Many companies without the ability or the wish to maintain their own contact centers, help desks or other customer support options turn, logically, to outsourcers for help. While you may have the types of resources you need to support your customers, another factor is uptime. Is your call center located in one location, and is it vulnerable to unforeseen circumstances like storms, power outages, transit strikes, product recalls or other things that can wreak disaster on a business? Customers form their impressions of a company before their first interaction with that company is even over. Smart companies know that customer relationships are too valuable to risk with even one incident a year that will cause long queues, long hold times and imperfect service.
Not all outsourcing companies are created equal, however. In a recent report, Siobhain Goodall, head of Business Development, Outsourcing for UK-based outsourcing services provider, mplcontact, compiles a helpful list for companies seeking an outsourcing partner. Goodall focuses on the topic of seeking a partner that can help minimize the effects of service disruptions.
Look at the company’s resume. It’s not only important to choose an outsourcer that has experience, but it’s important to look for a company that has experience in a business similar to yours. An extensive customer list in non-profits or retail doesn’t necessarily mean that a company will do well in business-to-business, or vice versa.
Find a partner capable of getting up and running quickly. Emergencies seldom allow for several days of pre-planning, special training or the installation of new solutions. The time to make sure you have a partner capable of handling disaster recovery is before the disaster happens.
Look for a company with maximum transparency. The days of yore in outsourcing – when you turned the business over to another company and hoped for the best – are long over. Today’s contact center solutions allow visibility into outsourcing operations in order to ensure that customers are getting the best possible service. Be wary of outsourcers who won’t allow you maximum visibility into their day-to-day – or even hour-to-hour – operations.
Consider geography. If you pick an outsourcing provider close to you, when disaster strikes, that outsourcer will be affected by the same factors limiting your own business, says Goodall.
“When it comes to an outsourced contact center, especially one you will want to use for business continuity purposes, a local provider is probably not the best option, not unless they have a network of contact center in geographically diverse locations,” she adds.
Other considerations include finding companies with complementary technology – companies that are willing to use the same solutions you do, or solutions that can easily integrate; the size of the company, the skills of the agents, the fit with your business and the service levels and results they are willing to promise. Choosing an outsourcer should never be a trial-and-error process; there is too much at stake – and for this reason, it’s important that companies do their homework extensively before any contracts are signed.
To learn more about how you can best train and prepare for call center efficiency, click here.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo