Customer service outsourcing has received a lot of attention over the past several years.
Some of it has focused on benefits like reduced costs or improved performance while other conversations have focused on the drawbacks of offshore outsourcing and its inherent downsides.
Despite the controversy that surrounds call center outsourcing, it's clear that customer service outsourcing has potential advantages for many businesses. But those advantages aren't automatic. In fact, the single most important factor in the success of third-party customer service is the effort you put into choosing a customer service outsourcing partner.
The relationship between a business and an outsourcing partner is similar to a marriage. You wouldn't choose a mate on a whim (hopefully), so why would you carelessly select the provider to whom you will entrust your customer service? Here's what you need to know about selecting a customer service partner that can maintain and improve your call center performance.
- Evaluate requirements. Every selection process begins with an intentional evaluation of your customer service requirements. After you have thoughtfully compiled a list of must-have call center features, codify these requirements in a formal document to guide the selection process.
- Target competent providers. Shotgun searches waste time and dilute the selection process. Instead of throwing RFPs to a large cadre of outsourcing providers, focus your search on the providers that are actually capable of delivering the level of service described in your requirements document.
- Take a multi-departmental approach. Customer service affects multiple departments in your company. Don't restrict your search team to upper-level managers and a customer service supervisor, but include representatives from several departments in the selection process.
- Conduct site visits. Never choose a customer service outsourcing partner without conducting one or more site visits. Observe the provider's business model and work processes, and if possible, listen in on a few customer service conversations.
- Allow time for the process. Choosing the right customer service partner doesn't happen overnight. Allow enough time to conduct a thorough and comprehensive search process before making any decisions.