Call center outsourcing is perhaps the one type of service that will not go out of significance, no matter how automated and technologically intensive we become. In the olden days when phone calls and emails were enough and were also not a 24×7 job, many small and big companies could afford to have a reasonably sized team in-house dealing with customer relations. Nowadays, however, irrespective of your product being the best in the market, unless your customers feel valued and taken care of even after purchasing your product, they will move on to your competitors. To avoid this, you can have a full-fledged in-house call center and pay all the salaries and overhead expenses, even during times of business slump. Alternatively, and more smartly, you can take on board an outsourcing partner for much less cost and much higher efficiency and performance. Should you choose to go with the latter option, here are 7 questions you should ask while choosing the right BPO company for call center services.
1. How much will I save if I work with you?
Let’s start with the most obvious question of all. After all, you are looking for a call center vendor because you need to improve your efficiency and profits without increasing the burden on your resources. You will have to do your own research beforehand to know the estimated costs of keeping an in-house call center, as well as not having one at all. While calculating these costs, remember that it is not just about financial resources but also time and effort. So the first thing to do here is to get a detailed estimate of costs, any additional costs if you need data collection or reporting, any charges for extra working hours and so on.
2. Are you available round the clock?
Since 24×7 presence is one of the key requirements of today’s call center services, the first thing you should ascertain is that once you have an outsourcing company taking care of your customer calls, would they be able to do so at any time during the day and night. Another key factor to remember here is that while most outsourcing companies do offer round the clock call center services, some of them charge extra for post office hours. If you can get a cheaper option, let’s say where the basic service package consists of 24×7 services, you should be careful not to spend more than you have to.
3. Which industries or demography is your specialization?
Although any outsourcing company worth their salt would have professionals and expertise to deal with multiple countries, different industries, and various demographic groups, it is advisable to not take this feature as granted. If you produce products for a very specific age group, or cater to a niche market, then your BPO partner needs to have the appropriate skill set, not only in terms of their call handling, but also in the modes of communication they use for your potential customers. This is also important if you are, say an educational or legal business, where the call center employees also need to be familiar with at least the general language requirements of your business.
4. Are you compliant with legal requirements?
While we are at the subject of specific industries requiring special services, if you are dealing with the medical industry, you need to have a HIPPA compliant partner on board. They not only have to keep your customer data confidential – even more than privacy requirements for a regular business – but also have the necessary information to guide your clients on matters like treatment or insurance.
5. Will I be able to update customer services on my own or do I have to go through you?
This is another extremely important point of communication, especially if your customer relationship management involves offers, or seasonal discounts, or premier customer offers. Unless your BPO partner is taking care of your entire customer relationship department, they will not be in a position to update these sorts of offers to be communicated to your customers. If however you have not cleared this line of communication beforehand and you directly reach out to your clients about such offers, or even if you advertise for them, there can be miscommunication that can lead to unhappy customers. To avoid such an unfortunate experience, arising purely out of lack of proper communication, ask your potential outsourcing partner about these details beforehand.
6. What makes you different?
This is perhaps one of the tougher questions that you need to ask your potential BPO partner. The answer to this question is important for you to know if the aims and performance style of a given company matches your own targets and aims. Let’s say the BPO company says that their training is the best one in the market, your next step would be to see if they can back up their claim. If they are spending enough resources training their employees and making their different teams more suited to different types of businesses coming from their clients, then you can trust their other performance promises as well.
7. What other services are available?
Finally, once you have done all the background research on a business process outsourcing provider, and have considered testimonials from their previous clients, you would prefer to have the same company take care of any additional activities that may or may not be related to call center activities. It is not as much a necessity as a convenience to know that the BPO company you have chosen can be of assistance in case you need to outsource any more departments. So just make sure to ask this question too while making a decision about which call center service to choose for your business.