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.
It’s true, the right tools make any job easier. It’s also true our tools must evolve to keep pace with a changing world. That’s especially true in the contact center as channel requirements and customer expectations become more plentiful – and demanding.
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Public companies live in dog years. Well, almost. Dogs age seven years per calendar year. Public companies live FOUR, sometimes painful, quarters per calendar year. Before starting GCS, I was a public company division President and vowed NEVER to live that life again. Every quarter was stressed with “making numbers”, “showing growth”, “getting wins”. Dog years!!
Businesses are always looking for the competitive edge. This requires businesses to stay top-of-mind with clients and potential customers. It’s also about businesses, and their partners, using the latest innovations in both product and service development. Success really is all about being agile. Processes often are repetitive for good reasons. But inefficient processes can wreak havoc on a call center. When a process isn’t working the way it should, we experience increased attrition of talent and customers. The dollar loss can be significant.
Each of our clients is unique, so it makes sense that we would have our own set of “uniquenesses.” We often hear our approach to People, Process and Technology is different from other BPOs.
Businesses are always looking for the competitive edge. After all, in order to keep your customer base it is important to keep your product or service updated. As rapidly as technology can change, it’s imperative to also stay on top of industry trends, pushing your business to the forefront.
One of the most effective ways to determine how your call center’s performance stacks up against other providers in your industry is to track call center KPIs. Many enterprises are satisfied when their call center meets goals that are set internally, and that works to a point. But, the picture can get less than rosy when goals achieved in a vacuum are compared to companies who benchmark against call center industry standards.
When it comes to contact centers, typically labor costs are your most significant expense. You have to get the number of agents right or suffer the consequences. You will erode your profit margins or overspend if you have too many agents scheduled. On the flip side, customer satisfaction could suffer if you don’t have enough people to answer the phones. That leads to lost customers and a dinged reputation. To provide a consistent level of service, many companies go through “right-sizing” to become appropriately staffed. (You may also need to look at which call center model is best for you)
Disasters happen. That’s why there are Disaster Recovery plans. At GCS, we have Disaster Recovery, but we first take the approach of Disaster Avoidance. By understanding why disasters happen, you can build process and systems to prevent them from ever having an impact on your center performance.
Setting up a call center or reconfiguring an existing call center can be as simple as installing phone systems and cubicles in whatever configuration fits in your space, but that won’t get your company the results it wants. The only way you can make your contact center successful is to set it up from a process AND design standpoint. The thing is, call centers are all about the people that work IN them. Ideally, you need a facility that is as functional as it is pleasant. A well-designed call center will inspire your agents to do their best work and help them get there with the right technology and functionality. It also needs to be a place where they feel safe. And it needs to be clean. Of course, all of that is easier said than done. In this article, we will highlight some of our best practices, so you can understand how GCS designs call center process and flow for success. Let’s get started.
We speak with a lot of people whose core business is NOT contact centers and they often struggle because they don’t quite know enough to understand what information they are lacking? Or, maybe they have an idea that something is wrong, a process could be better, their team could do more? In all cases they are ready to make a change, but they aren’t sure where to start.
Thinking about outsourcing your contact center? Here’s everything you need to consider before you start the process. At GCS, we help companies like yours set up call center outsourcing every day. Sometimes, these businesses are growing too fast for them to scale their customer service needs to meet the demand. Other times, they have had a contact center provider in place, but they worried that they were not getting their money’s worth or they were unhappy with the level of customer care. Sometimes they are looking to control or reduce cost with better management and technology. Whatever the case may be, your first priority in contact center outsourcing is to find a vendor that can meet your parameters. Let’s look at these considerations in turn.
Successful call center management involves more than overseeing the productivity of customer advocates and making sure that customers have their issues resolved – and that fact may be one of the best reasons for you to outsource your contact center activities to a vendor. The right company will partner with you to help you achieve your customer-centric goals, by putting the right attitudes on the phone. The right partner could abolish all of your human resources worries and facility issues while giving you the flexibility to meet changes in customer volume or demand. Let’s look at some common call center management models and explore some of the ways that contact center vendors fulfill those needs and help you ensure successful call center management.
Once you make a decision to outsource or contract out your call center activities, you have a choice to make. You will need to decide what type of agent you want working on behalf of your company. You can achieve your required service levels with any configuration. However, the type of call center outsourcing services you choose will shape the pricing of the service. It influences how calls are handled, the cost of extended customer support hours, and the level of service your agents can provide. The term “outsourcing” has become a scapegoat this political season. But beyond the political hype, it is important to understand the long term benefits of outsourcing. AND it doesn't have to mean sending jobs outside your community. There are three basic types of call center representatives. Some agents are dedicated to your project exclusively while others are blended or shared. In this article, we are going to review each one in turn and discuss how opting for one support model over another will impact your business.
One of your biggest challenges in adding successful call center services to your operations is setting up the facility. There’s a lot of upfront time and capital investment in the set-up of the physical space for your facility. Even if you already have a contact center, it could be failing because you didn’t know how to set up a successful contact center in the first place. At GCS, some of the common problems we see are choosing the wrong location, building a facility that is too small, and picking the wrong combination of technology to balance the needs of your customers and your organization.
Call center workforce management is a helpful tool for scheduling and supervision. Thanks to the nature of the business and technology in general, call center managers have an unprecedented amount of information about their agents’ activities and the call volume they receive. This information can give them an opportunity to truly excel, but only if they are paying attention to the data.
What do you think of when you hear the word “outsourcing”? Many of our clients tell us that while they knew that other companies outsourced some of their services to outside vendors, to them, the practice always seemed impersonal – until they got to know GCS.
Call coaching is one of the most powerful tools in your call center operations management toolkit. You can take all the performance measurements and analytics you want, but if you aren’t actively coaching your staff to be better, you can’t be surprised when they miss the mark. Your agents will be more engaged and more effective when you take the time to help them improve, instead of demanding results and not explaining how to get there.
Managing a call center requires a solid knowledge of business management concepts, but it also takes something more. Call centers are like nothing else. They are high-volume and customer facing, and they have their own unique set of challenges because of that. To be effective, you need management that knows how to produce at elevated volumes while providing effective customer service. We call this “sanity” - doing the same thing over and over and expecting the SAME result. For each call, a personalized result. One million calls, one person at a time.
Being a customer service agent can be hard work. While helping customers all day is not often a hard task, it does take a special person to do it well. While many customers your agents encounter in a given day are simply looking for information, others will have a problem or an issue that needs to be resolved. Your agents need to have the personality and training to be the customer advocate. They need to be able to remain calm in the face of conflict, empathetic in the face of anger, and friendly even when your customers aren’t making it easy. Choosing the right people to work on your behalf is essential – but it’s not the only challenge.
Building a successful business takes more than a good business idea. You need to have the right people to support your vision, execute your plans, and work with your customers. The problem arises when you know you need to fill specific roles, but you do not know enough about the job function to make a good hire. That disconnect can cost you, big.
Call center management can be complicated. We approach it as an upside-down organization chart. The Agent is the most important person because they have direct contact with the customer. They will do the most to impact your brand with the customer. Meanwhile, the Supervisor is the most influential person because they influence the performance of the Agent on a daily basis. Their style and approach provides a safe environment for the Agent to connect with the customer. Depending on the program, a supervisor manages between 7 and 15 agents under their care. They need to manage, support, coach, and supervise their team. They are responsible for achieving the performance that delivers the Service Levels required by the customer. Our process and procedures are there to provide the path for success and ensure we get a consistent result with each customer engagement.
The decision to outsource your contact center is not one that you as a company should ever take lightly. It is a major decision – after all, you are trusting a part of your business and its operations to another company. Your contact center is often the first line of communications your business has with first-time buyers and customers who have had an issue with your products or services. Choose the wrong call center outsourcing company and it could miss the opportunity to grow your relationship and reputation with your customers.
Outsourcing your call center could be the smartest decision you ever make, but only if you take the time to plan it out. While your call center outsourcing vendor will handle most of the legwork for you, there are certain variables that you as a company should decide upon first. It is important that you have a framework of a call center staffing plan that fits your business needs today while setting you up for success tomorrow. After all, it is your business on the line and only you know the objectives you want your customer service operations to have.
Deciding to outsource your call center activities is a smart way to keep your focus on what really matters – running your business! But, it only works if you choose the right vendor. If you aren’t careful, you could end up with more headaches than the outsourcing is worth. In this article, we will share the call center outsourcing best practices that lead to the most successful contact center projects. We will also go over a few red flags to look out for at the beginning of a project as well. Taken together, they can help keep your outsourcing project on the right path.
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.
You don’t need to settle for a one-size-fits-all solution to staff your call center. While outsourcing all or part of your contact center staffing can be a turnkey operation, you need to choose the staffing model best suited for your needs.
Call center staffing is critical to the success of your contact center. Whether you are hiring for inbound customer service or outbound sales, people make the difference. They impact the customer experience; they also impact your company budget. By how much will depend on the way you chose to structure your call center operations.