Outsourcing: Keys to Success
By ICT Group/CACI
When you make the decision to outsource your contact center you can be assured you are not alone. Outsourcing initiatives within the contact center industry have been growing in size and significance for quite some time now.
The purpose of this article is to help you optimize your outsourced contact center relationships. We will define outsourcing “Keys to Success,” steps you can take to identify what you can expect from outsourcing, help you find the partner who can meet or exceed those expectations, and ensure the relationship is productive and efficient.
Key To Success: Understand What You Want from Outsourcing.
When an agency decides to consider outsourcing, the
following criteria come to mind as the most important
drivers in making that choice:
Among the most compelling reasons to outsource are: cost reduction, improved customer service, and access to leading edge technology.
Goal: Cost Reduction
Knowing the specific costs associated with your internal contact center solution will offer a basis for comparison with the outsource provider's cost structure. In many organizations the cost of in-house operations may never have been calculated. It includes, at a minimum, wages, benefits, rent or rent equivalent, telecom charges, other utilities, furniture, equipment, technology, IT resources, as well as other overhead or allocated costs.
Goal: Improved Customer Service
Outsource service providers have the ability to leverage highly skilled and well-trained resources. As an example, offering 24x7 multi-lingual customer support may not be a viable option for internal company operations. Utilizing pools of customer service agents in an environment with thousands of agents available provides the flexibility for firms not only to improve but to significantly enhance service.
Goal: Leading Edge Technology
Technology at an outsourcing firm is amortized over thousands of workstations at dozens of contact centers. Qualified outsourcing providers utilize best-in-class technology in a cost-efficient manner, allowing them to offer advanced contact center applications and tools to their clients within a competitive pricing strategy.
A state-of-the-art contact center provider will typically offer a fully integrated technology solution using the latest versions of the most appropriate applications. Organizations should expect outsourcing firms to offer top-tier technology for contact management, e-mail management and processing, call routing, Web integration, relational database and interactive voice response (IVR).
Key To Success: Make Your RFP Clear, Comprehensive and Well-Defined.
A successful transition to outsourcing starts with the
basics. As you evaluate outsource providers, knowing
the following information will help you create a well-developed
Establish the minimum criteria you expect from an outsource
Key To Success: Understand Your Outsourcer’s Hiring and Training Process.
The customers that utilize your contact center deserve and expect to be serviced in a friendly, efficient manner. Accordingly, customer service representatives’ skill sets and the training they receive can make a big difference in their ability to satisfy your customers.
Ask potential providers if you will be able to participate in the recruiting, hiring and training process for your team. Be wary of any vendor that does not have a welcome mat out for client participation.
The best outsourcing companies "recruit quality" and have programs designed to retain quality as well. They will work with you to establish a job profile, work background and technology expertise necessary to serve your customers.
Recruiters will staff to that profile, drawing from both in-house personnel and outside resources. Regular training to upgrade skills should be mandatory, and customer service representatives should have well-defined opportunities for professional development and advancement.
Key To Success: Contracts Should Offer Mutual Benefits
Work with providers to find the solution that meets your service goals and objectives. The contract should reflect service requirements and measurements that are well defined and meet your agency standards. Terms should clearly state how success or failure are measured, rewarded or penalized. The service level agreements should also clearly state how and over what time period the service delivery will be measured.
Key to Success: View the Relationship as a Partnership
Successfully outsourcing your customer contacts requires a relationship that is mutually supportive.
The provider will offer expertise and best practices in customer service, technology and cost management. Your organization brings subject matter expertise, agency culture and experience.
The two together form a relationship that will lead to a successful venture. As a client, you must invest the time and resources into helping your vendor understand the nuances of your organization and act as a mentor to create an effective bridge between the two organizations.
You should expect the service providers to offer proactive solutions based on their experience. Providers have typically experienced the same issues with multiple clients and industries. Expect them to recognize the need to address problems before they happen.
The outsource partner should be able to continually meet the following criteria:
• Ongoing quantitative demonstration
of the value of the relationship
Identifying the right outsource service provider requires time, due diligence and clearly established and communicated goals and objectives. A successful relationship will be one that lowers your costs, increases your service levels and improves satisfaction among your constituency–a “win-win” for you and your most valuable contacts, your customers!
CACI provides IT and network solutions for today's new era of defense, intelligence and e-government. CACI works in partnership with the ICT Group, Inc, a commercial best practice call center organization serving Fortune 50 companies in the pharmaceutical, financial, and telecommunications industries. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Source : ICT Group/CACI