31 May, 2018 Outsourcing a call center: every rose has its thorns
A contact center is the hub of all things customer service related, and acts as a centralized spot consumers can rely on when they need to reach out to your business or enterprise. Without that central mediating presence, customer satisfaction would almost certainly be driven into the ground.
This is especially true for larger companies with multiple locations or branches, as people would have difficulty finding a concise, simple route to tackling basic concerns, which tends to be a major turnoff to customers (as studies show). That being said, is it better to pay to outsource the valuable services of a call center, or should you hire and staff your own contact center?
There are pros and cons to both which, depending on your business’s size and clientele, can be subjective. Let’s first examine a few of the more major positive elements of outsourcing a call center before weighing them against the potential drawbacks, many of which may have solutions or workarounds.
Outsourcing a call center gives you more flexible, reliable staffing
An individual business might be able to pull off its own customer service, but what happens when you’re short staffed? Customer satisfaction will drop, and revenue will take a blow. An outsourced call center has the dedicated resources and tools for staffing and can spread its resources and staff more evenly across the operation.
Outsourced call centers are capable of higher volumes of calls
Agents trained specifically in call center technology, and a call center that has the dedicated resources to devote to that training and technology can maximize the number of calls handled per hour, with more availability. It’s not uncommon for an outsourced call center to operate around the clock, enabling customers worldwide to access service.
Cut costs by outsourcing your call center
Consider your business’s customer service center. Startup costs were likely high, including staffing, technology, and the brick and mortar location (or the addition to your current business space). On top of that, you’ve likely had a continuous stream of miscellaneous expenses and a few roadblocks that are pricey and detract from your bottom line.
With an outsourced contact center, there is one continuous contractual cost for your company, while the call center handles peripheral and core expenses that are the main focus of its business operation. The investments are already established, and more flexibility for improvements arises.
Your outsourced call center agents can offer a more fluid, versatile range of service
Call centers that operate as a standalone business model have more targeting in their training process and more robust, versatile approaches to a variety of possible scenarios, which is part of the training process. Staff can often speak multiple languages, meaning a larger range of customers can access quality assistance. Agents are prepared for anything, which removes a major headache potential from your own operations.
Don’t be discouraged by the drawbacks to contact center outsourcing
There are always potential pitfalls to any approach to business. Examining the possible cons of an outsourced call center isn’t meant to discourage business executives from utilizing them, but rather to prepare decision makers and liaisons for some of the issues that could potentially arise so they can be mitigated.
Here are several possible cons that might spring from the outsourcing process:
Outsourced call center agents could lack detailed knowledge of your business operations
The risk with any outsourced business process is that staff might not have the proper connection with the product or service and lack the firsthand knowledge of an individual company’s nuances. However, training programs for call centers are very robust, and executives from a company can participate in the creation of training materials as well as deliver in-person training sessions if desired to maximize the agents’ understanding of the company’s bottom line.
There is a chance of cultural and language barriers in agent-customer interactions
This is an issue that might feel more prescient than it actually is, but there is nonetheless a chance that agents operating from a different country could have different speaking patterns and accents that are more difficult for native English speakers to understand over the phone. However, there are excellent voice training sessions that many call centers employ to help with pronunciations and semantics that more closely mirror the native tongue of the clientele.
Outsourced call centers could lose synergy with other departments
There is a possibility of losing the in-house benefits of a team of customer service agents highly connected with multiple departments when a call center is not on-site or even in the same country. However, proper methods of contact, consultations, and checkins can reduce or eliminate this issue.
Taking proper measures to maximize the benefits of a call center outsourcer can return amazing results, including revenue savings and increases as well as higher customer satisfaction.