You can only reap the benefits of outsourcing to the Philippines if you have a reliable call center partner. You might even have to go through more than one service provider before you find the best fit for your company.
However, there are steps you can take to make sure that you get it right the first time around.
1. Draft service level agreements (SLAs) and a request for proposal (RFP)
Once you’ve decided that you want to outsource to a Philippine call center, make an initial draft of SLAs to give prospective service providers. This gives them an idea as to what you’re looking for in a call enter, as well as what you expect from them should you decide to offer them the contract. The RFP should discuss, in detail, all your call center requirements. Send the draft of your SLAs along with the RFP to candidates when you’re ready to proceed to the selection process.
2. Pre-qualify prospective call centers
Look into their background, business infrastructure, previous or current accounts, and portfolio. It would also be ideal for you to make on-site visits, just so you see how they operate on a day-to-day basis. If they say that they can get the job done, and have about three solid referrals, consider sending them the RFP.
3. Negotiate the final SLA
When you’ve narrowed your options down, negotiate the final SLA to make sure that you’re on the same page as the service provider. Include incentives for high levels of performance, as well as repercussions for non-compliance. More importantly, include measureable standards with which you can gauge adherence. Though negotiating and drafting the final SLA can be tedious, it is a valuable document that both you and the service provider can go back to when discussing compliance or performance-related issues.
4. Go easy on the pricing
Outsourcing to the Philippines is a great way of reducing costs. The country’s call center industry is fairly saturated, which gives service providers the incentive to offer competitive rates. However, it would benefit you more to prioritize the service provider’s expertise and capacity to perform. That said, check out the conversion rate of the Philippine peso vs the U.S. dollar:
How to Deal With Call Center Vendors
But what if you still experience problems with the service provider despite having conducted a thorough selection process? There are still measures you can take to remedy issues with performance. Here’s what you can do before your outsourcing relationship turns completely sour:
• Give them a firm reminder to comply with the SLA
This is where the SLA comes into play. You can hold the call center accountable to the provisions of this document, since these are conditions that both parties have agreed on.
• Get involved in screening, hiring, and assessing call center agents on-site
The Philippines has a large talent pool of agents with varied levels of experience in call center work. If you feel that offshore team doesn’t quite fit the bill, feel free to get involved in the hiring process so you can screen talent first-hand.
• Send your own call center manager to the service provider’s site
Philippine callcenters take charge of managing your offshore team. However, you can send your own manager to the site if you want give them additional support.
• Send your own trainers
Similarly, Philippine call centers have a pool of trainers who make sure that agents have the necessary skills, and that they are oriented on your brand. If you want them to refresh their skills with your in-house trainers, you may send them to the site.
• Conduct daily meetings
Daily meetings can help you review the team’s performance on a daily basis. This also lets you monitor your offshore team’s activities, so that you can see what they were able to get done for that particular day.
• Offer financial incentives
This will require you to dish out additional cash. However, the benefits of giving financial incentives to your offshore team can outweigh the costs.
These measures can help you strengthen your relationship with your Philippine service provider, as well as guide you through rough patches when there are fluctuations in performance. Take these ideas into consideration if you’re thinking of throwing in the towel on your service provider. But as with most things, prevention is better than cure, and a thorough selection process should help minimize potential issues with performance.
If we make finding a call center partner sound over-complex, it’s because it is if you don’t know the steps. Contact us.