Call center work is usually outsourced when there is a concern about the cost of operations and number of headcounts in a company.
In many companies, the operational expense is an area of tight scrutiny by the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). In times of tight margins and high competition, operational efficiency will be looked at to contain and cut costs.
Running a call center is a high-cost activity. Especially when the call center is not seen to be a direct contributor to margins and profits when compared to sales and production.
There is the cost of hiring, training, improving productivity and retaining call center agents. And the constant upgrading of technology regarding hardware and software. Plus the office space and furniture required to house the call center agents.
All these high overheads will be among the first to eliminated during cost-cutting activities.
For these companies, it makes sense to reduce and cap the costs by outsourcing the headcounts, technology, and office space to a focused outsourcing partner.
For the outsourcing company, however, call center work is their core operational activity. So it makes sense for them to optimize costs by leveraging their installed base, to provide these services to other companies.
The cost of outsourcing call center services is dependent on the scope of work and requirements agreed on
Outsourcing Technology Checklist
The technology they have, need not be the greatest and the best in class. But it needs to be able to serve your requirements and deliver to your agreed upon key performance indicators (KPI) or metrics.
This is to ensure your cost targets are also met. It’s a tradeoff between costs and wants, and settling on needs.
When outsourcing a call center, you need to ensure that the following technologies should be available:
- Call center management systems
- Call center software
- Cloud-based or on-premises based systems
Capable of supporting virtual agents if required
- Call monitoring tools for call recording and listen to calls
- Interactive voice response (IVR) systems for funneling calls to suitable agents
- Automatic call distribution system to distribute calls according to agent load and availability.
- Cloud contact centers software technology such as live chat and social media
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to log customer engagements
- Service Management or Helpdesk systems to log and track trouble tickets (TT) and resolution activities.
Outsourcing Services Capabilities Checklist
When outsourcing, you need to check if the company can duplicate or be better in managing the inbound and outbound services.
You will need to check on the following capabilities:
- Inbound call center operations
- Outbound call center solutions
- Telemarketing services
- Virtual call agents services
- Agent training records and performance tracking
- Competency in Knowledge management
- Coaching and motivation
- Customer experience and satisfaction control and monitoring
- Customer service skills
- Escalation path with L1, L2 and L3 understanding
Gordon Lee Kok Fook is the Customer Fulfillment Director at Wingo Starr Group based In Kuala Lumpur. He works together with clients to tailor make the outsourcing programs they need.