Establish KPIs:
Before signing the agreement with the call center partner, reasonable and measurable KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) should be shared by the business to establish the first line of trust. It is important for businesses to measure various aspects of the outsourced process: first contact resolution, average handle time, speed of answering calls, etc. However, care should be taken that the metrics are aligned to specific business needs.
10. Cultural Fit:
Most call centers would offer a tour before signing a contract with a business. It is an important opportunity for businesses to understand the culture of the call center and gauge how well it will blend with the business’s vision and mission. A few observations, like how engaged are the people while dealing with a call, the executives’ body language, and how the project manager is managing the team, should be good indicators of the outsourcing company’s culture.
As per an article in Business Week, “Shared vision and mutual objectives between outsourcer and client are essential to the success of any alliance. This means both partners contribute to a process of mutual disclosure and consensual agreements and continue to evolve a working relationship based on common goals.” Thus, astute businesses should choose a call center outsourcing partner who is well versed with the dynamics of the industry and has the acumen to understand the goals, expectations, and ROI of the business.