Companies looking for call center vendors have their work cut out for them, as there are hundreds of third-party call center service providers out there, and not all of them are necessarily created equal.
Leading providers take the time to learn about your product or service, offer well-trained call center agents, and ultimately prioritize customer satisfaction, but less-than-reputable service suppliers can damage your customer relationships and tarnish the brand image that you have worked so hard to build.
To help you find the right vendor for your brand’s customer support needs, we have compiled the following list of factors that companies looking for call center services should focus their efforts on. We also discuss why more companies than ever are looking to outsource call center functions so that you can make an informed decision for your business.
Are More Companies Looking to Outsource Call Center Functions?
Indeed, there are more companies looking for inbound call centers than ever before, and such a trend has emerged for three simple reasons, which are as follows:
- Customer Experience Absolutely Matters
According to Zippia, 96% of consumers consider customer service an “essential factor” that influences their decision on who to do business with. Additionally, 40% of American consumers cut ties with a company after just one poor customer service experience.
Outsourcing allows businesses to provide prompt response times and resolve customer issues on first contact, thereby eliminating friction from the support journey and meeting the needs of your customers in an efficient, cost-effective way.
- Outsourcing Is More Economical
On the subject of cost-efficiency, it makes for another significant aspect for companies looking for call center services.
Hiring support agents, purchasing communication equipment, and training new personnel all combine into a costly and time-consuming endeavor, but through outsourcing, you can tap into a highly skilled workforce without the overhead.
Leading providers offer scalable services, meaning you will pay for support based on the size of your business and the number of customers you serve.
- Modern Consumers Want Options
Modern customers expect more from the brands they do business with, and to keep pace with these changing expectations, you need to deliver customer support through multiple channels.
The best call center service providers offer much more than just phone-based communication, though: They also provide online services, like live chats, by integrating their technology with your website and customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Currently, 41% of customers expect you to have a live chat section on your website.
Companies Looking for Call Center Services Consider These Factors
Companies that need call centers and their services consider a wide range of factors before settling on a provider, some examples of which include the scope of the service, its cost, its reputation, and the location of its support agents.
With that being said, if you are among the thousands of companies that need call centers, you must accomplish the following:
Set Clear Expectations
Failing to set clear expectations is one of the biggest mistakes that companies looking for call center vendors often make. To avoid the same missteps, you must first identify what you hope to accomplish via outsourcing. When you know what your goals are, you can effectively relay that information to prospective partners.
Getting everyone on the same page from day one will set the stage for a long and mutually beneficial partnership. You can also eliminate unsuitable vendors from contention by determining who can and can’t meet your expectations.
Evaluate the Company’s Scope of Services
Working with a call center services firm should deliver value that goes beyond cost-savings. While you may want to work with a provider because they can deliver better quality support at a lower price point, consider the other services they offer. The best providers will not only meet your minimum needs but also open the door for new growth opportunities.
For instance, let’s say that your primary goal is to outsource your inbound call-handling efforts so you can better meet your customer’s needs. Partnering with a vendor that offers self-service tools, online chat, and outbound call services will help you optimize the customer experience and connect with your audience in meaningful new ways.
Determine Whether They Use Domestic or Offshore Support Agents
Offshoring customer support is a trend that started decades ago, and although it yields major cost-savings for call center service providers and their clients, end-users often pay the price.
Just because a provider uses offshore agents, however, does not mean that they provide low-quality support, though it is still a point of concern that you need to consider when choosing a provider.
In any case, domestic agents typically provide higher quality and more frictionless support experiences, and their provider will have a far easier time enforcing quality assurance policies and delivering training to its entire staff.
Consider the Company’s Systems and Technologies
The best call center service providers will provide you with actionable insights into the customer service experience through the use of robust technologies and systems. They will track what matters, such as average hold times, inbound queue volume, agent usage, and first-time resolution rates.
More importantly, they will keep you informed about how they are doing, providing regular reports that outline their performance, and they will also be open and honest about any shortcomings while taking a proactive approach to resolving them.
Research Their Approach, Training, and QA Strategies
You need to understand what differentiates a prospective provider from other call center service companies. Perhaps they provide better training, offer a unique approach, or go above and beyond when it comes to quality assurance.
By simply visiting their website, you can conduct research to help yourself learn more about a company’s methods, training strategy, and quality assurance protocols. Reputable providers will have a clear value proposition and be wholly transparent about what makes them unique.
Once you have a sense of a provider’s methods and values, read some testimonials to see if they fit your brand.
Finding Your Ideal Partner
For companies that need call center services, finding the ideal partner takes research, diligence, and a focused approach, but taking the extra time to evaluate call center service providers will pay dividends and allow you to better serve your customers in the long run.
With that in mind, do plenty of research and apply these concepts when vetting prospective partners. Everyone, especially your customers, will be glad you did.