Call center outsourcing is hotly discussed in IT, accounting, digital marketing, HR, customer support, and development circles because many companies are facing a cash crunch due to lull in business for months together. Unsurprisingly, culprits are COVID-19 and global recession. The previously cash-strapped businesses are now on the brick of sustenance crises which if left unaddressed would cause them to go under. Pinched by financial uncertainty, many businesses are turning to call center service providers to stay lean and ride out the storm. So the advantages and disadvantages of call center outsourcing are the only things left to compare before considering.
As early as 2019, many corporate giants had already considered call center offshoring to cut down costs. The behemoths include big names like The Wall Street Journal, Hershey Foods, Time Warner Inc., and so on. Some of them partly outsourced call center operations, while the rest like JP Morgan Chase, Capital One, and Dell entirely did away with customer support due to cost concerns. Nowadays, it's somewhat a ritual to outsource customer service to save every dollar.
Call Center Offshoring Strategy
The offshoring process involves getting a third-party call center service provider to manage the day-to-day call center roles instead of hiring and training full-time call center agents for in-house management. The advantage of call center outsourcing is that businesses don't have to worry about software and infrastructure expenses because third-party service providers are already well-equipped.
The outsourcing party can decide whether to outsource a portion of call center operations or the entire functions. If a choice is made, SLA is signed and the selected functions are placed in the hands of a service provider. The offshoring party will be invoiced every month or quarter depending on the agreement and payment will be only for the service.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Call Center Outsourcing
Businesses worldwide are contemplating measures to shrink the workforce to avoid being wiped off the map. If your business is at risk of being guillotined, outsourcing customer service may be the only recourse. So let's dig into the call center outsourcing trends in 2020 and beyond -
Pros - Advantages of Call Center Outsourcing
Inhibits Runaway Expenses
Proponents of call center outsourcing swear by the benefits of call center outsourcing especially in terms of operating margins. They say it shrinks the overhead to a trickle because there isn't an infrastructure to maintain or a need for full-time agents. Without the two major contributing factors of money outflow, the surging expenses taper off, allowing businesses to regain control of funds.
Mitigates Staffing Concerns
Staffing is a headache for most companies because it involves extensive vetting which isn't time- and cost-effective especially when there are multiple vacancies and limited resources to filter applications. However, when call center services are outsourced, the service provider handles hiring, training, and task assigning efficiently than you'd imagine.
Round-the-clock Customer Service
By outsourcing customer services, you are counting on the service provider to respond to your customers from different time zones in a way, you'd like your team to work. An honest provider will do what it takes to ensure their agents are highly available, courteous, and professional.
Efficient Management of Call Volume
If your small call center team is overwhelmed by call volumes, customer support outsourcing may seem favorable because the service provider will have both the bandwidth and qualified agents to keep up with the call volumes.
Ensures Business Continuity
Downtime is every business's nightmare. It throws the flow out of whack resulting in upset customers and unhappy agents who'd lose motivation. The unpredictable nature of downtime is what makes it scary. But when an outsourcing partner assures round-the-clock uptime, they are likely armed with contingency servers to ensure business continuity until disruptions are resolved.
Cons - Disadvantages of Call Center Outsourcing
Dipping Customer Satisfaction
The downsides of choosing a wrong outsourcing partner is a decline in service quality because the agents handling your customers could be uninspired or lack experience in ensuring client satisfaction. Numerous reasons contribute to this behavior, all of which are mentioned below.
When your customers from particular geography contact your outsourcing partner from another, their agents may lack the cultural awareness or fluency in the caller's regional intonation. If left unaddressed, it can upset customer relations because of misinterpretation or worse - message lost in translation.
Limited Control to Measure Performance
When your in-house functions are thrust into the hands of a service provider, you're trusting them with vital business functions. This makes it impossible for you to intercept every call to ensure your customers are getting the same unwavering experience. Your inability to enforce policies to fulfill customer satisfaction are among other risks you face by outsourcing all center to unverified service providers.
Lack of Product or Service Awareness
Your business may have a culture that your customers find alluring, but when you outsource customer support, the agents may lack the cultural fit to ensure the same level of experience because they may not have the understanding of your culture, values, or ethics. Even if they do, there is no guarantee they would have a similar dedication to your in-house team.
Lack of Devotion while Managing Multiple Clients
Your in-house agents maybe 100% devoted to every customer contacting for support, but the same can't be said when you outsource to a third-party provider because their agents divide their time to manage clients of various businesses. This results in your customers getting less empathetic attention than they deserve.
Lack of Collaboration and Siloed Information
The agents of the outsourced company may not have all its employees in the same facility and may not even communicate with each other. Lack of collaboration may fail to produce fruitful results due to information siloes.
Some outsourcing partners may not openly disclose the costs, but you could be liable for hidden expenses that affect your bottom line. Some are tied to legal issues, attorney fees, customer defection due to bad service level, and re-acquisition of a lost customer. All these unpleasant surprises can occur occasionally, or at once to disrupt your stability.
Concerns About Data Safety
In case your call center operations are outsourced to an offshore partner where the employee background checks aren't as robust as it is in your geography, it can be difficult to trust them with your confidential data. You may constantly feel vulnerable if the agent vetting is not as what you expect it to be.
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Conclusion - Outsourcing Call Center Services is a Win-Win Solution
If call center outsourcing to an offshore provider is lucrative cost-wise, it may still not be worth risking confidential data by putting it into stranger's hands. In such instances, it's preferable to work with a local service provider with a brick and mortar office where you can visit. An offshore call center service provider is best seen as a middle path if you can't run operations in-house nor find local partners within the budget. The offshore call center service providers help you improve the efficiency of call center functions by leveraging outsourcing trends, technology trends, and updating their approach to stay relevant.
Outsource Call Center Services to Outsource2india
Outsource2india is an ISO 9001:2015 certified call center service provider. We bridge the gap in the client's contact infrastructure to ensure that their relationship with customers is headed in the right direction. We rely on a global workforce vetted as per the industry's best practices to ensure safety and quality at affordable rates. Our teams have access to some of the best technologies and leverage their potential to ensure business continuity of customer-facing business. With 24 years of experience in customer support, sales, inbound, and backend functions, there is nothing we haven't excelled at.
Contact us if you feel outsourcing call center services is the best way to run lean and we'll be glad to provide a free quote.
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