In-house vs Outsourced Call Center Operations

In-house vs Outsourced Call Center Operations

In the last couple of decades or so, customer service has become one of the important parts of businesses across the globe. With ever so increasing competition, retaining customers is as important as acquiring new ones. In this regard, the call center operations act as a business enabler for enterprises who are looking to expand their services across geographies which requires round the clock customer service support.

Below mentioned are some of the major factors to consider while creating call center operations:

  • Set up cost
  • Hiring and training the call center agents
  • What should be the size of the operation?
  • Level of customer engagement required etc

Outsourcing call center operations

As per the latest 'Contact Center Outsourcing Annual Report 2015', the call center industry stands at USD 350 billion and out of which outsourcing call center operations market stands at USD 75 billion and is seeing 5% growth year-on-year. In fact, enterprises all over the world are looking at external call center service providers to successfully manage changing business needs and deliver optimum value to their customers.

Enterprises that are keen on outsourcing their call center operations to an offshore location are due to:

Significant cost savings

Often organizations outsource their call center services to reduce costs significantly. In some cases the cost is reduced up to 50% of the operating cost in-house as there is no need of investing in infrastructure, technology and you have a readymade available trained workforce for your business operations. These significant cost savings helps businesses to offer their services at competitive rates.

No more staffing issues

External call center service providers usually handle everything from hiring to training, and managing a team of call center agents. The only thing you should be concerned is about who are the key personnel and how will they be handling your project. This minimizes your area of focus and helps you to concentrate more on core competencies.

Round the clock service at a fraction of price

Call center operations at an offshore location helps you to provide round the clock support to your customers at competitive price point. Outsourcing destination like India offers a far better time zone advantage and helps many European and North American businesses by providing 24/7 services. The same activity done in-house would cost double the amount and in turn decreasing the bottom line.

Ability to handle overflow of peak traffic

Enterprises often find it difficult to address the issue of peak overflow of traffic. This can be easily handled in an external location where there is abundant staff and you do not have to worry about the traffic, as they will have multiple delivery centers which can accommodate spikes at certain points and help your customers with their queries and achieve better first call resolution (FCR) rates.

Addresses business continuity

Businesses face a lot of challenges to give 100% uptime of their services. This can be true for their call center operations as well. By outsourcing the work to an experienced vendor in an offshore location, you are guaranteed 100% uptime. Outsourcing vendors with their multiple delivery centers, servers maintained in different geographic locations and dedicated staff will ensure they provide you round the clock service and meet your customers' needs.

In-house call center operations

As per Everest Group's 'Contact Center Outsourcing Annual Report 2015' the current call center operations spend stands at USD 300-350 billion and out of which only 20-25% accounts for third party outsourcing. Which means 75-80% still accounts for in-house call center operations across the globe. This high percentage of in-house call center operations is due to the fact that many enterprises are acquiring call center outsourcing vendors and are expanding their horizons on the other side of the world.

Enterprises prefer in-house contact center operations because call center experience directly results in customer loyalty. In case of B2C market, customer satisfaction is a critical component; it can make or break the company. Call center operations whether it is in-house or outsourced, it is the frontline of the customer's experience, many a times it is the only human interaction with the company. Therefore, it is important to measure call center KPIs with regards to customer satisfaction and it should be continuously monitored to accurately assess a company's performance.

Enterprises prefer in-house call center operations because:

To provide better customer service

Enterprises will be able to provide better customer service when they have an in-house call center operations as employees already have extensive enterprise knowledge and they will be able to adhere to the vision, values and goals of the organization better than call center agents sitting at an offshore location.

If you are considering providing in-house call center operations to just improve your customer service then think again, an experienced outsourcing vendor can provide you everything you are looking for and more than that with regards to customer service. With in-house call center operations you are starting everything afresh, whereas at an external location with an experienced vendor, everything is set up and you have to just do few hand-holding sessions with their key personnel and get your project started in no time. The added advantage with outsourcing is that you will be able to get your products to the market sooner than your competition.

To achieve high FCR rates

Call center agents located at an offshore location might lack the cultural knowledge and fluency as supposed to an in-house call center operation. This is where first call resolution (FCR) comes into the picture. Research over a period of time has shown that customers are more satisfied when they get their queries or problems solved within their first call to the customer service. But on many occasions the FCR rates do not meet the requirements from an outsourced call center operation due to various factors. However, this can be resolved by partnering with the right experienced vendor who has high FCR rates for their call center services. You can do a thorough check with your vendor's clients and ask for their reference if possible.

To have more control over business functions

By outsourcing your call center operations, enterprises will have a very less control of that business entity which is at an offshore location. Yes providing great customer service is an important part of your business and that same level of commitment may not be shown by the vendor. But having an in-house call center operation comes at a cost, right from setting up the infrastructure, equipment, overheads, hiring and training, salaries and more will be an additional burden on your shoulders. Moreover, this will be an additional process that needs to be set up and looked after and requires considerable amount of time to be invested to get it right and this takes away your focus from core competencies.

To provide 100% focus

When you have in-house call center operations, the call center agents working here will be able to provide 100% focus on your customers alone. There will be no pressure on call center agents to receive or make more calls as supposed to in an external offshore location. With 100% focus, agents will be better equipped to serve your customers and offer better value to the business as well.

This is a very simple problem to solve at an offshore location where at the beginning of the project you can have proper induction and training in place where you can lay down the call center service KPIs with regards to customer satisfaction. You can even insist on certain KPIs are met no matter what and ensure that there is 100% focus towards your call center services.

To avoid security and privacy issues

Enterprises who keep their call center operations in-house are mainly due to security and privacy concerns for their customers' data. It is seen that many external call center service providers may not have strict authentication procedures to keep your customers data safe. With call center agents employing a weak authentication procedure, internet fraudsters will have a field day.

Confidential information will always be at risk at an offshore location. But then again, this issue can be easily resolved by working with outsourcing vendors who are ISO 9001 and 27001 certified and also who have achieved HIPAA compliance as well. Enterprises with ISO 9001 and 27001 certificates will have robust security standards and privacy laws in place to ensure your customers data is in safe hands.

The advantages of outsourcing your call center operations are far more compelling than the disadvantages. Over the last two decades outsourcing non-core work to an offshore location has become an important business strategic tool for enterprises across the globe. With ever so increasing competition, enterprises are looking at experienced outsourcing vendors to provide high quality call center services, and help them to focus on their core competencies and increase their bottom line.

About Invensis:

Invensis, is a leading IT-BPO service provider with 15+ years of experience offering an unprecedented and high quality call center services. Invensis provides call center services such as sales and customer acquisition; technical support / helpdesk services; multi-channel support; customer care; debt collection and more. By partnering with us, you can leverage the benefits of our state-of-the-art customer engagement contact center solution and add more value to your business offerings.

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