How To Find The Right Call Center Service Provider For Your Business
“It takes months to find a customer… seconds to lose one.”
This popular saying by Vince Lombardi is probably enough to summarize how crucial the role of a call center service provider is. In our previous article, we covered the what and why of call center services. While we did come to the conclusion that it’s wise to offload the responsibility of managing your business calls to a third-party service provider, it is important to tread carefully while deciding upon which provider to go ahead with.
Needless to say, we can make the decision for you. Every business has its own needs and the right solution for each business may vary. However, to assist you in making an informed decision, we’ve listed down some key considerations and tips that can help you in making the correct choice.
Things to consider while finding the right call center service provider for your business
First and foremost, you must decide the purpose of your call center. Would you like it to just receive calls from the customer and resolve their issue or should your agents also make sales calls? Based on the decision, you go for inbound or outbound services (discussed here) or a hybrid of both. Inbound services would ensure that all your customer queries and issues are heard and resolved, while outbound services would have agents working towards cold calling, lead generation or even taking surveys.
Not every business needs both of these services. Inbound services are suitable for businesses that need to provide customer assistance and technical support for programs and software. Outbound services are preferred by those who’re trying to increase sales or reach out to their customers. You might also want to try out a BPO service, wherein you can offload the entire function to a third party.
You must also decide whether you want your agents to work exclusively for you. Most call centers would have both dedicated as well as shared agents. A dedicated agent would spend all their time and energy handling your own account, unlike a shared agent who would also be taking care of other accounts.
So how do you make a choice? The choice depends on the industry you’re in. If you think your business would require agents that are familiar with your work and should remain consistent with the brand, then you’d need dedicated agents with expertise in your area. On the other hand, if you think your business queries and sales can be handled by generalists, you can go for shared agents. Shared agents are clearly the cheaper of the lot but are working with several clients so their availability is limited.
Call center service provider has come up with a semi-dedicated model, wherein your agents would handle one or two clients apart from you, so they’re likely to be more available than the shared ones. In terms of costs, semi-dedicated agents fall in the middle, as they’re definitely cheaper than the dedicated ones, but more expensive than the shared ones.
There’s an old saying that you should never waste human effort on this you can get a machine to do. A lot of inputs and responses for common queries, or the initial sales pitch you make to leads can be automated to save time and effort and deliver more at a call center. To keep up with the times, you must go with a service provider that’s at pace with the AI trends in the market. This includes automation in handling calls and using AI to report and record data received at a call center better.
Data generated at a call center has the capability to give you a lot of customer insight, if recorded and analysed well. There are companies out there who’d just provide call summaries and a
record of the number of call received or made. On the other hand, you’d find vendors providing real-time data analytics and audio recording of the call for review–at a higher price. You need to know what you’d be getting out of the service provider before signing up with them.
At a call center, customers share a lot of personal data with the agents. Not just that, your agents have a lot of business data at their disposal to handle the calls better. Data privacy and security becomes a major concern when you hand over the responsibility of your calls to a third-party. Hence, it is crucial that you check their security and privacy clauses in depth and make an informed decision.
It is due to the security to consideration that business prefer providers working on cloud due to the ease of installation and because it offers a larger agent base at your disposal. However, solely from a security reason, an on-premise service is preferred. All said and done, you can go for a cloud service, as long as you’re clear about your data security, including the process of data recovery in case of a disaster.
According to the Microsoft State of Global Customer Service report, 58% of customers say that customer service is a key factor that affects which brand they choose. So, business today have to offer customer support, and the investment in a call center service
might be inevitable. That being said, you must always choose a service that fits your budget such that you can sustain it for a long period of time. Call center services are long term investment, so cost should always be a factor in your decision.
It’s always good to have a perspective of a service from someone who has been there, done that. Before finalising a call center service provider, don’t hesitate to go over their customer reviews, and even talk to their old clients. Ken Epstein, the Executive VP of a global provider of contact center services recommends speaking with existing clients. “Speak with current clients and ask them how the partnership is working and whether they would recommend them as someone to do business with.”
Existing clients can give you insights about performance that you can never find on Google. So, it is good to rely on their perspective. Another good to have is to go for a vendor that has worked with a close competitor of yours. That way their agents are more trained to handle your calls.
Volume Limits and Your Traffic
One of the most important consideration is to gauge the strength of the call centers and understand where or not it has the capability to handle the volume of calls your business is going to generate. In fact, this works both ways. Based on the kind of traffic of incoming calls and the data you have to reach out for outgoing calls, decide the capacity of the service provider you’d need. This means that you may not have to invest in a large scale call center if you’re not expecting a high volume of calls and vice versa.
Over to You
Choosing a partner, in any walk of life, can be an overwhelming decision. The same applies to choosing a customer support partner for your business. We hope this article can help you with making a good choice. In the end, after looking into all the above considerations, go with your gut. If all your criteria is being fulfilled by two vendors, choose the one you feel more confident about. After all, most business decisions come out of your own business acumen.