Having recently spent the day at the CCA Annual Convention in Glasgow, it has given me time to reflect on the nature of outsourcing within the Call & Contact Centre market. Many businesses – owing to size or available technology – have chosen to strike up a partnership with a company that they feel best meets their customer service requirements.
Research has shown that customers are only prepared to wait for ten minutes on hold before they will hang up. If you are really busy, and that ten minute deadline look unachievable, there has to be another alternative to keep the customer onside. This is where an outsourcing agreement comes into play – you can meet the demands of your customers without sacrificing the time of your existing employees.
Typically, outsourced operations cover most hours of the day, as well as most days of the week in order to maximise the opportunities that your customers have to reach a service representative. Using an outsourced function also gives you the ability to scale up / down your customer support facilities, depending on need.
The key thing about choosing a business to outsource to is partnership. This is a working relationship that absolutely has to be in sync. You must align your business with one that reflects your work ethic and values – this is the best way to ensure that your customers don’t experience any less of a service than if they had contacted you directly. Your priorities, when it comes to customer service, should be indistinguishable.
At the same time, your trust in your chosen outsourcing partner should be at such a level that you are willing to give them the authority to make their own decisions when it comes to meeting a customer’s needs. They should be allowed to go “off script” if they are able to provide a suitable solution to a problem or request. You should have the confidence that the you have partnered with the right level of expertise to get the job done.
Equally, the business that you choose to work with should be able to demonstrate the value that they add to your objectives and goals. Whether this be through investment in technology; developing the skills of their people; or collecting data and feedback from customers. After all, whilst you may not be able to provide the service directly, you still need to know that the customer experience is of the highest possible standard. The focus should be on doing the right thing for the customer.
Call Centres should be thriving environments full of conversation. They can offer the very best customer experience when they are home to a good culture, opportunities to learn and motivational leadership. If you are choosing to outsource your customer service requirements, these are the things to look for when entering a business partnership.
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