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Article : PIcking the Right OUtsourced Contact Center Solution
Picking the Right Outsourced Contact Center Solution
Written by: Eric Berg, CSP
Founder and Treasurer, Midwest Contact Center Association
Years ago, large organizations found outsourcing call centers a requirement to compete.
Today, businesses of all sizes are learning that outsourcing customer contact provides a strategic advantage that can differentiate them from competitors.By outsourcing to contact center experts, companies are better able to grow their business by focusing on their core competencies, while allowing their outsourced partners utilize best practices and emerging trends to meet the ever changing needs of their customers.
But finding the right outsourced vendor can be a daunting task.There are many factors to weigh in your decision.Following are some key factors to consider
Price vs. Quality
When considering outsourcing a customer contact, companies must first look at the desired outcome of the contact.If it is a simple contact that requires little judgment or reasoning, outsourcing to the lowest cost provider may meet the needs of your company.These may include password resets, balance inquiries, message taking, order tracking…etc.
However, in the event your customer contact requires any ability to be solutions oriented, think out of the box, go off script, provide custom solutions, require the use of multiple complex systems or research unique solutions, then considering the lowest price provider is almost certain to lead to catastrophic failure and loss of customers.In this case looking at an outsourcer that has the technology, people and processes in place to quickly develop custom programs is far more critical than price.
Out of box vs. Custom
Most offshore and many onshore outsourcing companies are tied to technology that is purchased and comes with the limitations of a system designed to offer very specific solutions.However there are many contact center outsourcing companies that believe investing in proprietary system with the flexibility to move and meld to a customer’s unique challenges is the best path to long-term success and reduced costs.
Custom shops often times don’t cost more than their counterparts with limitations, but offer significant savings through increased effectiveness and efficiency, increased first call resolution, increased customer satisfaction and an overall better experience for the customer.
Because the program was designed around what the customer wants, rather than what the technology could provide.
Onshore vs. Offshore
Some 65 percent of consumers would change their buying behavior if they learned that a company with which they were doing business used an offshore call center, even if they were satisfied with its customer service, a Purdue University survey found.
The study, conducted by Purdue's Center for Customer-Driven Quality, showed that the "vast majority" of consumers believed their telephone contacts were handled by domestic call centers. The survey of 721 U.S. consumers had an error rate of plus or minus 4 percent.
According to the 2010 Contact Center Satisfaction Index(CFI Group 2010) customer frustration with offshore centers yields poor scores across the board.
When rating their satisfaction and First Call Resolution (FCR) customers rated onshore centers significantly higher than those of their counterparts offshore.
Customer Satisfaction Onshore 78%
Customer Satisfaction Offshore 58%
First Call Resolution Onshore 67%
First Call Resolution Offshore 50%
Customers had a difficult time understanding offshore agents, which leads to an ineffective and inefficient process. When asked about the quality of the agents, customers again showed a distinctive affinity to onshore agents over offshore.
Effectiveness Onshore 84%
Effectiveness Offshore 62%
Knowledge Onshore 84%
Knowledge Offshore 67%
Ease of Understanding Onshore 85%
Ease of Understanding Offshore 54%
Customer Service Onshore 85%
Customer Service Offshore 66%
So what to do? If customers are important to you (which I believe they are) can you afford to lose customers due to the service they perceive they are receiving?
What is your customer thinking?
At what point in their experience did they say yes to buy?
At what point did the customer decide your organization was no longer good for them?
What is the reason for your customer call?
What is the demeanor of your customer at the beginning, middle or end of the call?
What does your customer think about you?
What can you do to retain your customer?
These are all questions you should be thinking about when looking at outsourced contact center vendors.Can your current or potential vendor track the customer experience and provide reporting and suggestions for change that will result in significant increases in customer satisfaction and revenue?
Through the use of behavioral analytics and strategic database creation, premiere contact center outsourcing firms have found a way to provide additional value, significant cost savings and increase client retention through the use of information.
Remember, it costs far less to retain a customer than it does to earn a new one.
Experience & Capability
When considering the best outsourced contact center solution looking at experience and capability is a major factor, but industry experience may not be as vital as experience with similar contact types.
Outsourced contact centers are pushed by competition to continually identify what emerging trends and technologies result in increase customer satisfaction and first call resolution. Many times, contact center outsourcers that serve one industry or specialty only pull their experience from that limited scope.Looking at potential outsourcers with a variety of industries served and multiple contact types exposes your company to solutions that have worked in other industries and may not have been tried in your industry, thus potentially providing additional competitive advantage.
Instead of requiring industry experience, look deeper into your outsourced contact vendor’s ability to provide solutions that meet your objectives and increase the satisfaction of your customer.
What is your customer worth to you?
So now think back to price, if you are only looking at price, will you receive the benefit of industry best practices like behavioral analytics, customized solutions, out of the box answers, increased customer satisfaction through increased call resolution?Or will you simply get the best price, while losing your valuable customers?
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About Eric Berg:
Eric Berg is a founding member of the Midwest Contact Center Association and Vice President at Customer Elation. Eric has over 15 years experience in the contact center consulting and outsourcing industry and is a frequent speaker at contact center industry events.
About Customer Elation:
Customer Elation is a Rural US contact center outsourcing firm with three Midwest call centers and capacity for 950 seats.
Published: Wednesday, June 15, 2011