Hiring a call center to manage your customer services is a lot like hiring an employee.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of highly qualified, capable applicants. The problem isn’t finding someone who can do the job. The problem is finding the right person to do the job for your company.
That’s why we’ve broken down seven things to look for when searching for call center customer services. Just because a call center worked for your competitor or IBM doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind.
#1. Proper Size
The first thing you need to consider when looking into a call center is whether they’re the right size for your business.
The best way to figure this out? Look at the size of your business.
Are you a small company with under 50 employees? Or are you looking to outsource a program 1000+ seats strong?
If you’re a small business, you’d probably be better served by a smaller, local call center. On the other hand, if you’re fielding calls from all over the world, you’re going to need a call center with multi-national capabilities.
#2. Accuracy of Information
You’ll also want to make sure that your potential call center is on top of the most important asset: your customers.
Think of it this way.
Your customers have come to expect a personalized experience. It’s difficult to give them that experience if your call center doesn’t even have the right information about them. And if they don’t have the right information, this can lead to delayed service delivery and irritated customers.
This information should include your customers’ basic information, but it should also go one step further. Your call center should be able to access that customer’s entire interaction history, like emails, support tickets, and orders (to name a few).
#3. Efficiency of Agents
If your agents have the right information, the next question is how good they are at using it.
After all, your customers want a quick, easy solution, and it’s more cost-effective for you to provide each customer with a quick and easy solution.
For example, how much time does each agent spend on the phone with an individual customer?
If your call center agents aren’t equipped with the tools needed to help a customer immediately, they may have to rely on pen and paper and then update their system once the call is over.
Besides being wildly inefficient, there’s a higher chance of data inaccuracies, information overwhelms, and many other forms of human error.
#4. International vs. U.S.-Based
You also need to consider whether your call center is international or based in the United States. It might seem like a question of logistics, but it’s actually one of the first things you should identify.
International call centers are generally more cost-effective, but they also tend to offer fewer services. Plus, their agents typically have accents and may not understand the nuances of what your customers are saying.
Call centers based in the U.S. are typically more expensive, but that’s because their agents speak English as their first language (also, they tend to offer more comprehensive services).
#5. Inbound vs. Outbound
In addition, you should consider whether you want an inbound or an outbound service.
Inbound call centers, offer many of the services you’ve come to expect from a call center, such as:
- Answering questions about your products and services
- Dispatching technical assistance
- Process payments
- Dispatch calls to you if a customer needs to speak to someone inside the company
Some call centers also offer outbound services, which include things like lead generation, compiling survey data, and cold-calling, among other services. The idea here is that instead of simply receiving customer calls, the call center becomes a tool for you to actively grow your customer base.
#6. Client Support Method
Of course, the way that a call center supports a client is also important.
We’re talking about customer service, but we’re also talking about the client (i.e. you). After all, the call center serves your customers, but their customer is you.
How does the call center work with you? Do you have a client services manager that you can rely on for any issue, whether it’s IT or reporting? Are there several different managers to help you with different areas?
The key is to find a client services model that makes you feel most comfortable. You should feel like your call center is responsive and useful, not a burden.
As all business owners know, the price is a huge factor when selecting any service.
In particular, you want to look at the price relative to location (tying into our earlier point about international vs. US-based call centers).
Some companies do well with an offshore call center. For those companies, the cheaper price is a benefit.
For others, the cheaper price is a lure for a service that won’t actually work for them.
The key is to assess (realistically) what your company needs from a call center and what you’re willing to pay for it.
More Tips Beyond Call Center Customer Services
Finding the right call center customer services for your company might seem like an uphill battle. But remember, many hiring managers feel that way about hiring a new employee.
The right one is out there. You just have to be patient and diligent enough to find it.
And if you need more advice to be smarter with your business dollar, head to our blog for more helpful tips and tricks, like these five awesome benefits of switching to a private cloud system.