Call centers are all about human interaction. If call center quality is important to you, bear in mind that a potential outsourcer’s performance is only going to be as good as the level of communication they have with you.
You should not have to be a call center expert. That should be the job of your call center account representative. A really good rep will conduct an in-depth interview with you. Be very leery of a company that has saddled you with a contact who doesn’t ask good questions. A sample of just a few of the areas your rep should ask for details on includes:
- What is prompting people to call (advertisements, referrals, service contracts, etc.)?
- What types of calls will be coming in (sales calls, service requests, technical questions, etc.)?
- What industry terminology, company policies, and product and/or service knowledge will the call center reps need to be trained for?
- Will there need to be any interaction with your own applications (website, CRM, appointment calendars, etc.)?
- What is the primary goal of the project (generating revenue, improving service levels, reducing costs, etc.)?
If no one is asking you these kinds of questions, how can you and your callers possible get really good call center quality?
You should also expect some value-added services. Ideally, an outsourced call center should have experience in your industry so they can provide you with information on best practices and procedures to improve efficiency, control costs, and meet your overall goals.
Once your account representative understands what you need and how your account should be structured, he or she should provide you with a total cost estimate, not just pricing. You need to know what an average billing cycle will look like, any setup fees you will be charged for and any subsequent administrative or account update fees that will be applied. You don’t want to deal with anyone who won’t be completely forthcoming about all charges.
The last step is to ask for references and then actually talk with them. You need to know that they have been happy with the quality of the call handling their outsourced call center is providing, the accuracy of the information they receive from them, the responsiveness of their vendor and the level of control they feel they have had over their service levels and budget.
You deserve to have a confident answer to the question: “Am I going to receive call center quality without any surprises?”
This blog was written by Laurie Leonard, the President of SUITE 1000, a U.S. based national telephone answering service, inbound call center and outsourced call center service. Her company has specialized in handling legal intake, sales leads, email lead response, appointment scheduling, customer service and help desk calls for over 20 years.