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Outsourced contact centers: 7 challenges and solutions - Calabrio - Blog

Outsourced contact centers: 7 challenges and solutions

Nick Brook at Teleopti explores the challenges faced by outsourcers today and how to solve them.

The outsourcing sector is on the up, with recent research indicating that the global contact center outsourcing market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 9% during the period of 2017-2021. Indeed, it is the sheer number of outsourced agents being scheduled using Teleopti Workforce Management (WFM), over 80,000[i], that led me to take a look at some of the challenges that the majority of outsourcing contact centers face and how these challenges can be solved.

Having been involved in planning more than 8000 agents and multiple work streams during my time at an international outsourcer, it became clear that while outsourcing offers great potential for increased efficiencies in time, cost and customer service, the contact centers providing this service face a fresh set of challenges.  Here is an outline of the key hurdles outsourcers face and how to overcome them using the latest WFM technology.

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Seven Challenges Outsourcers Experience Today
  1. The need for speed – the biggest channel for many outsourcing contact centers is the constant call for operational and technical efficiency. From setting up new agents to accessing relevant and accurate client data, speed leads to cost savings, healthier profit margins and happier customers.  However, manual forecasting or scheduling is slow and prone to error.  Automated WFM solutions can import large volumes of data from previous systems to set up new team structures quickly and efficiently.  Automation provides a single, clear view of past, present and future activities, removing the time-consuming triple effect of manual workload management while making the most of one-time data inputting such as agent profiles and shift preferences.
  2. Keeping cost conscious - according to Deloitte Consulting, 59% of companies said the primary driver for using outsourcers is as a cost-cutting tool. This is a challenge that will never go away.  The contact center is under pressure to make operational savings and satisfy client demand to bring the greatest results for the lowest price.  The main cost in a contact center is people, therefore resource planning must be accurate and efficient.  The rise in cloud-based WFM provides the opportunity for companies to only pay for what they use while reducing investment in IT infrastructure.  For example, Teleopti customer FEXCO has achieved 20% savings in annual license and maintenance costs by moving to cloud WFM. Every saving helps to strengthen the bottom line.
  3. The mobile age – mobility is everywhere from smartphones, tablets and laptops to TVs and even cars. The challenge is to turn mobility into an advantage.  It is now possible to set up self-service portals that allow agents to view their latest schedules, swap shifts and request time off from anywhere, using any device.  At the same time agents can log-in to cloud-based contact center technology from any location and provide the same excellent levels of customer service even when they are away from the office.
  4. Agent attrition – contact centers are notorious for high agent turnover with some reports revealing rates as high as 30%. This puts enormous cost and time pressures on recruiting and training new staff quickly (allowing for a lag in productivity while they settle in).  Capturing agent skills alongside contract types and using these profiles to schedule people for their best activities can keep agents motivated.  At the same time, identifying individual or team skills gaps to support effective training programs will reduce attrition rates and ensure agent engagement.
  5. Internationalization – managing global projects, with different languages and time zones, is challenging. Comprehensive profiling and scheduling will mean that the agent with the right language skill is available to communicate with the customer. The WFM solution should also offer time-zone insights to prevent less efficient situations, such as an agent in Dubai being given a shift at midnight by a team leader in the US.  Team leaders and planners should have access to international overviews.
  6. Engaging expectations – rising customer expectations have transformed the skill sets required by agents. They need to be experts in customer relations as well as the products and services they represent. Therefore, it is important to avoid irritating the most productive agents, so take into account agent shift preferences, make absence requests a smooth process and let agents easily trade shifts. Boredom is another danger, so be sure to provide flexible breaks and varied, mixed activities to keep it at bay.
  7. Things go wrong – expect the unexpected, because even the best laid plans can go wrong as a result of freak events, system bugs and human error. The challenge is to be prepared rather than live in fear of things going wrong.  Ensure there is access to a strong support team with a dedicated service desk staffed by engineers and technical consultants with the ability to troubleshoot at a moment’s notice.  Then back this up with a continual evaluation program to assess the performance of the WFM solution and adjust it as circumstances demand.

To find out more and learn how three real-life contact center organizations have successfully overcome “the outsource challenge”, download Teleopti’s latest eBook “An Outlook on Outsourcing”.

[i] Teleopti CRM data as of June 2017


Publish Date: October 13, 2017 5:00 AM

2021 Buyers Guide Workforce Management

Aspect Software

Aspect Workforce Management
Aspect Workforce Management is an award-winning, best-of-breed software solution for enterprise contact centers, designed to help managers accurately and easily forecast staffing requirements to ensure the right agents are available at the right times, across all customer-facing inbound, outbound, blended and back office resources. Taking into account factors such as skill levels, scheduling constraints, regulatory labor restrictions, demand and service level objectives, Aspect Workforce Management helps businesses achieve contact center SLAs at the lowest possible labor cost, while improving both agent engagement and the customer experience.

Agents can also manage their scheduling need...
(read more)


Calabrio ONE
Calabrio ONE offers contact centres the complete toolset to unlock the tremendous value buried within customer interaction data and use it to transform the entire business. One seamless solution combines a fully integrated workforce optimization suite with powerful voice-of-the-customer analytics tools deployed—in the cloud, on-premises, or in a hybrid environment.

Capture every customer interaction across all channels. Extract predictive and prescriptive insights. Elevate customer experiences, improve employee engagement and increase operational efficiency. Then, extend customer-centric strategies across the business to accelerate sales, drive innovation and move your business forward.

eGain Corporation

eGain Solve
Rated #1 by analysts and trusted by some of the biggest brands in the world, eGain Solve helps businesses design and deliver smart, connected customer journeys across social, mobile, web, and contact centers. You can sell smarter, serve better, and know more.


Eleveo WFM
Eleveo WFM was designed to simplify scheduling, forecasting and adherence for commercial contact centers with 500 agents or less. The product is easy to use for supervisors who are not WFM experts, but provides value for scheduling, shift changes, schedule adherence and supports multi-channel and multi-skill requirements. Eleveo WFM was built using open source, cloud technologies but can be installed on premise, in a hybrid environment or hosted for you in AWS.

ethosIQ, LLC

BPO Optimizer
ethosIQ’s Business Process Outsourcer (BPO) Optimizer allows clients to manage their vendor contact center resources without requiring manual intervention through our manufacture-agnostic data collector processes. ethosIQ collects schedule and exception data, based on your desired parameters. Collection of data is transparent and doesn’t require intervention from either you or your vendor resource. You know your needs, and now you can manage those needs effectively, efficiently and effortlessly, using ethosIQ’s BPO Optimizer!

Lieber & Associates

Technology Consulting Services
Lieber & Associates provides consulting services to select, contract for, test, implement, and optimize workforce management systems. It's technology consultants have worked with all major systems and many smaller ones. Counsel is informed by several decades of WFM experience.

MFE International

Agyletime Cloud Workforce Management
Agyletime is an enterprise grade true Cloud WFM and t is channel agnostic .
Its ease to Use , easier onboarding, forecasting and better scheduling.
You can integrate to CRMs such as SFDC, Zendesk, ServiceNow and others and to telephony systems such as AVAYA, CISCO, Genesys and other cloud telephony systems ; to independent Chat systems to aggregate data for WFM omnichannel forecasting, scheduling, optimisation and reporting.

Noble Systems

Noble ShiftTrack WFM
Maximize the efficiency of your contact center and meet/exceed customer expectations with workforce engagement tools that help you accurately forecast workloads, match the right resources to your needs and keep agents motivated. More than just scheduling agents and tracking shifts, Noble’s ShiftTrack WEM solutions optimize labor costs, manage capacity more effectively and improve service levels.

OpsTel Services

The SPEED solution solves for service level issues while cost optimizing the environment with automation.

Provides an enhanced way to speed up & optimize invoking temporary agent skills configuration changes into the contact center environment.

Speed allows you to schedule both future changes & temporary changes that auto-revert back to the original state when scheduled time expires.

Speed features:

*Automated / Scheduled Temporary Agent Skills Configuration Management
*Immediate Temporary or Reoccurring Schedule Skills Configuration Changes
*Easy to Use/Operations Administration Focused
*Descriptive Monitoring Activity Dashboard
*Detailed “End to End’ Audit Trail and Perfor...
(read more)


Track staff performance, capture meaningful feedback and deliver quality customer experiences using Phonestat. Our cloud based solution allows you to create simple scorecards to provide instant feedback and training to your staff.

There are powerful integrations to source interactions from anywhere and an open API to allow you to build your own.


VADS Workforce Management
VADS Workforme Magaement is a smart tools that gives connectivity to the workers while working remotely. An intelligent workforce management system that aims to improve operation efficiency with the end goal to provide first.

QPC Ltd.

QPC WFM - Calabrio/Teleopti Specialism
QPC has a long and successful history of delivering tried and tested innovative workforce management systems, and the training and consultancy needed to ensure organisations can leverage the customer service and operational efficiency benefits workforce management principles and automated workforce management systems can deliver.

View more from Calabrio

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