BPO

Call Center Outsourcing: The Complete Guide

by Phillip Lew

Call center outsourcing is among the most strategic business decisions today. Both small and giant organizations continue to seek outsourcing partners who can handle their calls at lower costs, provide outbound calling, address peak volume problems and experts for customer relationship management (CRM).

Call center outsourcing is a means of getting real value from the non-core competency to achieve strategic competitiveness and earn above-average returns.

If you are a CEO or a stakeholder in a business that is considering call center outsourcing, here is a step-by-step guide to starting you off on the right foot.

1) Evaluate your Needs

Before you begin the call center outsourcing process, define your business needs. It is vital to figure out the reasons for call center outsourcing.

Some of the indicators that your business needs to outsource its call center may include;

  • An increased volume of calls
  • High costs of running your call center department
  • You need to focus more on the core competencies
  • You are looking to avoid additional staffing issues
  • You need to scale up your customer service level
  • You are expanding to new territories

These are the indicators that your organization is ready to outsource its call center. After finalizing your needs, develop a scorecard together with your team to help you evaluate potential providers.

2) Vendor Search

Having identified your call center outsourcing needs and objectives, conduct a web search for potential vendors. You can utilize platforms such as Upwork, Guru.com or a simple Google Search.

Today, companies are looking to continuously increase customer satisfaction rates. To achieve this goal, the best call center service provider is highly recommended.

3) Have the Latest Technology

Before finalizing on call center outsourcing process, ensure that you are destined to success by having the right tools. Application of the latest technology in the outsourced call centers is extremely vital.

Customers need companies to handle and solve their queries immediately. Therefore, when partnering with a call center outsourcing provider ensure that there are effective technologies to be used in the contact center.

Remember, in call center outsourcing, the third party takes over your call center. The most critical tool will hence be cloud-based call center software.

cloud-based call center

A cloud-based call center is most preferred over an on-premise call center because it is;

  • Easy to install and set up
  • No investment in hardware hence cheaper
  • Easy to scale
  • Highly reliable
  • Additional features such as live call monitoring, smart IVR, click-to-call, etc.
    The best call center software should;
  • Route calls to the right agents,
  • Help the management to execute an omnichannel strategy
  • Provide employees with additional context

4) Skills Matters

It is essential to exercise caution when selecting a partner to manage your call center. The skills of the service provider are directly related to your business success. Offering excellent customer service is highly dependent on the skills of your call center representatives.

outsourcing service provider

Besides, the call center outsourcing service provider must be able to manage time and tasks. Customers hate waiting in queues. The agents must ensure they are able to attend to all your customers in no time.

CustomerThermometer.com conducted a customer service and satisfaction study this year and this is what they found out.

  • 52% of the worldwide population believe organizations need to change how they provide feedback to customers
  • 90% of buyers are influenced by reviews when looking to purchase a product or service
  • 54% of customers expect excellent customer service today as compared to previous years
  • 73% of customers will stick with a brand if provided with friendly customer service
  • A 5% increase in customer retention rates raises profits by 25-95%
  • Consumer trust with a company is influenced by the customer service offered

In the call center outsourcing, you entrust the call center agents with the task of pleasing your customers. The above statistics are proof that the agents must be equipped with a robust skill-set to handle the complexities of the job.

Look out for the following skills before you hire the call center outsourcing service provider.

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Empathy
  • Full product and services knowledge
  • Organization
  • Problem-solving skills

5) Select your Call Center Outsourcing Partner
Hiring the right partner

The firm you decide to hire will act as the primary interface with your customers. Initiate a partnership in which both companies are focused on similar goals. Hiring the right partner must follow a disciplined process with detailed criteria for evaluating the capabilities of the potential partner.

The best way to accomplish this is through a Request for Proposal (RFP). Send the information to a list of ten potential partners that can meet your defined requirements. You can find potential partners from internet searches, recommendations from business acquaintances or industry associations. You can partner with C9 Digital that has a proven record of providing outsourced customer service to the biggest brands in the globe.

The RFP should cover the following;

  • The required coverage hours
  • Languages to be supported
  • Integration of data to your systems
  • The type of coverage required whether inbound or/and outbound
  • Delivery performance-fix rates, response time
  • Continuous operation-To know partners synchronization, number of sites and disaster recovery plans

Interview the finalists and consider visiting their center. Reassemble your team and make the final selection. Notify other finalists and your selected partner.

At this stage, you are ready to outsource your call center services to the right agent.
Negotiate a contract with the selected partner and be certain to include a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Develop a detailed transitioning plan of the workload.

6) Managing the Relationship

Ongoing management of the partnership will be vital to the success of call center outsourcing. Have a dedicate relationship manager for the responsibilities.

Establish the rules of communication and regularly hold meetings to review performance and discuss any issues that may arise

Outsourcing Comparison
Philippines vs. India

Philippines vs India
English Proficiency

The Philippines have the highest English-proficient rates across Asia. American culture is also prevalent in Philippines society. Indians are however enriched with an Indian culture that can prove to be a challenge for many clients. It is, therefore, easier for Filipinos to maintain relationships with clients from all parts of the globe as compared to Indians.

If you are a company in the Philippines considering outsourcing your call center there are numerous benefits of domestic call center outsourcing. Consider domestic companies such as C9 Digital who are easier to monitor, have similar time zone and can offer flexibility.
Accent Neutrality

Call center outsourcing depends highly on communication skills. Communication clarity is vital when outsourcing customer support. American accent is more common in the Philippines compared to India. If your clients mainly reside in America, call center outsourcing to the Philippines will be your best option.

Low Operational Costs

You are likely to save more on costs when outsourcing your call center to the Philippines compared to India. Many Filipinos prefer customer support job positions but Indian workers are averse with the instability of the position leading to high turnover rates.

Additionally, a high supply of labor in the Philippines due to BPO training, English proficiency and neutral accents make minimum wage per hour favorable in the country compared to India.

Latin America vs. the USA
Costs

Outsourcing in Latin America is cheaper compared to the U.S. The minimum wage per hour is higher in the USA by about $6 dollars compared to countries in Latin America. Outsourcing service agents in the U.S cost between $80 and $150 per hour while in Latin America hourly rates range between $40 and $70.
English proficiency

The USA has a higher English proficiency index compared to Latin America. Most countries in Latin America have low English Proficiency Index. However, your company can take advantage of bilingual agents if it is considering languages such as Spanish and French.
Culture and Tech Talent

Both Latin America and the United States were European colonies. Therefore, despite cultural differences, there are huge similarities in work styles and business approach. However, when planning to outsource your call center, Latin American developers have assertive and creative tech abilities. Besides, they view work relationships as partnerships and not as agent-employee relations.
In Summary

Call center outsourcing has several potential benefits to offer such as access to a pool of experts, improved coverage of your customers and lower costs of labor. You can save up to 50 percent on your call center department.

Call center outsourcing has several potential benefits to offer such as access to a pool of experts, improved coverage of your customers and lower costs of labor. You can save up to 50 percent on your call center department.

Yes, there are potential risks too. However, with diligent planning and following the guidelines in this article, call center outsourcing can be done correctly with minimal disruption in the course of the transition.

Phillip Lew

Phillip Lew

Phillip Lew helps investors, business owners, executives and government agencies all around the world on helping them leverage the power of outsourcing and using exponential technologies to create massive success within their organization. To contact Phillip for consulting, speaking opportunities or to hire C9 Digital, please fill out the online inquiry form at the bottom of this page.