According to some international surveys, most outsourcing processes are more than capable of playing amongst the most important roles for the great improvement of efficiency of business processes using the best available tools and systems in the market including modern cloud based software such as the best call center software available in the market.
This importance is slowly rising in our current generation as more companies now depend on outsourcing their various important functions in this day and age of internet and constant communication.
What is call center outsourcing, any newcomer to the industry might ask. Basically, call center outsourcing is now considered to be a very important step in the business that is more often than now outsourced because of the multiple advantages it can provide to the companies, with the help of call center software.
However, there is increasing competition in the market and also in the race to win in the field of advancement of the technology; thus, we can see that the challenges of call center outsourcing vendors are increasing day by day.
This article has the aim to enlighten the several major challenges that are faced by the call center outsourcing companies and what can be done to resolve them to an extent.
Outsourcing, with the help of call center software solutions is a way for companies to disperse the present risks, lower the costs and enable present talent to focus on issues which are critical to the company matters.
Outsourcing can also help companies to improve the own call center procedures which would enable them in gleaning insights and practice the best practices from the more experienced outsourcing vendors.
However, there are several imminent risks that a company can face when the company turns the control over of a service to a vendor outside the company.
Coupled with poor customer service, frequent data breaches and spiraling rising costs, they are all risks that should be taken into consideration and can prove to be quite costly to the company in the longer run.
Regardless of what call center management software you are using to manage the business form of the company, there will come a point in your career when you will question if you should build a proper call center in-house or an outsource customer service.
Before delving deeper, it should be important to note that delivering outstanding or perfect customer service all the time can be a real challenge for today’s contact center, even if they use the best cloud call center software solutions.
This is because advances in the technological field has led to a higher consumer expectation, which only adds to the already existing and rather expensive task of running a proper call center business.
Rather than deterring companies, this has motivated them into finding more and more efficient ways of reducing customer service costs without sacrificing the quality of it.
For many companies, the solution is considering the outsourcing of all or a portion of their contact center for better handling.
When done correctly with the help of virtual call center software, outsourcing can be a helping hand in streamlining operations; however, if it is done incorrectly without proper research, this particular arrangement can end up aggravating customers and negating any of costs saving with a losing business, or worse, a destructive brand perception.
Many smart companies today choose to bypass most of the typical call center challenges by using outsourcing technique for their call center services, using the help of a reliable service provider, which in turn helps them in bypassing all of infrastructural and administrative hassles while cutting costs at the same time.
Most of the call centers come with an entire measurement system with the use of call center software used mainly for analyzing overall performance of an executive.
If you are unsure of the prices of these services, you can check out the call center software pricing to get a good idea about it.
Today, however, the call center industry, all around the world is facing massive challenges, including rising employee churn rate to extreme unforgiving competition from emerging markets.
One of the biggest challenges the companies face is the attrition rates. Attrition rates that hover around the mark of 25 to 40 percent have been a long standing disadvantage of the call center industry.
Such significant attrition rates are highly undesirable situations for any management, and when it comes to call centers, it is really detrimental, since when an employee decides to leave the organization; it leads to a double dose of inconvenience.
This is because firstly, the resulting void left by the employee actually hampers the quality of customer support being provided by the company.
Furthermore, filling up the now vacant position with a new agent, their subsequent training, and their fitting into the company module can cost quite a lot as well.
Call centers around the world have gathered a bad reputation as being particularly demanding and cruelly unconcerned when it comes to employee health concerns especially those working in customer support.
There is a constant pressure on the agents to get them work at odd times, sometimes even very late at night and perform at their peak throughout their shift in order to satisfy customers’ rising expectations, making them unhealthy and under a lot of stress.
Ultimately, these conditions results in failure to show up to work properly, thereby reducing employee productivity, and create a negative impact on their morale.
One of the biggest operational challenges in the call center industry is an industry which has outgrown its peak growth, but is still pushing forward instead of relying on that growth to maintain a balance.
Companies who have outsourced call center operations know of the several drawbacks that essentially exist within the outsourcing market.
Therefore, sometimes they are wary of investing in fresh investments that invariably result in slow growth for the sector, hampering progress and profit in the longer run.
Companies are, therefore, also considering new outsourcing destinations all the time that are significantly cheaper in comparison to existing markets such as India and are more opportunistic about growth and development, and places that also have better native English speakers for the betterment of the company.
In the formative or fetal years of new call center growth, in the time span when the call center culture had just begun to take root and multiply, it was shown that commercial property was comparatively cheaper even in tier 1 cities.
But in today’s world where money matters the most, it has been noticed that as real estate prices have hit the roof throughout the world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to build up and maintain a proper call center business while still offering the cost price advantage.
India, which is a popular call center outsourcing market, suffers heavily from the accent triggered communication gap.
While there is no doubt that most of the Indian call center companies and their agents have a good knowledge of the English language, the problem lies completely elsewhere.
It seems that their accent doesn’t go down well with many western customers. They find it to be fake, and more importantly, they think that the Indian accent is unintelligible and not at all understandable.
Therefore, there is a great communication gap which becomes inevitable and the customers soon starts getting frustrated as they think they are not being understood properly.
Therefore, in this case, countries like Philippines, where the majority of the population that works in the call center services speak in a Western-accented English naturally, therefore has a greater advantage.
Maintaining Decent First Call Resolution (FCR) Rate is becoming a challenge for the companies looking for outsourcing of the customer service.
For call centers, FCR is the litmus test of customer satisfaction. This means that whenever any caller initiates a conversation with any agent, they are expecting that their grievance will be addressed and taken care of right away.
In case the caller is expected to engage with multiple agents on a simple and often single set problem, the satisfaction level of the customer will automatically take a dip.
However, it is also true that in today’s tech-savvy world full of tech-savvy customers, they are bound to ask more and more convoluted questions for their agents, which maybe are not so easy to solve at one go, or by one person at the shortest time possible.
There is something in the call center business that is known as The Outsourcing Butterfly Effect. What happens is that basically the foreign business clients are essentially the lifeblood of the call center industry to which the customer service has been outsourced to.
So, if there is any change in the Western socioeconomic or political situation, the effect of it will generate quite a few ripples in India.
For example, if a foreign government enacts a law that restricts and curbs companies from outsourcing, then it will definitely not be construed as good news by Indian businesses dealing in this call center affair, essentially shutting these businesses down.
This in turn will make such outsourced markets suffer the loss of business and valuable revenues. In addition if there are certain other countries that offer better and concrete government policies for setting up offshore call centers, then it also impacts call centers in places that the foreign companies are already outsourcing to.
All these problems bring us to the next segment of this article, that is, solutions to these challenges that the call center companies face.
1. High Attrition Rate: It is no news that the call center industry suffers from a high attrition rate, which means that every time a trained agent leaves the firm, there are fewer number of people at hand who will ensure the smooth execution of work.
This must be stopped as soon as possible by providing better opportunities to your employees.
2. In order to stop the attrition rates protective steps, such as cycling of employees, careful promotions, proper assessment must be taken into consideration.
3. It is very important to hire employees who not just have a good resume, but also woth high work ethics. They must be chosen with the goal that the employees must be trustworth and hardworking, without having a fear of taking risks and understanding the consequences of these actions.
4. It is inevitable that social situations change ever so often. What is more important that the company must ensure that these changes do not affect the lives of the employees and that they always have a proper back up plan. Following world trends in this context is very important.
5. There has been an increase in the client expectations, no doubt. This isn’t always bad, as it can help your company push their boundaries further.
Training your employees top handle such situations is an important initiative that is worth looking into.
6. If you want to be better than your competitors, you have to throw out the age old customer of flat working experiences with limited growth and overtime stagnation.
Always plan of doing things differently, plan of more opportunities for your employees and customers alike to keep things fresh and have a progressive.
7. If you want better results from your employees, take care of them. Provide them with health care tips, provide year-end bonuses, keep them excited and on their toes for best results.
8. If you are looking for a long standing company, then you have to be prepared in shedding out a decent amount of budget for them.
In business situations, you need to invest a lot of revenue to get it back. Don’t be afraid to take risks of this manner.
9. Working in night shift can lead to serious health problems such as insomnia, RLS, hypertension, and it a medical fact that stress making the work timings unstable, which then becomes one of the major reasons for attrition, as candidates don’t want to work at unreasonable shifts, which can take a serious toll on their health as well.
These practices must be kept to a minimum.
10. After being in the call center industry for a considerable time, employees often find it difficult to venture outside the BPO sector and apply for other jobs because of the limited progression of the job and its lack of variety.
In addition, the changed biological rhythms make it very difficult for the employees to accommodate and adapt to a different work environment and situation.
To avoid going into this sort of rut, take care to cycle out employees and provide them opportunities to try new things. Caring about your employees can only make it better for everyone else.
11. FCR or First Call Resolution rate is important to achieve customer satisfaction, and it is an extremely critical point for call centers to be kept in mind.
It is not always possible or practical to provide a solution immediately with the number of increasingly complex queries coming in all the time.
12. You should keep in mind that there will be a point when all the progress will stop. It’s not a permanent state, but it is important to pay attention to it, as it is basically a state when you must make changes to the models of your company and do new things to prevent stagnation.
It is being too unrealistic to keep expecting that the performance graph will be on an upswing infinitely.
13. Customer attrition can be a huge problem in the call center industry, where at some points and in some situations, a customer may decide to deliberately and forcefully end a deal with the customer service provider or even prefer to avail the services of the competitor for their different reasons.
The cost of such losses can be humongous, but it’s not unrecoverable. It’s important to attract new customers, and make sure that your old customers are still loyal to your company through a variety of customer friendly ways.
14. Modern day call centers are equipped with latest call center software and various programming tools to manage a variety of different tasks.
Utilizing them and training your agents to use them can save up revenue overtime.
15. The communications between the people have changed to a great extent in this internet age. Apart from call and mail, customers have resources such as using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to send the message to the company across.
It is importing to tap into this valuable sources of criticism and advertisement as much as possible.
16. One type of outsourcing is offshoring, in which bigger companies relocate an entire business process such as a call center from one country to another completely, essentially increasing their reach and diversity within the company.
Many companies consider offshore outsourcing for these reasons, under the name of branches. It maintains a global market and sustains a better revenue.
17. In many overseas markets, call center jobs are considered very attractive, easy, and high paying and such jobs appeal to college graduates as their initial or first job fresh off the universities.
This is a gold mine that companies can tap into, creating a highly educated employee base willing to learn and take risks.
18. Overseas call centers also provide an extension of service hours. This means that such call centers allowing companies to staff phones all the time, all week.
This can be achieved by cycling between various call centers in various time zones to provide that all arount the clock support.
19. Companies can benefit from turning to offshore call centers by taking advantage of disaster recovery benefits.
This means having various sites scattered all around the world to help in ensuring that the data won’t be lost, or that the service won’t interrupted or corrupted in the case, let’s say, a rather unprecedented natural disaster or even an unseen power outage lasting days.
Potential pitfalls exist in establishing a call center overseas, but as long as precautions are taken, it should be too much of a problem.
The Case Study
We have done our best in providing a list of the challenges that outsourcing can present to you, and a list of solutions that can counter them.
However, knowing about them is not enough to help you in deciding what to do while engaging in such a procedure. To do so, a case study is important.
In this case study, we will study about an anonymous company CTM-SMF, a multinational company looking into venturing into the global market.
The Problem Scenario
The problems the company faced was establishing a customer service center that wouldn’t be based in California, their main headquarters alone.
They began to look into oversees options for outsourcing their call center business.
The challenges CTK-SMF faced were:
1. The attrition rates of the call center companies they were choosing for outsourcing seemed to be very high at the time.
2. It was difficult in getting their customers understand the accents and mannerisms of the customer service which saw a dip in the customer service facilities outside California and around Asia.
1. They contacted the outsourced customer service centers and provided them with initiative to help with the falling attrition rates, such as providing call center agents opportunities to visit and work at the California headquarters, and added bonuses so that the attrition rates remained below 25%.
2. They provided training manuals for the agents to follow while dealing with their customers to help both parties understand and cross that language barrier.
With a little care and time, there was improvement in the call centers that the company outsourced too. There were fewer complaints the rise of attrition rates was significantly lowering each passing year. In addition to these routines, CTK-SMF was able to outsource to other places around Asia as well.
Outsourcing is definitely not an easy task, nor will it the most rewarding for a certain amount of time being. But for those looking forward to increase their reach and touch global markets via call centers, outsourcing can be a useful tool.