Fortune 500 enterprises and government agencies need to stay focused on core competencies, so these types of large organizations often outsource call center functions to specialized service providers.
The alternative is to handle multiple costumer communication channels–calls, emails, web chats, and text messages–in-house. But establishing a multichannel contact center is an expensive proposition. It requires a major investment in facilities, equipment and technology–not to mention the cost, time and energy needed for staff training and ongoing operations.
After conducting a cost-benefit analysis (download our outsourcing cost-analysis guide in .pdf format here), organizations typically find costs can be managed better, and customer satisfaction improved by outsourcing call centers. There are many benefits that can be realized through an effective outsourcing engagement. Below we round up the Top 10 Reasons to Outsource Your Call Center:
1. Reduced Costs: As mentioned above, setting up a call center requires major investments in facilities, equipment, operations and staffing. Outsourced call centers allow these costs to be spread across many clients, who benefit by paying only for the services needed on a transactional or per-hour basis. Outsourcers can also “share” agents with multiple clients. The “shared-agent” approach reduces idle time and can deliver a lower cost-per-call rate for clients.
2. Flexibility and Scalability: Call volumes rise and fall, so an in-house call center is at the mercy of periods of low volumes, when agents are idle. Outsourced call centers benefit from multiple clients, which helps reduce the severity of call volume peaks and valleys. Agents can work more efficiently, and managers can schedule staff more effectively, helping reduce costs-per-call. Also, outsourced call centers have the size and staff to ramp up quickly if call volumes spike due to seasonal activity or major marketing campaigns.
3. Specialized Industry Knowledge: Outsourcers may have a specialized understanding of call center services for certain industries. The executives and managers of the outsourced call center will have valuable insights and proven strategies that can only come from years and years of experience. For example, DATAMARK has provided, for many years, contact center services for numerous customer-rewards programs, as well as call services for international customs and other shipping processes in the transportation and logistics industry.
4. Dedicated “Call Managers”: In contrast to in-house agents, who are typically trained to handle a specific product or service, agents at outsourced call centers are trained to handle a variety of clients’ processes. Because of this, agents at outsourced call centers can quickly adapt to different call scenarios and present themselves as expert “call managers.” Take these kinds of skills and add bilingual fluency in Spanish and English, and you truly can truly make effective multicultural, multichannel connections that lead to satisfied, repeat customers.
5. Expert Management and Support Staff: Outsourcers are specialist service providers, and they compete to attract the best managers and support staff with years of experience with call center operations. In-house call centers, because they may be limited to providing customer care for one type of product or service, often find it difficult to develop the type of institutional knowledge and skills necessary for top-tier customer service. Outsourcers attract and retain specialists in call-center workforce planning, quality assurance, technology support and training.
6. Cost Management Tools: Outsourcers’ business models are typically based on costs per transaction. To help assure call center profitability, they have invested in tools and expertise to precisely measure per-call costs. This level of cost detail is typically shared with the client on the monthly bill for services, which helps the client evaluate the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and overall operations. In-house call centers, on the other hand, often have costs that are difficult to tie specifically to every call or customer contact, which makes it challenging to manage costs and measure profitability.
7. “Big Data” Collection and Analysis: Outsourcers understand the importance of capturing and analyzing call information to gain insights that will improve their clients’ processes. Outsourced call centers have experience with multiple clients and the data generated by many marketing and advertising campaigns. Technologies that outsourcers invest in–the costs of which are spread across multiple clients–include analysis platforms that help unlock useful insights from large amounts of raw data.
8. Quality Monitoring and Control: Outsourcing service level agreements (SLAs) require all customers’ calls and messages through other channels (such as email and web chat) to be handled professionally. Answer time and first-time call resolution are the highest priorities and some of the measures of call center quality. Outsourced call centers have monitoring tools and performance assessment and improvement plans in place to ensure SLAs are met. In-house call centers may not have the resources or expertise available for structured, continuous quality monitoring and performance improvement plans.
9. Access to Latest Technology: Outsourcers will research and invest in the best technologies for multichannel customer contact. These are software tools that offer features such as cloud-based platforms, VoIP, email, web chat, SMS text and social media monitoring. The latest in contact center technology may be too cost-prohibitive for some in-house call centers. Because outsourcers have multiple clients, they can spread out the cost of these platforms.
10. Service 24/7, Seven-Days-a-Week: All customers would love to pick up a phone, send an email or jump into a web chat session and reach a live customer service representative at any time of the day, any day of the week. But that kind of around-the-clock availability isn’t a realistic in-house option for most organizations. But outsourcers, with call centers on both sides of the globe, can deliver service that “follows the sun”–and at a much lower cost compared to in-house.