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The abundance of companies focusing on call center services tells us one thing – most companies suck at customer service. When customer satisfaction is not a priority, a competitor can take over, leaving you with higher costs and lower sales. Great thing there’s outsourcing. If you are considering call center outsourcing, do read on.
This guide aims to discuss the following:
- What is Call Center Outsourcing?
- What Services Can You Outsource to Call Center?
- Advantages of Contact Center Outsourcing
- Disadvantages of Contact Center Outsourcing
- How Much Does Outsourcing to Call Center Cost?
- How Can Outsourcing A Call Center Increase Profits?
- Is Outsourcing Customer Service A Good Idea?
- How to Hire the Right Call Center Company For You
Call Center Outsourcing Guide
What is Call Center Outsourcing?
Outsourcing a call center involves subcontracting customer care services and sales-related tasks to a service provider. A call center provider handles all customer requests, from inquiries, and bookings to refunds, inbound to outbound, catering to businesses of all shapes and sizes.
All this while giving you hiring and training of agents and providing real-time reports with the use of sophisticated call center technology. Outsourcing a call center is possible through onshoring, nearshoring, and offshoring.
What Services Can You Outsource to a Call Center?
Call centers offer inbound and outbound call center solutions. Inbound call center services help you with incoming messages from customers. Things like inquiry handling about a product or service, returns or refunds, reservation and booking, and other customer service-related concerns. The benefits under inbound are:
- Voice services
- Non-voice services
Outbound call center services assist business owners in making calls by generating leads to sell products or services, disseminating information, conducting market research or survey, setting appointments, outsourcing telemarketing, and collecting debts. The benefits of outbound are:
- Market research
- Data collection
Anything initiated through calls belongs to voice accounts. Chat and email services fall under non-voice call center operations. Contact center outsourcing can be a short-term or a long-term partnership. You can hire a call center during the holidays or after advertising your product or service. If you want to keep it as a regular part of your business operations, signing a long-term deal with a call center is probably best.
Advantages of Contact Center Outsourcing
Like everything in this world, outsourcing has its benefits and drawbacks. By becoming aware of those things, you minimize your business risks. At the same time, it is one way of achieving the full potential of this business activity.
Enhanced customer service
Good customer service requires a lot of empathy, understanding, and patience. BPO companies train call center agents to deal with different types of customers with various temperaments, needs, and concerns.
Outsourced call center services can help you hire a sales team for lead generation, telemarketing, telesales, and appointment setting. Telemarketing companies can act on your Telemarketing campaigns faster and cheaper.
The labor market rate in the 3rd world English-speaking countries is lower compared to other countries. By paying a quarter of the cost for the same service quality, you can allocate your resources to the development of your business.
Mitigate business risks
A mutual risk-sharing agreement comes with outsourcing. It guarantees that you wouldn’t carry the burden alone when something goes wrong.
Improve employee efficiency
As their role implies, call center agents can focus on taking and making calls. Call centers follow established quality assurance processes. It makes sure that the agents meet your desired KPIs.
All-day business operation
Call center companies operate 24/7 to ensure your business never misses an opportunity or ruins a customer relationship. A 24/7 operation becomes possible through a strategic shifting schedule approach.
Disadvantages of Call Center Outsourcing
You might encounter These possible drawbacks with offshore call center services outsourcing. It is essential to know these as early as possible to prepare an alternative plan of action in case things go out of hand.
Given that you are transferring your customer service or sales functions to a third-party company, expect you’ll have less control over these processes. What should you do? Maintain regular communication with your offshore team to track your campaign’s progress.
Security and privacy issues
One of the elements that keep business owners from outsourcing is information leakage. What should you do? To ensure your information assets are safe, choose a service provider that complies with international security standards such as ISO 27001, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS.
Linguistic and cultural barriers
Customers prefer to speak with someone who has the same accent and understands their culture. What should you do?
Choose a company that trains its agents to neutralize their accents. For example, most Philippine schools — grade school until tertiary level — teach students about the importance and rules of the English language. This explains why Filipinos don’t have a hard time perfecting their accents. Aside from this aspect, the Philippines also has a rich cultural background due to the long history of colonization in the country. Agents can learn the nuances of their client’s culture within a shorter time frame.
Sometimes, what you see isn’t what you get. Be careful of companies that do not show you everything that you need to pay so they would appear cheaper than other companies. Instead of saving money, you could be spending more. What should you do? Be blunt about asking them if there are charges they haven’t written down in the contract.
Insufficient company knowledge
Insufficient knowledge about your company, service, or product can negatively affect customer experience. It would make your customers think that your staffs are incompetent. What should you do? Find a call center company that provides regular accent and product training to their agents.
Expectations in Outsourcing for 2022 and Beyond
The pandemic has opened many avenues of improvement in how outsourcing in the Philippines runs. For instance, the WFH setup has shown a new way to remain efficient despite the unstable economy. Of course, the uncharted territory of the WFH setup put others to adapt seamlessly while others struggle. It provided these benefits as well:
- Flexible scheduling and improved work-life balance
- Business continuity and improved contingency planning
- Reduction in carbon footprint for the company’s employees
- Improved employee engagement and retention
While the following pain points also emerged and are now a concern for most companies. Here are the following concerns:
- The difference in performance between WFH staff and in-house employees and the overall business performance
- The turnover of employees between WFH and in-house employees remains at the same levels
- A slight difference in cost for a WFH setup vs. in-house operations
- Challenges in a WFH setup from connectivity issues, space concerns, etc
- Employee isolation increases their detachment from the company’s core values and culture
How Much Does Call Center Outsourcing Cost?
Call center pricing varies from so many variables. Always remember that price alone does not guarantee the quality of service you can get. Saving is a good idea if it does not compromise the result. You should always ask yourself, “Is it worth my price?”Several factors determine the price of a particular service. In general, these are the main elements that you have to consider:
- The number of seats. This refers to the size of the team that you plan to outsource.
- Agent expertise. It ranges from Levels 1-3. Level 1 – answers basic questions, Level 2 – deals with more complex subject matter, and Level 3 – is the advanced level.
- Labor market rate. The cost of labor in a specific place.
- Length of contract. It can either be a short-term or a long-term agreement.
- Call Volume—the average call count per week. Typical lower volume for business-to-business, but it’s a different story when it’s business consumers.
- Average handling time (AHT). The average duration of each call is quite the opposite for call volume.
- Add-ons. It can be a business continuity program, specialized training, or infrastructure.
Another thing that you need to consider is the pricing model of your engagement with the call center provider: fully managed, co-managed, and per hour of calls answered.
How Can an Outsourced Call Center Increase Profits?
For over a decade now, outsourcing has become a go-to process for every business because of its benefits. So how does it help you in making profits?
- It helps you save on resources — money, time, effort, and equipment.
- Outsourcing solutions cost comparably lower than neighboring countries that provide the same service.
- A good call center company can improve customer engagement, customer care, retention, and acquisition performance.
- You can use the outbound services it offers to generate interest from your target audiences or proactively sell your product or service.
Is Outsourcing Customer Service A Good Idea?
Yes. Many companies today — even those of the Fortune 500 — outsource some of their business processes. It can be your partner for growth. It can bring your business tons of benefits.
Overall, outsourcing will depend on your business needs right at this moment. Before looking for an outsourcing company, you must assess your internal capacities and concerns.
But if you’re done you’re step and ready to step into outsourcing, we hope the information you read here can help you in your search.
Here are some signs that might tell you that you should.
- Budget concerns. Do you need to reduce operational costs to give way to other business development projects? Do you have insufficient funds to maintain an in-house team? Is the economy in your country suffering, making it challenging to keep and hire new employees?
- Productivity problems. Is your business getting bigger, and you struggle with administrative tasks? Are you and your employees starting to lose focus on your core business functions? Has it become a challenge to meet deadlines?
- Need for specialized skills. Is it challenging to look for talents who meet your required skills? Do you need someone knowledgeable in dealing with different customer personality types? Are you expanding to another market that speaks another language?
It is essential to define your problems first clearly. If you’re a store owner, list all the areas you can get help with. Meanwhile, if you’re a small to medium business owner, sit down with all the key decision-makers in your company. Discuss the current situation and the challenges that you are facing. After that, identify if outsourcing a call center can benefit your company in the long run.
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