Questions for Your Outsourcer
Determining which contact center to partner with can be a difficult process, especially for first time outsourcers. With multiple vendors to choose from, what criteria should you use to determine what will be a good fit for your company, your program, and your needs? Here are eight important factors to consider when determining if a contact center is the right one for you.
Work Experience: Have they worked with similar customers or on similar programs? If your program is e-commerce order taking and they mainly provide customer service, the agents may not have the right personalities and training to maximize your ROI. Experience within your industry will add value to the program by providing insight into industry best practices.
Technology: What investments in technology have they made to enhance their service? How do they route calls to the appropriate agents? What steps have they taken to ensure contact center up time? Do they have an easy-to-use agent interface that can be optimized for your program to quickly retrieve your information and capture all of the callers’ details? Investments in technology can greatly improve customer satisfaction, average time to answer and first call resolution, while reducing costs and overall talk time.
Agent Selection & Training: What is the selection and training process for new hires? Do they have a continuous training program? Is there additional program specific training? Agents require training on your program to accurately represent your brand. Verify that the selection and training process will ensure that each agent will be successful at their job.
Reporting: What information can they provide regarding your program? Most contact centers will track call volumes, average call length and total talk time. If you are increasing your advertising budget, can they provide you with the information to determine if the program was successful? Discuss your reporting needs and verify they can provide the information necessary for your program’s success.
Cultural Alignment: Are the outsourcer’s goals and values aligning with yours? An ongoing relationship with plenty of communication is important to establish from the beginning. The more closely aligned you are, the more efficient your partnership will be. Your outsourcer should feel like an extension of your existing team, working together to meet your customers’ needs.
Process Optimization: Will your contact center take proactive steps to ensure your program runs as efficiently as possible? Will they notify you when they believe your program can be improved? Having people on the front lines communicating with you is invaluable in increasing performance and reducing costs.
Scalability: When your program takes off or you wish to include additional programs, will your contact center be able to grow their service to handle your expanding needs and volume? If your program is expected to expand over time, ensure that your contact center can grow with you. It can be very costly to switch contact centers once a program is operational. Expanding is easier than restarting.
Cost: Cost is always an important factor. However, try to evaluate the total cost and value of your calls. For example, a contact center with large investments in technology may charge 10% more per minute of talk time but have a more efficient system that handles each call 10% faster. The higher price per minute is covered by the reduction in minute usage. Similarly, the highly trained agents that cost 15% more but convert 5% more sales can produce more value for your program. Though difficult to determine, take the entire value of the partner into account when using price as a deciding factor.
Selecting the right contact center should not be a snap decision. It is the first point of contact for your customers and must appear as an extension of your brand. Take the time to ensure your contact center partner is the right one for you.