Call centers are centralized offices which are tasked with the job of receiving and transmitting large volumes of requests by telephones.
Call centers are primarily of two categories: inbound and outbound call centers.
Inbound call centers are set up to help with support related queries.
Usually, customers who face technical issues with their electronic equipment contact them for the call center solutions.
Outbound call centers are those which are maintained by organizations who specialize in telemarketing software or charitable activity etc.
Most call centers are usually domestic, i.e., their clients usually reside in the borders of the country in which they are set in. However, there are various call centers which are dedicated to international organizations and hence operate worldwide.
International Call Centers
Domestic call centers are those environments in which people handle call center software solutions relating to companies inside India.
However, in international call centers, people handle businesses which are situated beyond the borders of the country.
In such call centers, associates have skills which are exponentially better than that of their domestic counterparts, sound knowledge of the international mindset and the ability to convince their international counterparts in a familiar accent.
There are multiple countries in the world who are hosts to international call centers which use the best call center software.
This is because of the simple fact that worldwide call centers are one of the proven industry leaders in Global Call Center Outsourcing.
International call centers will always be an important part of global businesses.
In the recent times, these institutions have begun to offer more than just advice over the telephone.
In various countries of Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East, call centers are able to offer cloud call center software at rates that are tremendously low in comparison to the rates of the US and Canadian Call Centers.
Usually, call centers in the United States are quite competitive when it comes to activities that require a non-scripted approach.
Therefore, international call centers are excellent for applications such as sales, outbound, order taking, support, appointment setting etc.
Advantages and Disadvantages of International Call Centers
It is not unknown that outsourcing a call center to an international agency is a risky venture.
Therefore, it is advisable that people pair up the advantages against the disadvantages before setting up a contract with the international call center agents and in the process, arm themselves with an arsenal of questions to ask the potential service providers.
A few advantages and disadvantages of international call centers are hereby mentioned.
1. Reduction in costs as compared to domestic call centers
A huge number of call centers outsourcing companies usually maintain a workforce and a call center software of their own in their call center.
Apart from this, they also provide the infrastructure, telephony and the management team of their own.
The costs of the infrastructure, overheads and the labor costs are handled completely by the external service provider. Due to this, there are significant savings because of which the costs drop.
Furthermore, the call centers employ people from certain countries where the cost of living is drastically low as compared to the luxury countries such as the United States or the United Kingdom etc.
2. Elimination of staffing issues because of efficient workforce
When the external service takes over a massive number of operations, they also take over the role of employing the workforce.
By doing so, they handle all aspects of staffing starting from hiring, training, scheduling and managing the team of agents at the call center.
Due to this, the function of staffing becomes more efficient for the call center and most issues relating to personnel are eliminated.
This helps the parent company to save their time, money and the stress involved while staffing.
3. A round-the-clock service for a fraction of the price
International outsourcing centers allow companies to provide a round the clock service by functioning for all 24 hours of the day.
This thought may appear enticing but doing their job with the in-house agents is downright terrifying.
Therefore, a person who chooses to outsource for an external service provider has a complete win-win situation.
The online call center software provide a round-the-clock service, no customer is turned away or denied service at any point in time.
This is done without involving any hassles or problems regarding costs associated with maintaining a 24*7 in-house call center staff and the management team.
4. Availability of a multilingual workforce
International call centers generally receive calls from a customer base which consists of people from a wide range of countries.
Therefore, it is not surprising that the call center can receive support requests from diverse, multilingual customers.
In such cases, it makes sense that the outbound call center software chooses a workforce that can adequately meet the needs of the customers, cost-effectively.
However, the external service provider can easily tap into the international market and offer an adequate supply of their own who can easily converse with customers in their native dialect.
Thus, they can help to bridge the gap between the native customer base and the call center at a reasonable cost.
Disadvantages of International Call Centers
1. Barriers formed due to language and communication
Various factors such as accents, unclear pronunciation, and frank language difficulties affect the quality of the service provided by the call center.
Studies and surveys are conducted across various call centers resulting in the fact that when customer service representative spoke clearly, they were able to resolve customer problems more than 88% of the times.
However, when the case wasn’t so and they weren’t able to speak in a clear manner, they could only resolve customer problems 45% of the times.
Therefore, the barriers that are formed during the communication have a very large effect on the quality of service of the call.
2. Differences in the culture of callers and agents
In 2010, a study conducted by CFI stated that callers who were connected to a representative of his or her native country resulted in a happier service than of a call connected to an overseas agent.
In many cases, the call to an overseas agent can be off-putting.
Therefore, the difference between a connection to a native and overseas agent can have a huge impact on the service quality.
3. Linguistic and cultural barriers
Agents located overseas may lack the cultural knowledge, fluency, and communication required to communicate with the consumer. Because of this, the quality of service being provided to the consumer will not be quite up to the mark.
4. Decreased Control
When the call center is outsourced to an external service provider, various vital business functions are handed over to a stranger’s hands.
It often seems tempting to people to outsource their less than vital business functions to an offshore call center agency. However, in these cases, the call center sacrifices more than they had anticipated.
When this is done, monitoring the business becomes more difficult.
Due to this, it becomes difficult to check for quality assurance that helps to increase customer satisfaction.
Giving up the total control over the business function has a trickle-down effect with various factors such as customer satisfaction, efficiency, and service levels.
Tips for Working at an International Call Center
Agents and managers working at call centers should always be aware of the few tips before interacting with their clients. These tips include:
1. A Courteous Behavior
Agents should always treat each and every client with the utmost courtesy.
Before starting to advise them on their queries, agents should ask the caller on how they are to be addressed, pronounce their name correctly and use the name consistently.
They should always remain in a calm manner and speak clearly.
The caller should be allowed to finish before they start speaking.
2. Professional Behavior
Throughout the entire duration of the call, the agents should maintain a certain level of professionalism.
It is the agents who interact directly with the company’s clients and therefore should have adequate training.
Furthermore, they should be continuously monitored to check if they adhere to the quality standards as set by the company.
3. Treat the customers with respect
The customers should always be treated with respect.
During the entire call, agents must attempt to remain calm, act rationally and treat each and every caller as they were the most valued customer.
Respect also refers to being able to understand the needs of the caller and making an effort to accommodate them.
Agents should always provide solutions to a customer’s problem with compassion.
4. Have a trustworthy nature
It is essential to build trust so that the interaction with the customer progresses quickly and the company gets their brand awareness increased.
There are various factors upon which the factor of trust depends on and is dependent upon various ethical principles of character and competence.
There is a requirement of truthfulness, honesty, reliability, loyalty, and integrity.
The staff of agents should be regularly monitored to note whether or not they adhere to such values.
5. Have a confident nature
One of the most critical aspects of having a conversation with clients is confidence.
The staff of agents should be well trained, managed and monitored to handle even the most extreme situations confidently.
This instills self-assurance in the teams and helps their interactions to be more effective.
6. Being competent
All agents must be competent.
They should adequately address the situations and the customer’s needs.
If they find that the customer’s requirements are more than what they can handle, they should transfer the call to someone, who is more experienced to handle the situation.
7. Being interested
The agents must be genuinely interested in the customer’s question or concerns.
Doing so can help the conversation between both the parties be more enjoyable.
Usually call center work is highly monotonous and agents often try to keep the conversation fresh by asking personal questions, attempting to make a quick connection etc.
8. Providing a neutral opinion
Agents should never be biased or provide their own opinions in the conversation.
They should try and take a neutral stance in the conversation and at the same time empathize with the customer’s needs so that they don’t appear rude.
Using such a method can help the agents to solve the problems quickly.
Agents should proceed all calls with honesty.
They should never be unfaithful to their customers or try to make up the solutions that they do not know about.
If the problem turns out to be challenging than the agent’s understanding, he should politely transfer the call to an agent with the greater experience.
It is a common knowledge that change is the need of the hour.
Therefore, agents should be prepared to welcome any change as and when it is necessary.
During the times of change, pertinent information can be obtained that can change the course of the problem-solving efforts.
11. Being prepared
The motto of the boy scouts is used hugely in the field of outsourcing.
An agent should always be prepared with the best solutions.
Therefore, agents should have the complete information about the caller as it can help in resolving the concerns quickly.
12. Solving the issues with a smile
Agents should always be prepared to solve each and every situation with a smile.
Smiling also helps a person to send signals to his brain which in turn, makes the body to speak in a more positive manner.
It is because of this too that people should dress up professionally and in a clean manner.
While speaking in person, people can make out the tone of the speaker with their facial expressions.
During calls, such expressions are lost. Because of this, agents should be clear with their tone so that the person understands clearly what the other person is saying.
The agent should never put the client in an embarrassing position.
14. Profuse listening
Agents should listen profusely to the client before providing any solutions to them.
Listening carefully to someone is equal to treating them with respect.
Likewise, if a person works in a busy environment, they should do everything to keep on listening in a focused manner to the client.
15. Clearing all the doubts
The agent should clear all doubts while conversing with a client.
If a client feels that they are not connecting, they should talk to the client.
Instead of guessing, they should ask them directly about everything that they need for the software.
It is common knowledge that telephonic communication is hard, but they soon get easier with time.
Therefore, the longer that a person works at a call center, they easily learn to adapt.
Employing various tips such as the above mentioned can help the conversations become more efficient and pleasant.