WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO OUTSOURCING CONTACT CENTER SERVICES?
Outsourcing benefits include lower costs, increased efficiency, more consistent delivery, process standardization, better customer experience, flexibility, rapid scalability. Business process outsourcing helps fast-growing companies sustain growth and remain competitive. Here are 7 reasons why companies may want to outsource your contact center services as well as some points on the value of business process outsourcing (BPO).
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PITFALLS TO OUTSOURCING AND HOW DO I AVOID THEM?
Some pitfalls include miscommunication, lack of oversight, agent skill level issues, inconsistent delivery, lack of innovation and security concerns. Communication issues include misunderstanding of accepted practices and policies, setting expectations and managing the relationship. Many companies have developed departments like the Vendor Management Office (VMO), which have improved communications with their BPO providers. Here are some other pitfalls of outsourcing and how to avoid them.
HOW DO I EVALUATE CONTACT CENTER OR BPO PARTNERS?
Start with the location. Where will the BPO service be delivered from? Your next priority is to define how you want to interact with your BPO provider – will you be hands-on and communicate frequently or would you rather “set it and forget it”? Lastly, choose a firm that is compatible with your corporate culture. Here is a quick and helpful infographic for how to choose the right call center outsourcing partner. You can also view our full BPO guide here.
WHEN SHOULD I OUTSOURCE (BUSINESS PROCESSES, CUSTOMER CARE, TECHNICAL SUPPORT, ETC)?
Ask yourself, is service our core competency? Or have we reached a point in our growth trajectory where scaling support teams will take focus away from our main mission? When it becomes crucial to focus on your growth strategy and reducing costs it’s time to outsource your business process, customer care, and tech support. One of the first signs that you might be in trouble is that you are experiencing spikes in call volume or consistent call overflow that lead to long customer wait times that will negatively impact your service quality. Another sign could be that you are experiencing growth and having difficulty scaling or increasing staff for ancillary functions like HR, IT, training, finance and quality control teams. For the full set of signs that you need to outsource, check out “When is the right time to outsource?”
HOW DO I CREATE A BUSINESS CASE FOR OUTSOURCING?
You need to have a clear understanding of what you are spending to provide a service to compare to the cost of outsourcing. Next, consider the top two factors that are often overlooked: the technical and cultural implications. These objections can be mitigated by including relevant stakeholders in IT and HR from the very beginning of the planning process. The third most often overlooked component is having a clear and concise timeline with a phased approach for how you will transition to your desired end state. This will expedite the approval and the implementation process down the road. For more helpful tips, be sure to watch “Expert Advice on Building a Technology and Business Case for Outsourcing.”
WILL I LOSE CONTROL OF QUALITY IF I OUTSOURCE?
You will not lose quality control if your outsourcing partner is an expert when it comes to recruiting, hiring and training the outsourcing staff. With proper management and quality control processes in place, your partner will also ensure there is a balanced approach to KPI achievement without compromising customer satisfaction. The outsourcing team you choose must match your corporate culture, tone of voice and level of expertise. Having a provider that nails these three basic rules for outsourcing will ensure quality not only meets but exceeds your expectations.
HOW CAN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) AND AUTOMATION HELP MY CALL/CONTACT CENTER?
It's important to bring the speed of digital together with the subtlety and nuance provided by human agents. AI and automation tools can help you deliver a faster and more personalized experience, at a lower operational cost. It can put more relevant information at human agents' fingertips so they can provide more effective service and support. These tools can also help you free human agents from mundane tasks so they can spend more time on the complex ones that require more empathy and problem solving than AI can provide today. For more information on how AI can help, check out: “How AI in Customer Experience is a Top BPO Priority.”
MY COMPANY DATA/CUSTOMER DATA IS PRIVATE. CAN I STILL OUTSOURCE?
Absolutely. You can guarantee that your data will be secure if the outsourcing provider is compliant based on the latest security certifications: PCI & HIPPAA, COPC, SOC I and SOC 2 Type 2. CGS holds these certifications across all our BPO sites to ensure optimum security and reliability.
IS MY COMPANY TOO BIG OR TOO SMALL FOR OUTSOURCING?
If your company has a moderate to high call or contact volume, exceeding 2,000 per month - outsourcing to a larger provider that has the ability to scale a dedicated queue of agents may be the right fit for you. For companies with smaller volumes, seeking a partner that offers a shared queue may give you the best balance of capability and cost savings. This will help you gain economies of scale from sharing resources with other clients. Agents will still be trained on your products/service and your customers/employees will not be treated any differently.
How does training work with an outsourced support team?
The outsourcing provider should already have standard training programs prepared for onboarding new team members, continuous learning and remediation training when needed. But one size does not fit all, and you will want to ensure training is tailored to what makes your company unique. The first step is to make your new outsourced team feels like a welcome part of your company. This can be done by sharing brand guidelines and values. Ensure that this team has proper access to your knowledge bases and you have a process in place to keep your partner and agents updated on any new technology or products you may introduce. The next step is to train your partner’s trainers, as these individuals will be responsible for training the rest of the team as you grow. For more specific information on how to training will be accomplished in an outsourcing dynamic, be sure to refer to the three basic rules for outsourcing.
Is outsourcing flexible to scale up or down as my business needs change or to account for seasonal fluctuation?
Clients can quickly scale their BPO needs in just a matter of weeks. Under seasonal fluctuations, the benefits of having operational outsourcing can’t be over-stated. Since your provider will have multiple clients they will be able to more easily shift and retrain agents, quickly hire and train temporary staff and absorb fluctuations better than you could on your own. With non-essential operations handed over to BPOs, companies can rest easy knowing that their cost requirements can be scaled. For more information on scaling your BPO needs, check out “Understanding the Paradigm Shift in the Value of BPOs.”
By outsourcing will I lose the ability to drive feedback from tech support or customer care interactions back into my products, services or business processes for improvements?
Absolutely not, with AI, machine learning and data analytics tools your partner will be able to collect, analyze and help you better understand the data you can get from all of your support interactions. This can go beyond improving service. For example, you may discover product defects faster or find opportunities to develop new features/functions that are most commonly requested. You may also be able to help your marketing teams improve campaign messages, eliminate speed bumps in your sales process or show your content teams what self-help content would be most beneficial to produce.