call-center-outsourcing

Call Center Outsourcing: Score or Flop?

Call Center

,According to research by Avaya Research global business process and call center outsourcing has been growing at over 10% a year since 2005.

That means that the outsourcing industry has seen double-digit growth for more than a decade! This is an almost unprecendented level of growth in a business that was mostly flat until the rise of the Ecommerce.

With so many companies deciding to outsource their call centers and customer service needs, you may be considering doing the same.

There are a lot of different options when it comes to outsourcing your customer service calls and a wide variety of different companies in countries all over the world that all provide a very different level of customer support. It can be confusing trying to figure out which companies are good and which aren’t and whether or not you even need to outsource yet or at all.

call-center-outsourcing-score-or-flop

In this article we’re going to be taking a look at what call center outsourcing involves, why it’s important to the future of business, and what the Pros and Cons of outsourcing are.

Let’s get started by defining call center outsourcing. Once the process is clear, it will be easier to decide if this solution is right for you.

Call Center Outsourcing Definition

Call center outsourcing is when you hire an external company, often located outside of the United States to take over as your call center. The external company will train and hire the employees who will be providing your customer service as well as provide the software and infrastructure to manage the day-to-day operations.

In addition to outsourcing your entire customer service process you could also individually outsource certain services like sales, or live chat.

Why is it important for your business?

Outsourcing your call center is important for your business because it can allow small businesses to provide comprehensive customer service without the budget necessary for an internal customer service department.

Depending on your business model, outsourcing can also help your business to become more efficient and flexible which will help you to focus on your core tasks. Outsourcing also frees up executives and management to focus on creating value and building the business rather than focusing on tasks that simply maintain.

When should a business consider outsourcing?

There is no one size fits all answer to when or if your business should consider outsourcing your call center. Largely it is going to depend on a cost analysis and whether the money saved or value created by outsourcing makes up for the risks that come along with it.

However you should consider outsourcing your call center if:

  • Answering calls is not central to generating profits
  • Answering calls wastes valuable time and energy that could be better invested
  • It’s less expensive than the in-house option

Now that we’ve discussed some of the reasons why you might want to outsource your call center, let’s discuss the most important benefits and risks, also known as “scores” and “flops”


10 Scores and Flops For Call Center Outsourcing

Score: Lower costs

The first and most obvious benefit to outsourcing your call center is the lower cost. Because you are just employing a service, you reduce the need for overhead and place the cost of training, hiring and maintaining a staff on the service provider. One big mistake companies make when deciding to outsource is not knowing exactly what they are spending for customer service right now.

If you are currently spending $0 on customer service and fulfilling it yourself, you won’t actually be saving money, but you will be freeing up your time to produce value elsewhere which can produce big returns. Make sure you understand whether outsourcing your call center actually is cheaper than your existing customer service solution and if it isn’t you should have a rough idea of how much value will be created by outsourcing this task.

Flop: Overseas Customer Service Agents

Most overseas customer services agents are perfectly capable. However a few bad apples ruin the batch, and a few bad customer service experiences can ruin your entire business. Overseas customer service agents may be speaking in their second or third best language when handling your customer service issues. Some customers simply prefer speaking to someone in the same city, state or country. Issues can arise when you outsource your call centers, especially if you outsource with a less than outstanding company.

Score: Less staffing issues

One of the best benefits of outsourcing your call center with a company like Aircall is that you don’t have to worry about the staffing issues that come with a call center. You don’t have to worry about employees showing up on time, or if someone took a long break or called out sick today.

All of the worry and stress of running the fairly complicated business of a call center is shifted off of you onto the service provider who is an expert at running a call center. So not only do you get to remove dealing with staffing issues from your to-do list, you also get access to a call center being run by someone whose only job is to run a call center.

Score: 24/7 support

Another big benefit of outsourcing your call center is 24/7 support. If you have an in-house customer service team, chances are they work during the normal business hours of 9-5. This is especially true if you live in a country like the US or the UK where wages are high. Running a 24-hour call center could be prohibitively expensive for a small or growing company. Outsourcing changes all of that by moving the call center to a different country with lower cost of doing business.

Flop: Lower Customer Satisfaction

According to the Wall Street Journal outsourcing can lead to lower customer satisfaction. The reasons listed are difficulty understanding the customer service agent, a lack of familiarity with the product, being transferred multiple times to different people, and more. There are plenty of companies that have outsourced their call centers and not had lower customer satisfaction but those generally had a greater understanding of their customers and hired the correct company to provide the outsourcing as well as keeping up to date with how customer service is being handled.

Score: Overflow solutions

Many businesses believe they need to handle their calls either entirely in-house or outsource everything across seas. The truth is there is a whole range of other solutions in the middle. These can provide affordable solutions to your customer service issues. One of these solutions is to outsource your overflow of customer service during busy times to an overseas service provider.

Having a preset arrangement with an outsourcing company can allow you to handle overflow volume. For example if every week you get a ton of calls Friday afternoon, you could create an agreement with an outsourcing company to handle every call or social media request over a certain number. Your customers would be sure to get faster wait times as well as better support without you having to add staff.

Flop: Lack of familiarity with the business or product

A well-run call center should eliminate the issue of agents unfamiliar with your product or service. This lack of knowledge results in numerous bad customer service experiences, which can haunt your business.

Even worse, unknowledgeable customer service agents are likely to be unable to provide the help that your customers need. Many customers could end up being unsatisfied with your business as well as your customer service.

Think about it like this, someone buys a piece of furniture and can’t assemble it. They call customer service. If the agent isn’t familiar with the item, the customer will end up saying the furniture was poorly made.

People tend to blame the business as a whole. You want to make sure any call center you outsource to will train their employees on your business. It’s also a good idea to periodically call your own customer service line to see if the agents are actually on the up and up. Disreputable centers only train some of the agents and use others as freelancers around the call center.

Score: Enhanced monitoring

The call center’s only job is to provide customer service for your clients. They usually have enhanced monitoring which allows you to get all sorts of interesting insight into your customer’s needs. This enhanced monitoring data can be extremely useful in refining your product or services in order to prevent future complaints. This will allow you to turn more of your attention to the inner workings of your organization.

Flop: Increased security risk

Almost all call centers use robust data security tools. Yet the more people you give access to customer data, the bigger the risk of a leak. Outsourcing by definition adds more people to your customer service team. While you should be mindful of all increased security risks, not all of them can be nullified. There is simply an inherent risk in building your business, especially if you operate online. Be sure to ask questions about the security protocols the call center is using. Ask about what background checks or security checks they use in their hiring process.

Flop: Decreased authority

The last risk I want to discuss is the risk of decreased authority. This is related to customer service agents who are unfamiliar with your business or products. When you outsource, the authority of customer’s interlocutor weakens with every person added to the chain.

This could lead to customers feeling less comfortable with your business, earning you a bad reputation. The way to counteract this loss of authority is to train the team extremely well from the get-go.

Wow, that was a lot of information!

Outsourcing your call center can be a good idea, but it is tricky.

In summary, call center outsourcing is essentially hiring an external company to take over your customer service calls.

We’ve debated its importance for your business. It frees up your time to focus on issues more central to the success of your business.

We also looked at when a business should consider outsourcing. This will vary from business to business, but these guidelines will help you make an informed decision:

  • Answering calls is not central to generating profits
  • Answering calls wastes valuable time and energy that could be better invested
  • It’s less expensive than the in-house option

Lastly we looked at 5 flops and 5 score to outsourcing your call center.

The flop included:

  • Overseas customer service agents
  • Lower customer satisfaction
  • Lack of familiarity with the business or products
  • Increased security risks
  • Decreased authority

The score were:

  • Lower costs
  • Less staffing issues
  • 24/7 support
  • Overflow solutions
  • Enhanced monitoring

You now have all the information needed to decide whether outsourcing your call center is for you. Besides, if you need more help we’re always here for you!

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