<img alt="" src="https://secure.rime8lope.com/156671.png" style="display:none;">
 Close
Call Center Outsourcing Companies: 5 Things to Expect From Your Vendor

By: Greg Alcorn on January 24th, 2019

Print/Save as PDF

Call Center Outsourcing Companies: 5 Things to Expect From Your Vendor

Contact Center Management

Once you have decided to outsource your company’s contact center activities to someone else, the research begins. You will find that there are many vendors out there, but that doesn’t mean that all, or even most of them, will be a good match for your organization. Aside from more subjective strengths and weaknesses, outsourcing call centers can differ on very objective measures like their choice of business models – and that can have a lasting impact on your company’s success.

Before you commit to working with a call center outsourcing company, make sure that the firm is the right partner. See how they fulfill this list of things you should expect from your vendor.

 

Right Fit

It can be tempting to evaluate potential call center outsourcing vendors by comparing them on the basis of price and services offered, but don’t. While those factors are important, you need to dig a little deeper to find the vendor that is going to be the best fit for your company.

Start by looking at key performance indicators. If you want a contact center that is centered on customer support, your vendor shouldn’t be talking about revenue goals. Likewise, if you want a sales-driven call center, the right vendor is going to talk numbers not call volume.

Then, go deeper. Certain measures, like call volumes or handle times, are industry standards, but you need more than a bare minimum of service to deliver the type of customer service experience that keeps them coming back for more. Before you decide about a call center outsourcing company, spend some time sharing some of your business objectives and seeing how that vendor responds to those priorities. The right vendor will listen and propose solutions that echo your goals for your company.

 

Right Size

Be wary of any call center outsourcing vendor that attempts to sell you a bundled number of customer service agents to work on behalf of your company. You want to make sure your customers are being treated well but you also need to keep an eye on the bottom-line. The right vendor will respect that instead of just trying to sell you more services or more agents.

One feature you might see is flexibility. Some call center outsourcing companies have shared facilities in which customer service agents are cross-trained to work on several different projects at once. Because of this flexibility, agents can be added to your project or removed based on your company’s customer service needs – and you only pay for what you use. This way, when you experience a 10-fold call volume during lunch hour, around the holidays, after the launch of a new website, or the debut of a new product, your customers will experience a similar wait time as they would if they called during your slowest periods and vice versa.

Also, consider efficiency. An experienced call center outsourcing company will have certain best practices in place. They will have learned the most effective way to do things because of their exposure to various industries and clients. All that translates into more efficient customer service support for your company – but it shouldn’t stop there. Look for vendors with feedback loops in place so that their performance on your project is continuously improved. At a minimum, your call center outsourcing company should offer quality assurance monitoring to ensure agents are performing adequately and customer feedback systems to make sure your customers are getting exactly what they need and want.

At GCS, we call this F.E.E.D. – Feedback to Each Employee Daily. We use this system to make sure all of our agents are aware of their performance and that they receive the coaching they need to become better. We use F.E.E.D.time to reinforce our clients’ brand messages, refresh program training, and reiterate soft skill effectiveness.

 

Right Technology

The call center outsourcing vendor you choose also needs to have the right technology in place. By this, we mean a few different things. Let’s go over each as this is a critical part in evaluating vendors.

 

Contact Center Systems

In order for your contact center to do its job, there need to be systems in place to facilitate this. How do people call in? Is that the only communication channel supported? In some cases, the contact center system is a single phone number directed to the vendor facility or a web form that offers a callback option. For others, the contact center system is very complex. Calls and connections are routed to specific agents so that a precise level of service can be delivered with minimal transfers Information about the customer might also be forwarded with the call so the agent receiving the request doesn’t have to ask “the same” questions. Know what you are getting.

In addition, you might also want to look for contact center vendors that offer some measure of redundancy so you can avoid customer service downtime. The right vendor practices disaster avoidance and ensures there is always a communication channel available to your customers.

Consider the security of contact center systems as well. For instance, if you accept credit card payments, you might need PCI-DSS compliance or SSAE 18/SOC 1 and 2 audits. Protection from hackers and malware is also important.

 

Communication Equipment

Next, consider the actual telephony equipment. While a given vendor might have the capacity to handle multiple channels of communication, what systems are they using? Are those systems adequate to handle high volumes? If the contact volume for your project exceeds system capacity, what is the game plan for ensuring you have coverage for your customer service lines? Your contact center provider or consultant should be able to identify the best solution for your needs and be able to help you get set up with that solution. They should also be able to articulate whether a cloud or on-premise solution will be best for your needs or advise a hybrid system.

 


The Complete Call Center Outsourcing Guide

Get all your questions on outsourcing your call center answered! 

Learn more


Management Tracking

Whatever systems may be in place, they need to do more than facilitate customer service communications. For effective management of those efforts, they also need to be measured and quantified – and the systems should complete those actions automatically. Measures such as the average time spent on a call, the average wait time, sales revenue generated, and more should be calculated automatically. The information should be fed to a dashboard so managers can monitor the program. This will help managers  keep performance on track and provide better coaching .

 

Workforce Management

Talk to your contact center outsourcing vendor about the type of workforce management techniques they use. Specifically, find out how they handle spikes in demand. Do they pull in agents from different projects to stem the flow or do they take phone numbers and call back your customers when the volume slows down? It is an important difference. Likewise, how do they manage attendance and turnover issues? Do they have a workforce they can leverage or does your project suffer while you wait for the vendor to recruit, hire, and train new agents? Finally, look at how the vendor manages complex situations. Whether the issue is something that its agents are not trained to handle, or it involves an angry customer, you should understand how your vendor handles such difficult situations before you contract a vendor’s services.

 

Self-Help Technology

You should also ask about the self-help technologies a customer service vendor has available. While some contact centers deal directly with the customer as soon as they call in or email, others route those inquiries through automated systems that can perform simple tasks, such as tracking an order, confirming the receipt of a payment, providing store hours, and so on. The latter may significantly lower your cost without sacrificing quality.

 

Right Training

How your customers are treated and how efficiently their problems are resolved often comes down to how well the customer service agents working on your behalf are trained. The best representatives for your company will be able to resolve issues on the first call while still handling large call volumes. They are supported by management that provides regular coaching as well as encouragement and systems that reward strong performance. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential vendor how they train their agents. Also, how many hours do they commit to ongoing training.

 

Right Compliance

Finally, look for a vendor that offers the right compliance for your needs. Regulatory compliance is a major issue. You need to work within the parameters set forth by the federal government as well as state and local agencies. You might also need to consider the process, quality, and security standards set forth by your industry. In addition to legal compliance, there is also regulation in place for specific technologies as well as laws for human resources. You will want to make sure that your call center outsourcing vendor trains and manages the agents that work on behalf of your company with respect to these standards.

Also, consider your company’s own standards. Choose a vendor that monitors call quality and provides consistent feedback so you can rest assured that your customers are receiving the service quality that you expect.

 

Conclusion

Outsourcing your call center could be one of the smartest decisions you will ever make for your company, but it could also be one of the worst if you aren’t careful. Before you decide to contract with a call center outsourcing vendor, do your research. Make sure you are choosing a contact center company that is the right fit for your needs. Select one that can provide the right size of service, with the right technology in place, the right training for its agents, and the right compliance standards.

GCS can help. Have a look at our Complete Call Center Outsourcing Guide to get an idea of what outsourcing can do for you. Understand what goes into developing an outsourcing plan that meets your customer service needs while supporting your greater goals as a company.


The Complete Call Center Outsourcing Guide

Get all your questions on outsourcing your call center answered! 

Learn more