Best Practices for Choosing a Contact Center
Guest blog post from Megan Webb-Morgan from Resource Nation.
Contact centers serve a broad range of customers and fulfill a wide variety of customer service, sales, and marketing roles. They manage client contact through telephone, fax, letter, and email, as well as emerging technologies like web self-service, online chat, and text messaging, all within the most suitable software platform.
While finding call center software that suits your business needs will be an integral part of the process, it will be more important to find the contact center that is right for your customers. However, first you need to understand how your company will use the service and what your customers will get out of it.
Understand Your Company
What is your customer care strategy? The right contact center for your company will vary depending on whether you need it to generate competitive sales leads or act as a low-cost, but necessary, customer service solution.
- Your contact center’s customer care strategy needs to fit with your overall business goals. The relationship will be difficult to manage if the two have conflicting customer care philosophies, and this conflict can cause you to lose both money and customers.
- These strategies are not dependent on cost – the cheapest contact center will not necessarily be the best fit for your business. Depending on their previous experience, some centers are more likely than others to provide customer relationship management or focus on service quality. If those are features that your business needs, you need to make that clear in your search.
Understand Your Customers
Every organization’s customers are different and must be handled by contact centers in a specific way, while also maintaining a balance of cost efficiency, effective customer interactions, and positive customer service experiences. The right balance can lead to increased revenues for your business as well as significant customer loyalty.
- According to Customer Service and the Human Experience, 92 percent of customers base their opinion of a company on their interaction with the company’s contact center, and 62 percent would terminate their relationship with a company following a bad customer service experience.
- Use surveys or other research options to find out how your customers define a positive or exceptional service experience, and choose a firm that fits the parameters defined by your customers.
In-House versus Outsourced Contact Centers
Your business’ contact center can be maintained in-house, outsourced to a specialized firm, or divided between local agents, subcontracted representatives, and automated systems depending on the task. Two-thirds of call centers are maintained in-house; 86% of outsourced centers serve their local, regional, or national market, as reported by Cornell University.
- Outsourced subcontractors can be used to maintain the entirety of your business’s customer contact needs, or can carry out only those tasks which are not integral to your business’s core competencies.
- Subcontractors have more flexible staffing options than in-house centers, but give your business little direct control over the quality of their customer service operations. For this reason alone, you need to be sure that the subcontractor’s goals and values align with those of your business.
- Your contract with a subcontractor should spell out – in detail – the procedures the firm will use to carry out its required tasks and ensure quality control.
There is no one contact center firm or style that is right for all businesses. The center that your company chooses to work with needs to actively fulfill your business’s goals and your customers’ expectations. The right contact center will help your business cut costs while maintaining the level of service and support that your customers need.
Megan Webb-Morgan is a web content writer for Resource Nation. She writes about small business, focusing on topics such as call center software. To read more of her content, visit the Resource Nation blog.