Depending on the actions you take, outsourcing your contact center operation can be either highly useful or problematic. While the goal of outsourcing is to create a long-lasting relationship, the path to get there can be tricky. It is important to determine proper traits when seeking an outsourcing partner, so the relationship is mutually productive. This piece will discuss strategies to find the right partner when outsourcing contact center functions. In light of this need, it is important for heads of contact centers to set standards early and to develop ways to make the relationship useful.
When deciding to outsource, the bottom line of the company is of top concern. The best way to protect that interest is to compare your internal costs with the costs of hiring an outsourced firm. Aggregate internal salaries, benefits, time off, and other similar factors. If costs are similar, or if outsourcing could yield more value for around the same cost, consider outsourcing, but take efforts to discuss the opportunity with the CFO and others who have a vested financial interest. Another factor to consider is the outsourcer’s longevity. A company that intently leans on its previous experience is more likely to appreciate your struggles and have the tools to fix them. While you are in the process of deciding whom to pick, be sure to ask the potential partner for clients they have served in the past. Once you have received a list, determine which clients have a similar scale and needs as your own, and ask them questions that draw out their opinions about the prospective firm.
A company that has substantial previous experience with companies similar to yours is more likely to understand your issues and have the tools to fix them.
Once the outsourcing firm has been determined, contact center heads need to make efforts to maximize the relationship’s potential. The first step should be convincing your department of the reasoning behind the decision. There may be hard feelings from such a significant shift in your operations. Be up front about whether it is a budgetary issue, performance issue, or something else. It may be useful to discuss job security if it is applicable. Once tensions have subsided, members of your contact center and leaders in the outsourced firm should meet on a regular basis to discuss performance expectations, collaboration issues, and next steps. For the firms you are working with, set early and clear performance expectations. Reevaluate them as needed and work together on mutual problems. If the company chronically under-performs on key areas, it may be time to move to someone else.
It is best to be up front about the reasons behind the decision, whether budget, performance, or otherwise.
Outsourcing can provide great value to a contact center function, so long as you have the right partner. Setting early standards and evaluating performance against them is a good way to ensure your outsourcing relationship gets off to the right start and remains productive over time.