Call center outsourcing has several benefits for businesses to enjoy. However, outsourcing to a call center also has potential hurdles. You need to know what all of these are before you decide to try it out. You will also want to know what the costs are like. Yes, you can definitely save a bunch, but you need to make sure it’s worth it in the long run.
How Does Outsourcing Work?
Outsourcing means the process of one company handing over work to another company. This includes passing the responsibility to plan the work and execute it according to an agreed upon standard. This work could actually be done internally by the first company, but they prefer to let another company handle it. Usually, this decision is made because they can get top-rated services from candidates without having to be part of the selection, hiring, training or managing processes. This hands-off approach gives the company more flexibility as it increases efficiency and reduces costs. Mostly, this is due to more strategic human resources and the absence of overheads.
In a nutshell, the hiring company tells the outsourcing company what it needs. Then the outsourcing company provides the right candidates. The hiring company pays the outsourcing company and receives the completed work.
Outsourcing Customer Support
Inbound and outbound call center outsourcing has been the go-to for many companies. This is especially true in the area of customer service.
Benefits of Call Center Outsourcing
Outsourcing call center tasks gives you the added benefit of expertise. Call centers provide such services to many other companies. Over the years, they have gained a lot of experience. Moreover, they are sure to keep their service offerings up to date because they have to please all these clients.
Outsourced call center work means you can provide your customers with top-notch customer support. Business Process Outsourcing companies (BPOs) focus on giving companies specialized agents using updated technology and data. Unless you have customer service expertise, inbound and outbound call center outsourcing is your best option.
Of course, you can hire your own freelance team of customer service experts. With this option, however, you will need to manage them in-house.
Done for You
Outsourced call center work frees up your company’s time and talent. All you do is tell the outsourcing call center what you want done, and they take care of everything. You don’t need to do any hiring tasks like searching, recruiting, interviewing, onboarding, or training. You don’t need to manage anyone, either, or deal with disciplinary matters or terminations and the like. This way, you can all focus on what you do best to get the best results for the business.
The outsourcing call center cost you will pay is usually much lower than hiring in-house. This is especially true when you do outbound call center outsourcing to countries like the Philippines. This takes into account, of course, the quality of the service that these countries can provide. Namely, you want agents who speak your language fluently, know your business and the industry, and other specialized knowledge in the customer service field.
Most notably, outsourcing call center cost savings come in the form of non-existent recruitment and management costs, equipment, and overheads. This is a huge help when you are trying to reduce operating costs as much as possible.
As part of management costs, we must mention scalability in particular. Outsourcing call center costs drop significantly when you can make changes instantly. You can scale up or trim down your customer service support team when demand changes and not have to worry about severance packages, retraining, etc.
One of the other notable particulars that contributes to cost savings is customer satisfaction. With local, in-house teams, working odd hours can be a problem. The international nature of business these days demands that your business have a 24/7 presence. With call center outsourcing, you can offer longer service hours without paying exorbitant overtime and night shift pay differentials. Plus, when customers can contact you whenever they need you – which they expect these days! – they will be happier. Customers who can see that you value them are more likely to spend more money with you and recommend you. Again, as your needs change on different channels that require different hours for voice or live chat support, you can scale up or down easily.
Potential Hurdles of Call Center Outsourcing
Loss of Control
Most notably, you will lose a great degree of quality control when you go for inbound and outbound call center outsourcing. You can’t see everything that’s going on, and the call center may not report everything bad that happens. Of course, they will probably want to cover themselves. So, you will have to dig to find potential issues. This usually means taking the time or hiring someone to do random inspections. This way, you can still protect your brand reputation and maintain your ability to deliver your brand promise. You can also customize scripts for them to reduce errors.
Lack of Knowledge
You may find it difficult to confirm specific outsourced call center skills. Because BPO hiring is so flexible, agents move around different accounts. This means you run the risk of using customer service agents who do not know your company or the industry well.
If you require the call center agents you hire to have special knowledge, you will pay more than the usual rates. In this case, you might be better off hiring and training your own team of freelancers. This way, they will know your business and products inside and out. That’s how you guarantee that your customers will get the support they expect. Outsourcing to freelancers is also highly flexible, although it requires a greater initial time investment on your part.
As mentioned above, language proficiency is a major concern with call center outsourcing. Most BPOs are overseas, which means that most agents will have questionable cultural knowledge and language fluency. That is, if you are hiring the cheapest available workers. If they are unable to communicate effectively, this will affect your bottom line in different ways. As a result, we recommend that you pay more for better suited representatives to save you potentially bigger losses in the long run.
If you are a smaller business, you may not be able to commit to the larger contracts that many BPOs require. Know that there are other options out there, albeit more costly. Shorter contracts will serve you well as you get used to the way call center outsourcing goes, and verify the value you are getting before you commit.
Services you can outsource
Of course, you can outsource any service that can be done over the internet. These are just the three most popular outsourced call center tasks.
Inbound and outbound voice support
Inbound and outbound call solutions are the most popular in the outsourcing world. You can also outsource all kinds of customer service for multi-channel communication under the umbrella of voice and non-voice services. You can outsource either inbound or outbound services, or both at different levels, depending on your needs.
Inbound voice support usually covers customer service and outbound voice support mostly deals with sales.
Aside from your typical outbound cold calling, you can outsource specialized marketing communications. Most companies find telemarketing campaigns too expensive, but outsourcing can make one doable for your business.
Lead generation is a more common marketing activity for even smaller companies. You can set up scripts for call patterns that agents can follow. Then they can safely reach out to potential customers within these parameters, gather relevant sales data, and create reports for you. When you are able to track specific data in this manner, you can do proper data analysis. Then you can make changes like creating more targeted campaigns because you have a record of common customer needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a call center and a BPO company?
The terms “call center” and “BPO” are often used interchangeably. There is a difference, however. Call centers are actually part of the BPO industry. They focus on voice support services, like taking customer calls. BPO companies cover these services as well as other outsourced back-office tasks.
If you require highly technical or professional skills, we recommend that you hire a BPO company. If you need a simple and affordable solution for customer service, you can go with a call center solution.
Can small businesses benefit from call centers?
Small businesses can definitely benefit from maintaining an external base of operations in the form of a call center. This will help with handling current operations and provide an avenue for growth as well. With the right call center solution, you can give your business that professional touch that customers will recognize. This comes from guaranteed quality assurance that comes from experience and expertise. Services can be tailored to your small business needs, so you don’t need to worry about unnecessary outsourcing call center costs.
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Call center outsourcing can be the perfect solution to your customer service needs. You may even have other needs like lead generation or various technical tasks that a BPO can help you with. Just make sure you know what you need and confirm that the company you work with can meet them.