04 March 2015

What To Ask About Outsourced Call Center Services

If your organization handles large call volumes, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing between insourced or outsourced call center services. The stakes are high. Ask yourself these five questions before you decide on a partner.

1. Why are we considering this?

  • Cost. You will likely pay much less for outsourced, offshore, or nearshore call center fulfillment. However, you’re more likely to encounter problems with language barriers, dialect issues, conflicting hours of operation, and network stability.
  • Location. Consider the location in terms of weather risks (eg. typhoons, earthquakes, and hurricanes) and that you may face climate and geography issues. Large call centers can be drawn into political or governmental instability. Political climate can quickly affect several hundred center employees.
  • Labor laws. Research the social and economic implications of outsourcing your call volume to that city, state, or country.
  • Current events. Evaluate a history of recent events occurring in that city, state, or country that could affect the quality and availability of agents.

2. What do you want the call center to do?

  • Be specific. Clearly define your partner’s role. Will they be tasked with troubleshooting, customer fulfillment, selling, or a combination of those tasks?
  • Make training and education paramount. Many call centers fail due to their clients’ efforts.
  • Get proof of the limitations of what personal sensitive information—credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc.—will be provided.
  • Identify and define the emotional aspect of your company’s culture. This can’t be missed; you want the end-user to feel the experience you provide.

3. How does the call center handle network performance reliability?

  • What is your Plan B? Have a route in place in case your main partner falls to a network outage.
  • Request drawings with an outline of network stability and redundancy.
  • Early sign-off. Get your CTO, vice president, or director of IT on board early. They should play a significant role in your outsourced call center services decision.
  • Fully understand how the call center agents are compensated and their work hours. Knowing this will provide a clear picture of how they treat your customers.

4. What are the systems of accessibility?

  • Define what systems your company is willing to share.
  • Discuss any what-ifs and potential “gotchas!” when considering the depth of shared information.
  • Confirm and test any API or software pairing requirements.
  • Prepare a soft launch, and then discuss outcomes and costs associated with additional development requirements.

5. How secure is the call center?

“Great feedback. Tell me more!”

There are several ways you can perform your due diligence to make sure your outsourced call center services are handled by a respectable, reliable company. We recommend the following:

  1. Do your research and see who else the company does business with. A reputable call center will have references you can check. Make sure you follow up on references (in person, if possible).
  2. Visit the call center site when possible.
  3. Take a virtual tour of the site if you can’t make a campus visit.
  4. Hold regular meetings with your partners at the call center.
  5. Once you’ve established a relationship with an outsourced call center, use Callcap’s third party monitoring to bring transparency and visibility to the operation. You’ll have data that shows you exactly what’s going on, and more importantly, you’ll be able to use that data to implement changes that give you peace of mind—no more wondering what outsourced employees are saying to your customers.
  6. Apply the information you learn from the data to save lost calls and understand what’s going throughout your entire enterprise—even the parts that are thousands of miles away.

Maintaining quality control of your business’ outsourced call center services is a non-negotiable aspect of customer service, because you can’t afford to let your customers talk for you by sharing their bad experiences. Be proactive about who you partner with, and use an unbiased call tracking and monitoring service to make sure what you’re hearing from your call center is the full story.