The customer experience is more important than ever before. Increased globalization means consumers have no shortage of options to choose from when they’re in the market for products and services. In many cases, the customer experience is the only thing setting one business apart from another. Given the importance of customer service, it’s no surprise that companies are turning to call center outsourcing services for support.
Call center outsourcing isn’t new. Businesses have leveraged these services for decades. As customer service becomes increasingly important, though, more and more companies are turning to outsourced partners for help. If you’re curious about these services but aren’t sure if they’re right for your organization, allow us to be your guide through the pros, cons, options and opportunities available for call center outsourcing.
How Outsourced Call Centers Work
There are generally two situations businesses will find themselves in that lead them to start exploring call center outsourcing. Some companies realize they have grown to a point where they need help handling customer calls, but they don’t want to take on the financial burden of hiring more staff. Other companies already have an in-house call handling program, but the cost to run it has added up to a point where it makes sense to consider more cost-effective options.
Once the pain point is identified, the process of call center outsourcing begins with a conversation. Businesses reach out to outsourcing companies to explore their options. There is a discussion about goals and how they can be achieved. The outsourcing partner then creates a customized call script with the client’s policies and procedures reflected in the script. The customer service organization then trains their employees to handle communications for the business. This allows companies to focus their time and energy on their strengths while ensuring their customers have great experiences.
Call center outsourcing solutions can be incredibly varied and customizable. Some handle all inbound calls for their outsource partners, answering caller questions and addressing concerns. Others tackle outbound calls, setting appointments, generating leads, and performing market research. The options for customization are endless and the transition is often seamless. In many cases, customers have no idea they’re speaking with third party call center outsourcing services.
Every call center has their own pricing structure. Some charge clients for every minute they’re on the phone with a caller. Some charge by the call. Others set a flat fee for the month of coverage. Generally speaking, though, call center outsourcing is much more affordable than hiring and training a brand new employee or building out an entire department – one of the major advantages of outsourcing call centers.
Types of Customer Support Services
Customer support services come in a wide range of options. An answering service is staffed by highly trained customer service representatives, ready to answer inbound calls day and night. Each time a business phone line rings, a friendly, professional agent is there to rise to the occasion.This is one of the most popular call center outsourcing solutions.
Virtual receptionist services are another popular option. These customer service experts act as an extension of your business. They greet callers, take messages, give out information about certain policies or rules, book appointments, and transfer calls to specific individuals or departments. This type of call center outsourcing is ideal for small businesses.
For high volume call activity, traditional call center services can’t be beat. Many organizations work with these outsourced partners 365 days a year, while others rely on them more during their busy season, scaling up coverage as needed. Professional call center agents can qualify leads, offer technical support solutions, register callers for events, take orders, and set appointments. The benefits of outsourcing call center services are endless.
The Benefits of Outsourcing
Speaking of the benefits of outsourcing call center services for corporations, it’s worth delving into the perks a little deeper. One of the main benefits of outsourcing is the opportunity to save serious money. While you could certainly hire full time staff to perform many of the duties of a call center, wages alone stack up in a hurry. There are also costs that come with hiring, training and outfitting employees with the technology and tools they’ll need to be successful. Call centers cut past these steps, allowing businesses to hit the ground running with phone coverage as soon as they’d like.
Hiring, training, and developing the talents of employees takes time. There’s a lot of effort involved with ensuring your team has the skills necessary to handle interpersonal communication, solve caller problems, and gain enough knowledge about the company and its offerings. Call center outsourcing takes the weight of these duties off your shoulders, handling staffing so you can focus your time on daily operational tasks and long-term goals.
Another one of the many benefits of outsourcing call center services is the opportunity to expand your client base. Call center employees are often bilingual, allowing your organization to connect with callers whose primary language might not be English. This inclusivity is essential to the modern customer experience. As the United States continues to grow more diverse, offering customer service in languages other than English is a savvy move for some companies and essential for others.
24/7 accessibility is yet another benefit of outsourcing your calls. Call center partners burn the midnight oil to ensure there’s always a friendly voice on the end of the line. Traditional business hours are a thing of the past. Customers want support on their terms. By partnering with call center outsourcing services, businesses can provide round-the-clock service while maintaining a healthy work/life balance. As you and your colleagues head home to rest and recover from a hard day of work, outsourced partners are there to cover phones and represent your business in your stead.
Comparing Overseas and US-Based Outsourcing
As you begin researching your options for inbound call center outsourcing, you may be eager to learn the differences between overseas companies and those based in the United States. While using offshore call centers is often cheaper, you typically get what you pay for. Overseas call centers come with no shortage of communication challenges, data security issues, cultural barriers, and technology limitations. This ultimately leads to unhappy customers who may opt to take their business elsewhere. While overseas partners were once commonplace, many businesses now prefer to work with call centers located stateside.
Customers expect better service than ever. While it’s not impossible to receive top tier service from an overseas call center, it’s rare. U.S. based call center employees are typically better trained, better paid, and better at understanding the concerns of callers. Call center outsourcing opportunities abound, and while overseas providers may offer some perks, U.S.-based companies are generally more reliable.
Understanding Your Outsourcing Requirements
In order to find the best partner for your call center outsourcing needs, consider what type of support you require. What are your goals? Do you want 24-hour coverage, overflow support, or on-demand service? Will your call center partner need to integrate with any of your software? There are lots of considerations, but organizing your requirements will help make your search easier.
While you’re at it, consider key performance indicators you’ll look to determine the effectiveness of your partnership. By establishing metrics early on, you’ll be better equipped to assess the success of your relationship with a call center outsourcing service. Average wait times, call handling times, customer satisfaction, and call resolution should all be factored into your equation.
Crafting the Ultimate Call Script
Learning how to outsource to a call center is easier than you might expect. The magic lies within the call script you create for your outsourced partners. While scripts may seem forced at first, they go a long way to minimize awkwardness and guide interactions with callers to achieve the most favorable outcomes. We actually rely on unofficial scripts on a daily basis without realizing it. From greeting a cashier at the gas station to checking in with colleagues about a specific progress, formal business etiquette helps craft a script for virtually every scenario imaginable.
As you pen your business’s call script, start by considering the ways in which your existing staff answer the phones. By standardizing the way a brand communicates with the public, you can establish a more professional foundation for each call you take. Partnering with a call center is an excellent time to revisit existing procedures and update them for the here and now. Author several versions, playing around with the phrasing of certain terms and policies. A call center outsourcing service can then take this script and integrate it seamlessly into their coverage of your calls.
Of course, not every business owner has the time or flair for developing call scripts. Your outsourced call center partners should walk you through the process, collaborating with you to create a script that feels authentic and professional.
Is Call Center Outsourcing Right for Your Business?
With the right partner, call center outsourcing can seriously improve customer service and rates of retention. As you begin to explore your options, take time to outline your requirements, expectations, and KPIs. These can help guide your decision to partner with a particular call center over another.
MAP Communications has become a leader in the call center industry over our three decades of experience. We’re known for some of the fastest pickup times in the country, courteous employees, and customizable service plans. One need only look to our testimonials section for proof of our value. If you’re eager to give MAP a try, consider signing up for our free trial now.
Here are some related articles you might be interested in: