When weighing the decision to offshore a contact center( call center outsourcing), quality concerns are always at the forefront of the discussion. After all, we’ve all heard the stories of what sometimes happens when large corporations outsource their customer service departments: Service quality declines due to language barriers and the disruption of the company’s established knowledge base. Accounts like these put many small business owners in a tight place: They know they need to outsource offshore thanks to their limited budgets. At the same time, they’re unsure as to whether or not they can successfully do so.
When you research the topic more deeply, however, a more multifaceted picture emerges. Many large corporations make the shift to outsourcing in a sweeping, disorganized way. They hire call center employees en masses (to serve their large-scale needs) without doing adequate quality control. Moreover, they often fail to implement comprehensive training programs.
Obviously, if you’re a small business owner, the process of call center outsourcing will be much different. You’ll be able to work one-on-one with an agency, getting to know them and what they do in detail. There will be far fewer opportunities for communication gaps to form and training programs will be more manageable. Outsourcing can, in short, really work for small businesses—but you have to be aware of its benefits and limitations, first.
The Pros and Cons of call center outsourcing
- You can secure quality services at a fraction of the cost. This is, of course, the primary reason companies outsource their contact centers—it fits much better into their budget.
- You can get flexible, small-scale services. Outsourcing agencies tend to be a lot more flexible than on-site staff—an invaluable advantage for small businesses. Outsourced staff can be asked to work only after hours (allowing you to handle customer service inquiries during the day) or around the clock. When times are lean, they will often agree to work on a part-time basis.
- When you hire offshore personnel, you won’t need to deal with common staffing hassles. Instead, the offshore agency is responsible for hiring qualified employees and training them to perform customer service duties. They will also take care of scheduling duties and the day to day management of the team.
- Misunderstandings due to language barriers and cultural differences. While many call centers employ staff who are fluent in multiple languages, this is not always the case. To maximize your chances of success, hire contact center staff from countries with a high rate of English literacy. Both Sri Lanka and the Philippines, for example, are known for their large English speaking populations.
- Infrastructure issues. Not all outsourcing destinations have reliable technological infrastructure, and this can cause service delays and interruptions. Be sure to choose an offshore destination that has modern services and amenities. (Once again, Sri Lanka is a good option.)
As you can surmise from the above information, outsourcing your call center services usually has more pros than cons for small business owners… But only if you do your homework beforehand. Remember: You should always research a call center thoroughly and ask for references before hiring them.