Senior managers commonly view outsourced customer service, order processing / order taking and help desk call center services as cost centers. But beyond delivering improved inbound customer service, customer loyalty and brand awareness, outsourced call centers can also increase revenue and profits – if you have the right call center strategy – the right call center perspective – in place.
Here are strategic guidelines for maximizing your call center outsourcing service strategy and growing your company’s bottom line.
• Align the Call Center with Your Company’s Goals
To get the most out of your call center outsourcer you need to work in tandem with them, bring them inside. Create a true partnership, not just a vendor relationship. Tell them about your vision, your objectives and your corporate, product and services messaging.
Tell them how you want your company to be perceived. What distinguishes you in the marketplace, what are your most effective sales messages? What are your vulnerabilities and how are they most effectively overcome?
Get together with your marketing department. What product launches and marketing campaigns are in the offing? How can the call center services provider support marketing’s goals?
Make sure the call center services provider understands the valuable role it plays. Talk to them about the value of each customer, about the revenue the average customer represents each time s/he makes a purchase, highlighting the importance of delivering excellent customer service and instilling customer loyalty. The message: the customer who is treated well will be a return customer, and this is a priceless asset to the company.
Introduce the call center to your service manager. What is the price of a maintenance contract? How many are lost because of poor customer support?
• Align Outsourced Call Center Services with Your Program Needs
It’s one thing if you have a relatively straightforward product or customer service need that does not require a great deal of skill from your customer support specialists. But it’s different if your customer support needs are complicated, or if you have significant sales order maximization opportunities that require advanced upselling and cross-selling skills from your order processing representatives.
So calibrate your call center outsourcer’s capabilities to the level of the need you have.
• Training Is Crucial
Managers are often at a loss as to who will train outsourced call center representatives to work on their programs. The answer: you. No one knows your products, messages and brand better than you. So no one is better qualified to pass on that knowledge to the call center you hire.
Equipping your call center services representatives with the knowledge and messages that support your company’s business goals is critical to getting the most out of your outsourced provider. In addition, well trained agents are happy agents because there are equipped to do their jobs well – whether they are providing outsourced customer service, order taking or help desk services. Happy agents tend to be stable employees who remain with their call center, delivering long-term pay-back to you.
• Continual Coaching is Key
Giving feedback to the call center outsourcing services provider is an absolute must. This means making sure your call center services company can provide you with recordings of their representatives. Listen to the recordings and provide feedback on the good and the bad of those calls.
Think of your inbound call center program as a work in progress. It’s never finished. You and your call center services program managers should look for ways to continually improve the program, test new messaging, try new tactics. Besides, looking for ways to improve your program keeps everyone engaged and on their toes.
• Everything Is a Number
This means everything an outsourced call center services company does can be captured and analyzed within a framework of call center services performance metrics. They measure your program KPI’s: average speed of answer, number of transfers or escalations, time taken to resolve the customer’s issue, abandonment rates, average sales order size, increase or decrease in customer service complaints. Make sure your call center services provider has the technology infrastructure to capture these data and provide detailed, frequent reports that let you track your program’s progress. The objective: create strong customer loyalty at the lowest cost.
Implement these principles and your call center outsourcing service will be an effective, efficient contributor to your company’s strategic goals.
Mark Fichera, CEO
Call Center Services