4 Great Questions Before Switching Your Contact Center Vendor
At GCS, we evaluate each new program with an understanding of what problems you encounter with your current outsourced contact center or call center program. We often hear, “Oh yeah, I wish I had considered that before I signed the contract.” The best way to avoid making a mistake again is to think about these factors before it is time to renew.
How has the scope of the project changed?
To get what you need from your call center, it is critical that you talk through and eventually outline the statement of work and SLA expectations from the onset in your RFP. Define the quality of service you need to keep your customers satisfied. You and your BPO provider should set KPIs with specific standards and benchmarks against which to measure.
During the renewal period of your contract, one thing to consider is how the scope of the contract has changed since it was last signed. Was the current partner the best fit based on your organization’s previous needs? Now that your needs have changed, do you need to consider switching contact center partners?
Do you fear of change?
Clients are often fearful of making the wrong decision when switching call centers. They are concerned they may make a mistake. Or that a new call center will take too long to on-board - resulting in downtime for their call center. Often they figure the current partner is doing an okay job on some areas of the relationship but not all. Why settle for okay?
If the fear factor is limiting your ability to make the switch, consider outsourcing a portion of your program. In sticking with the familiar, you risk never improving your current program. Take the opportunity to test new partners. The Champion vs. Challenger model is perfect for challenging your internal call center or current provider to determine if you are getting the best value.
Several of our partnerships have started this way. Having a fresh set of eyes to offer a new perspective on your program allows for friendly competition and gives you the flexibility to see what other outsourcing options exist with little risk.
Are you communicating?
Are you communicating with your call center partner regularly? As you begin to evaluate the relationship, look back at the effectiveness of the communication between you and your call center partner. Have you scheduled regular reviews to evaluate performance and did they lead to improvement?
If you are considering a switch, talk with your current partner about the project’s shortcomings and how they can be fixed. It can be enlightening to understand what is and is not working and why. Revisit the original contract and re-strategize. Set a period of time to evaluate the changes in the new strategy. Communication should be continuous from daily updates to weekly and monthly reports to more structured quarterly reviews. If your contact center performance is not CONTINUALLY improving, it is time to switch.
Who should be on my shortlist of considerations?
You can always start your search online. Another option is to reach out to colleagues in your industry for references. Finding the right call center partner takes time. As we mentioned previously the Champion Challenger model is a great way to evaluate potential long-term partnership while limiting risk.
Once you have a list of vendors, set-up a consultation to talk through your requirements and expectations for the project. It’s amazing what you can learn in a phone call that may not be communicated on a website or in emails.
Ask for references! It’s best to get a first-hand account from those already using the services. Existing and previous clients provide insight into the relationship you can expect.
Key questions to ask references:
- What reputation do they have in the industry?
- Are they certified and compliant with the necessary regulations?
- How well do they communicate the performance of the program?
- What are the challenges of working with the BPO?
- Where there any hidden costs?
- What is involved in the training and onboarding of new customer service representatives?
- What was the length of the relationship?
- Would you renew your contract with this vendor?
Your shortlist should not solely be based on the cost of service.
When considering a switch, it's time to face your fear. Communicate with your existing vendor on how you can improve performance. Look for opportunities to test new partners. Evaluate your shortlist and create a pro/con list for each vendor.
Here are more resources on what to consider when outsourcing:
Don’t let fear stop you from taking the next step. Let us help you make the switch - schedule a 20-minute consultation here.