Presenting your customers with a functional resource that they can turn to if they encounter any difficulties in using your products or services is no small feat.
Often enough, providing such a service requires a significant investment in personnel, training, and maintenance, not to mention ongoing management and the software needed to support the process. For companies looking to make their customer support more cost-effective, outsourcing can be a valid course of action. However, there are a number of factors to consider before you resort to this method of streamlining customer interactions. Here, we will cover a few of the primary concerns regarding call center outsourcing as well as a few tips for handling the process more efficiently.
Definition of Call Center Outsourcing
Outsourcing is the use of contracted labor from sources outside of your company. Your company allows another to take over specific functions – usually to enable internal efforts to focus on the company’s core competencies. Outsourced specialists handle non-essential facets of your operations, following instructions given them by your business. This approach balances the cost of in-house functions with external talent to boost your business’s bottom line.
Advantages of Call Center Outsourcing
There are multiple reasons for a company to consider outsourcing as a valid approach to solving their labor concerns. In many cases, outsourcing allows a business to effectively offer its customers services it otherwise would not be financially well-positioned enough to offer or would find outright impossible to provide altogether.
The otherwise impossible becomes quite manageable through outsourcing as costs can be pared down, while efficiency is notably ramped up. By outsourcing certain functions, companies can reduce the cost of in-house operations and re-allocate those funds to other areas, such as product development or marketing. And, by outsourcing to companies with specialized expertise, your business will offer better service to your customers than could be achieves in-house at the same cost.
Pure cost-cutting through offshore outsourcing has taken the backburner in favor of more efficiency-minded objectives, but your business’s bottom line should still be on the radar as good reason to outsource certain functions. The potential for savings using offshore teams and outsourced talent pools can have a powerful impact on your company’s profit margin.
A key feature of adopting an outsourcing model for certain ongoing processes within your business is the flexibility it affords you. As new projects grow and mature, it may become necessary to scale certain facets and talent pools while others are cut or downsized. Outsourcing puts you in a much more strategic position to make strong, incisive budgeting decisions relatively quickly.
Better Service Quality
Thanks to the economy of scale, outsourcing providers can often deliver even greater customer experiences than smaller, more costly in-house teams that specialize in the same tasks. Outsourced teams often possess niche experience and specialized toolsets for handling the types of tasks they offer, reducing costs and streamlining production/performance.
Disadvantages of Call Center Outsourcing
Outsourcing as a process is not without its snags. Thankfully most outsourcing inefficiencies can be mitigated with proper planning before making a decision.
Slower Issue Resolutions
With increased procedural complexities and physical distance between members of your customer service team, individual issues can end up being handled more slowly than before. This problem can be controlled by establishing a clear set of rules for issue escalation and ensuring it is executed as described.
Outsourcing to teams in other territories can lead to a notable difference in the customer experience. Language differences and noticeable accents could negatively impact customer relationships if issues are needlessly complicated on this basis alone. Ensuring the talent pool in charge of handling your workload are well-versed in your customers’ native tongue can help to curb problems with comprehension on both ends.
Expert Call Center Outsourcing Tips
Look for Flexible Providers
Look for providers with the ability to offer competent outsourcing in wider areas of customer service. When you outsource larger portions of the customer lifecycle, it’s easier for your business to be agile where it matters.
Make Customer Satisfaction Your Priority
No matter what outsourcing approach is employed, it is always imperative to keep in mind your customers’ needs and expectations throughout the process.
Your clients don’t necessarily need to know how their needs are being met. They will, however, be quick to notice lapses in efficiency and gaps in the CRM chain.
Decide on ‘What’ Before ‘Who’
It is common for businesses with an interest in incorporating outsourcing into their models to compare their options among the many providers on the market as they define their strategy. However, this approach is usually a backward one worth avoiding.
Instead, aim to determine just what it is your company can and should consider outsourcing – be it CRM, complaints handling or some other aspect – before looking for providers.
Best Practices for Outsourcing Your Call Center
Keep Mission-Critical Concerns In-House
Processes that are especially integral to your company’s well-being should be kept in-house and instead handled with care by a dedicated team of employees. Outsourcing opens the door to issues with regulatory compliance, operational insecurity, and more when it comes to top-secret development plans, core product/service designs, etc.
Define Procedures in Detail
Companies operating in industries with strict compliance requirements should pay close attention to the clarity with which they relay their own procedural imperatives to prospective outsourcing providers. Instructions should be provided in explicit detail for each function you intend to outsource so that it can be handled smoothly.
Call center outsourcing is a complex topic with many factors worth considering before diving in. However, the improvements in service breadth, uptime, costs, and efficiency continue to make it a worthwhile optimization for many business models.
How do you intend to approach outsourcing in your business?