While the importance of customer service to the bottom line means that many business owners, managers, and customer support leaders will try to do everything themselves in this area, it can get very tricky trying to fit it all in every day.
If you’re finding it a struggle to stay on top of customer service and technical support while at the same time keeping productivity levels high, it might be time to think about utilizing an outsourced call-center service. These types of companies don’t just answer calls for their clients, but can also handle tasks such as assisting customers, conducting surveys, getting feedback, and gathering other data.
With so many different providers to choose from these days though, it can be tricky trying to decide which option is best for your needs. Read on for some tips you can follow to help you choose the right call-center service today.
Determine Your Specific Needs
The first step in finding a call center for your business is knowing what your actual needs are when using a service. You should have this clear in your mind before you start researching options and interviewing potential choices.
While call centers might come across as quite similar when you first start to look, the fact is that they can all offer quite different things. For instance, some call centers will only operate via the phone, while others will also answer emails, chat live online. As well, some firms will handle only incoming calls from customers, while others will also dispatch calls to your office if people need to speak directly with a company representative, or even offer outbound services like cold calling.
Keep in mind, too, that call centers are based in different locations. You should therefore know, before you make your choice, if you want the call center you use to be local or not. If it is overseas, you should think about if there is a particular country you would prefer (the cultural fit often needs to be examined here).
Find out What the Price Includes
Next, it is important to examine exactly what the different call center companies will include for the prices they quote you. You want to be able to compare “apples with apples,” as the saying goes, so ask each provider a wide range of questions.
Depending on what you have decided you’re looking for in a call center, you may need to find out things such as:
- Is 24-hour service provided, or is service limited and if so, to which hours?
- Is service provided 365 days of the year?
- What type of call volume can be handled?
- Can the call center grow with your needs?
- How often will you receive updates and other communications?
- What will wait and hold times be like for customers?
- Which KPIs can be covered, and which reports will be provided?
- What will the ramifications be if KPIs are not met? Will discounts or bonuses be provided?
- How are customer service operators chosen?
- How much training do the staff members receive, and what sort of qualifications or experience do they have?
- Which languages do operators speak?
- Can the company handle tasks such as appointment scheduling, outbound services, social media interactions, and customer follow ups?
- Is there any extra cost for CRM integration?
Something else you should find out from each call center you consider is how they handle outages. Since this unit is likely to become an integral part of your business, any downtime that occurs can be a real issue and harm your standing with customers unable to get through. As such, ask providers what their disaster-recovery plan is and their past downtime rates. This will help you to find a dependable call center.
Examine Security Provisions
Lastly, never sign on the dotted line with a call center company if you haven’t closely examined their security provisions first. It is vital that providers can keep both the data of your customers safe, and that of your business, too. Apart from selecting workers carefully, call centers should have tight security on their technologies and processes.
Find out from the providers you’re interested in how they store and transmit data, and if they would separate your organization’s information from that of other firms to protect against data corruption and fraud. In this digital time where hackers continually find ways to get access to individual and business information, it is imperative that call centers secure their computer systems and networks well. As such, they should have comprehensive security software installed that includes ransomware protection, plus utilize firewalls and strong passwords, and perform regular updates.
About the Author
Tiffany Rowe is a marketing administrator who assists in contributing resourceful content throughout the World Wide Web. Tiffany prides herself in her ability to provide high quality content that readers will find valuable. When not researching, editing or submitting content you can find her doing Yoga, photography, D.I.Y crafting and dog training.