Call center outsourcing is a hot topic on both ends of the phone – company and customer. And both groups have reasons to celebrate and hesitate. From a company’s perspective, call center outsourcing can be attractive for expanding customer communication, but may be nerve-wracking given that it requires giving up some control over their provision of service. From the customer’s perspective, call center outsourcing can provide longer service hours and more available agents, but it can also lead to frustration and misunderstandings.
Let’s take a closer look at call center outsourcing and explore what it could mean for your business.
Call center outsourcing is the process by which companies employ an external service provider to operate and manage their call center. This external service provider can be based out of anywhere, but most often this term is used to refer to offshore outsourcing. Offshore outsourcing is simply moving call centers outside of the United States.
Companies may choose to outsource all or part of their call center operations (e.g. sales, service, market research, etc.) In general, companies hand over most of the control to the external provider, giving them the power to hire and train agents, maintain call center software and manage day-to-day operations.
The biggest benefit of call center outsourcing is that external service providers absorb the cost of operations, including call center software maintenance and hiring. This can represent significant savings. Call center outsourcing can also facilitate around the clock service for customers, since outsourced call centers tend to be in different time zones.
The biggest downside of call center outsourcing is that it can lead to decreased customer satisfaction if service representatives do not speak the same language or come from the same culture as the customers. Additionally, companies may feel that their call center operations are no longer in their control, so they do not have as much power over brand representation, company knowledge or call center decisions.
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Note: This list is by no means exhaustive.
There are many shades of call center outsourcing. Everything depends on your answers to the above questions.
For one, outsourcing is not a compulsory practice. It’s a choice and it may not be the right choice for you! Second, although the implication tends to be offshore outsourcing, local outsourcing is alway an option. Outsource your call center, but don’t go very far. Third, if you’re not ready to make the leap, why not outsource just a few aspects of your call center?
Another option is to flip the script. Instead of thinking of call center outsourcing as setting up a traditional on-premise solution to somewhere remote, consider that newer technologies may allow you to retain ownership and control over your call center solution, no matter where your agents are.
Cloud-based call center solutions allow for flexibility that traditional on-premise solutions do not. When you’re not tethered to a set of physical telephones, you’re free to have agents anywhere and everywhere. Not only that, but global managers have a view into their call center metrics and agent activities from wherever they happen to be that day. Save money, ease scaling and expansion, assure quality with call monitoring and recording, and look into the backend to get peace of mind on the operation of your business.
Whatever you decide when it comes to call center outsourcing, make sure to do your research. This is a big decision; treat it like one.