Smart companies do whatever they can to reduce costs and maximize efficiency. According to a recent Deloitte survey, the number of global companies pursuing cost reduction strategies increased by 28% between 2019 and 2020.
By keeping costs low, businesses are able to invest more in other areas of the company that enhance value and productivity.
One cost-efficient strategy many companies leverage is call center outsourcing. With call center outsourcing, a third-party provider will fully manage and oversee your call center and customer service operations, helping you mitigate costs and improve service quality.
So, if you’re wondering how to hire a call center, keep reading. In this post, we cover everything that you need to know before hiring a call center.
When you outsource your call center to a qualified provider, your business can benefit from a range of services to help improve customer satisfaction and boost revenue generation. These services include:
- Lead Generation
- Upselling / Cross Selling Products and Services
- Customer Service Support
- Multilingual Support
- Inbound & Outbound Call Services
- After Hours Support
- Appointment Setting
- Tech Support
- Conducting Market Research
- And more
Although many providers offer a range of services, not every provider will be right for you – and it’s important to choose an outsourcing partner who can meet your organization’s specific needs.
With that said, it’s easy to spend valuable time inquiring, assessing, comparing, and negotiating with call center outsourcing providers, which can be especially frustrating if you’re trying to determine whether outsourcing is even a good fit for you.
To begin, here’s a list of steps that will significantly reduce the amount of time you spend scoping out providers:
- Don’t wait until you NEED help
While most providers can ramp up quickly, it’s important to allow enough time to get your organization up-to-speed, adapt any internal processes, and avoid feeling rushed or overwhelmed.
- Do a deep dive and look online
Conduct a Google search, visit potential providers’ websites, check out their social media profiles, and read other resources they have available online such as blogs, white papers, and thought leadership to help determine if a provider is a right fit for you.
- Read 3rd party reviews
Get unbiased information about potential outsourcing providers from their employees and clients on websites like Glassdoor or Clutch.io.
- Ask for case studies and references
Once you’ve narrowed down your selection, ask for information about their experiences like case studies, or client references.
- Avoid one-size-fits-all models
These seemingly instant solutions come with plenty of hidden professional service fees for anything that falls outside a provider’s basic scope. To keep costs predictable, choose a provider who takes the time to assess your needs and provide you with a custom quote upfront.
- Don’t sacrifice quality for a low cost
Outsourcing services are not commodities – like most things, you get what you pay for. Hiring a call center already significantly reduces your business costs, so it’s important to make your selection based on a provider’s alignment with your goals, proven experience, capable infrastructure, and ability to delight and support your customers.
Common Terms & Definitions
If you’re thinking about hiring a call center, it’s vital to have a basic understanding of call center jargon. For U.S. companies, here are a few terms to help during outsourcing discussions:
- Call Center: An on-site, virtual, or hybrid facility or department that works exclusively with large volumes of calls.
- Inbound Call Center: Typically managed by support teams who handle incoming calls to help customers solve product or service issues.
- Answering Service: The narrowest of inbound call center functions where agents answer calls and relay messages on behalf of a business.
- Outbound Call Center: Typically managed by sales teams who make outbound sales calls for lead generation, to sell a product or service, or collect feedback.
- Hybrid Call Center: Combines both inbound and outbound call center services.
- Domestic: Refers to a call center located in the U.S.
- Nearshore: Refers to a call center located outside, but in close proximity to the U.S. Common call center locations include Mexico and Central America.
- Offshore: Refers to a call center in a different country. Common locations include the Philippines and India.
It’s important to note that the terms ‘call center’ and ‘contact center’, while commonly exchanged, are not the same. Understanding the differences between a call center and a contact center is critical because services often differ.
5 Pros of Hiring a Call Center
1. Mitigate Costs
One primary reason businesses outsource their call center is because it reduces sales and support costs effectively. When operational infrastructure, overhead, and labor costs are outsourced to an external service team, the savings can be significant. Learn more about call center outsourcing pricing here.
2. Improve Flexibility
Call spikes and high volume leads to long hold times. Long hold times lead to unhappy customers. Outsourcing allows you to scale up or down quickly as needed.
Top outsourced call centers leverage advanced technology such as AI-powered solutions that are scalable for the future and enhance the customer experience at every touchpoint.
With AI, you can automate repetitive, low-level tasks, which helps to increase productivity and provides live call center agents with more time to focus on high-value interactions.
3. Eliminate Staffing Issues
Managing a call center, interviewing, hiring, and training agents consume valuable time and resources. When you hire a call center to handle everything for you, it saves your company time, money, and headaches.
4. Increase Availability
Outsourcing call volumes and customer service functions will keep your customers supported 24/7/365 at a price that won’t break the bank.
5. Enhance Customer Support
With 100% uptime, multiple servers, cloud-based backups, multiple redundancies, and dedicated staff, hiring a call center gives you peace of mind knowing your customers are supported at all times.
4 Cons of Hiring a Call Center
1. Nearshore or offshore communication barriers
When outsourcing nearshore or offshore, there may be language barriers on the phone that impact resolution times and customer experiences. Consider outsourcing to a domestic provider to avoid these types of complications.
2. Decreased control of business functions
When outsourcing call center operations to an external provider, maintaining alignment on operations and monitoring quality assurance can be challenging. Speak with your provider about a communication and reporting model that works best for your business.
3. Lack of company or product knowledge
If not given the proper training materials, outsourced call center agents are often unfamiliar with a company’s culture, practices, and values. To ensure agents are interacting as a true extension of your brand, talk with your provider about ongoing training.
4. Security and privacy risks
Outsourcing call center operations can present risks to security and privacy that include lack of agent background screening and non-compliant technology. To ensure your customer’s data and privacy is secure, choose a provider that conducts formal background checks and possesses all security and compliance certifications.
Humach: A Best of Both Worlds Call Center Partner
The industry has come a long way since the early 2000s, when cold calling, telemarketing, and offshore obstacles became synonymous with outsourcing. However, if shifting call center operations overseas seems enticing but still isn’t worth the risk, you should consider a simpler, more cost-effective solution.
Outsourcing to a domestic provider with virtual capabilities, secure cloud-based technology, and a global network of remote agents can be a “best of both worlds” solution that allows you to reap all the pros of outsourcing while steering clear of the cons.
The good news is, whether you’re looking for a call center for hire or you just want to learn more about your options – you’re in the right place.
For over 30 years, it’s been our mission to provide call center services that transform brands, support teams, and grow businesses. We’re here to answer all your questions and tell you about your options so that you can confidently decide if outsourcing is right for you. Ready to learn more? Contact the experts at Humach today!