Article : 51 New Contact Center RFP Questions
Choosing a contact center outsourcer is a huge investment. Which is, of course, why you’re willingly subjecting yourself to the time constraints and stress of writing an RFP. Need some insight? We’ve compiled a list of 51 contact center RFP questions to help you ensure you’re making the most informed decision. Below you’ll find six key sections of questions, including: company overview, agent hiring/training, contact center reporting, project management, and pricing.
Get to know the history and organization of the vendor. You want to validate that they have the scope and stability to be a good long-term partner.
A. List Company Facts
- How long have you been in business?
- How many full-time employees do you have?
- How many centers do you operate? (List address & number of employees for each location)
- What languages do you currently support?
- What awards or recognition has your company received in the past three years?
B. Client Service
- What is the average length of your client relationships?
- Name your five largest clients, and list how long they have been clients.
- Do you serve any clients who would be considered a competitor to our company?
- Describe your corporate culture including how it is differentiated from your competition.
- What is your mission statement?
- How does your corporate culture align with your understanding or our own company, values, and culture?
An outsourcer’s ability to attract and retain the right people for your brand and your service requirements is essential.
D. Labor Market
- Describe your labor market including post-secondary education rates and unemployment rates.
- Describe your company’s competitive differentiators within your labor market.
- Outline your attraction and recruitment strategies and processes.
E. Agent Training
- Describe your training structure (team and facilities) and outline approach to new hire training.
- What is unique about your agent training regimen?
- What’s your maximum class training size?
- What percentage of new hires graduate from training to production?
- What percentage of agents are still with the company six months after graduating from training?
F. Agent Engagement
- What is your annual agent attrition rate (list both voluntary and involuntary turnover numbers)?
- Describe your employee engagement strategies and measurement processes?
- What percentage of your new hires comes from employee referrals?
- What is your average tenure of salaried staff? Hourly staff?
G. Agent Profile
- How do you profile your agents?
- How do you test for skills?
- What ongoing developmental or career development training do you offer?
- What percent of agents have some post-secondary education?
Your contact center has access to a wealth of data about your business, your customers’ behavior, your marketing results, and more. Use your contact center RFP questions to find out who in the competition can go beyond reporting just on standard call measures (AHT, ASA, first call resolution, and conversion rates) and provide business insight and analysis that will help you make informed business decisions.
H. Capabilities and Experience in Information Services
- Describe your information services team including number of personnel, specializations, hours of operation.
- Provide an example of how you have used reporting to positively impact a client’s business.
- What is your system/process for alerting clients on issues beyond established tolerance (i.e., 150% over forecast in a certain interval)?
- What reports form the foundation of your quarterly business reviews?
- Who on your management team reviews client reports on a regular basis?
I. Reporting Customization and Client Access
- What custom reporting capabilities do you have?
- Is there a client portal for us to easily access reports?
- Can we access reports in real time or near real time?
- Provide examples of standard and customer reporting.
Your internal operations team will need to interface with the vendor if they are chosen. For your benefit, you want to make sure that you have access to the right makeup of vendor project management resources to ensure they sync up with your internal team.
J. Team Commitment
- What percentage of the project manager(s)’s time will be dedicated to our project?
- Provide an organization chart and bios of senior leadership and program managers.
- What senior management are located on the same site as the location proposed for our program?
- Describe your governance model including detail on senior management involvement on our account.
Again, think about what’s important to you. For example, if your incumbent vendor has poor service or project management, you’ll want to make sure you’re covered here. And on the flipside, if you’re a first-time outsourcer, you’ll want to mirror your internal operations/project management with that of your outsourced vendor.
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List out which technologies you are bringing to the table (especially your CRM or CTI platform) and be specific in how you’d like the vendor to integrate with those technologies. And be realistic about your risk tolerance. Dual redundancy might be ideal, but prepare to pay for it. If the vendor is expected to bolt onto your platform, indicate that in the contact center RFP.
K. Tech Compatibility
- Describe your telephony platform and your integration capabilities for our CRM/CTI systems.
- When was your last telephony upgrade?
- Detail your business continuity plans.
- What options do you provide to clients for program-specific redundancy or contingency plans. (Provide details on which options are included in your pricing model.)
Keep in mind that every contact center prices their services differently. For this reason, you will benefit by providing specific scenarios (i.e. call volume) using the economic model you prefer, such as cost per call, cost per minute, cost per headcount, etc.
L. Pricing Models
- What are the itemized startup costs and ongoing costs? What is the estimated annual cost of the proposal and what’s included with that?
- What services and features are included in this pricing?
- What performance guarantees are included in this pricing?
- Are there any volume discounts you can provide?
- Are long distance costs included, if no, please detail how direct costs are billed?
- Are you willing to put "some skin in the game" by investing in the startup costs (or share other costs) to achieve a performance bonus down the road? If so, please provide detail around that type of risk/reward scenario.
- If you were to suggest an alternative pricing model within the same volume parameters as the scenario provided, what would you suggest?
Being able to accurately compare one bidder’s offering to another is the key here – how the bidder reached the number they are presenting is as important as the number itself. Always ask for a breakdown of their pricing and note features and services that one vendor may offer over another. As much as possible, you want an "apples-to-apples" comparison so you can make an accurate, fair evaluation.
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About Michael Hasler:
As Blue Ocean’s Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, Mike Hasler has responsibility for our corporate brand and accountability for strategic growth from both new and existing clients. Mike’s experience provides him with understanding of the contact center industry from both the client-side and the perspective of solution-provider. Mike’s over-riding philosophy is that sustainable, successful partnerships begin with asking smart questions and truly listening to the answers. Mike applies discipline and vision to the process of building successful, lasting business relationships.
About Blue Ocean Contact Centers:
We thrive on delivering critical customer service solutions that go beyond transactional interactions. As such, our goal is to enhance lifetime customer value, providing support that is a reflection of your brand promise, even in high-pressure, complex customer service scenarios.
Published: Wednesday, June 29, 2016
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