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Is Outsourcing Your Contact Center a Good Fit for Your Business? 5 Questions to consider when outsourcing that will lead to an easily defensible decision.

By: Nik Bilyk

What are your business objectives and primary motivations?

The bottom line is usually on everyone’s mind and the primary motivation for business decisions.  Budgets are always being scrutinized and squeezed.  Your outsourcing partner can certainly help you with cutting costs.  However, like any endeavor, there are costs that may not be obvious at the start.  If cost is the only reason to outsource, you may end up regretting the decision.

Along with cost, taking your customer service to the next level is a great objective to consider.  Customer service is a key differentiator and the research shows that the majority of businesses are investing in customer service for that very reason.  For most businesses, customer service is not their area of expertise.  By tapping into an outsourcer like AW Companies, you add to your team a wealth of knowledge pulled from many different companies.  An outsourcer can directly improve your hiring, employee retention, best practices, key performance indicators, customer satisfaction, and can help you make the right decisions around technology.

Many companies are starting to reap the revenue rewards of investing in their customer service.  Yes, great ROIs are definitely possible.

Are you looking for a vendor or a partner?

If you are looking for a vendor that you can hand the keys over to and walk away from your customer service, you will be in for a big surprise!

Not only will your outsourcing partner need considerable help to learn and implement your processes, but they will also need ongoing support to keep improving.

By just viewing the relationship solely as a vendor, you will miss out on taking full advantage of the expertise of your outsourcer.  You will also miss out on learning from a key piece of the puzzle: agents!  Agents can provide valuable feedback and give voice to your customers.  Ensuring your relationship with your partner is strong and communicating well will keep the improvements flowing.

We recommend viewing us as an extension of your own team for the best results.  We focus on your success because when you succeed, we succeed.

The last thing to consider here is the size of your potential partner in relation to your team.  If you need 25 agents, will an outsourcer with a team of 1,000 agents give you the attention your business needs?  AW Companies is a boutique partner, which means we specialize in showing your business the attention it deserves.

Is your customer service team stable or in crisis?

A team in crisis will not be magically fixed by being outsourced.  Outsourcing may still be the right decision, but you may not get the immediate results you expect.

To fix broken processes and outdated technology takes time.  Your outsourcing partner’s first priority will be to learn and own the way things are done.  They will have to put out the same fires that you do on a daily basis, and with a team that has less experience with your processes!

We recommend having a rock-solid knowledge base, a proven training process, and a team that is not in crisis.  If you can pass along that, we will work with you to make steady improvements and get the results you are expecting.

How unified and experienced are your stakeholders?

Before deciding to outsource, just like making any decision, unity between stakeholders is key to success.  If your team is not clear and in agreement on the goals and needs, you may not pick the right partner or set them up to successfully run your program.

A newer team likely will not understand the business enough to be able to make the right decision.  It will be a real challenge to be able to set the right expectations and provide the necessary support to your outsourcing partner without enough experience.

A newer team will also have a harder time knowing how to understand the results your partner is providing, which leads to the last question.

How will you measure the success of your outsourcing partner?

Once you have successfully transferred the operations to your partner, how will you know if they are successful?  Being very clear on the metrics that will be monitored, as well as the factors that contribute, is vital.  Unless the outsourcing involves a change in technology, they will likely be stuck with whatever metrics you are currently using.

If you do not have a way of measuring key customer service metrics like average handle time and average time to answer, it will be very challenging for anyone to know how the partnership is going.

To summarize, here are some key boxes you need to check before outsourcing.  Don’t check them all?  No problem, we can work with you to get you prepared!

  • Clear on the goals of outsourcing
  • Cost savings is not the only goal
  • Your contact center could really benefit from our expertise
  • Looking for a partnership that will be an extension of your team
  • Your team is currently not in crisis
  • You have established processes, programs, and a knowledge base
  • Your stakeholders are unified in the need and objectives with outsourcing
  • Your decision makers are experienced enough with the business and knowledgeable on the state of the customer service team
  • You are clear on what success looks like, with reliable metrics already established and available

Ready to start a conversation?  Contact our superhero team today!

Bonus Question – Is your contact center a critical part of your business?

If you rely on your contact center to keep the revenue flowing, there are several things to consider.  What would happen if you lose power, internet, or experience a severe weather event?  Can you afford for your team to be down for hours or days?  Most businesses that take their customer service seriously will set up outsourcers to be able to handle increased call volumes, holiday peaks, and provide business continuity.

If you rely on your contact center to receive orders for example, what would it mean if your outsource partner failed to deliver?  Typically outsourcing is best if you can use the expertise of a dedicated customer service company as an extension of your team, not to handle a core part of your business that relies on special knowledge and experience only your business has.

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