Customer service continues to be a key factor in the success for most businesses. Handling customer queries on a daily basis is crucial for B2C and even B2B companies that rely on high value clients for their revenue and continued operations.
With the assistance of trusted BPO firms, more and more companies are beginning to outsource their customer support to third-party call centers. This proves to be a more cost-effective solution compared to setting up an in-house contact center. However, there are many factors to consider before making such an investment. To help guide business owners, we have compiled a list of pointers that can help you make the right decision when choosing a call center.
Maximum Call Volume
Most call centers won’t work with a company unless they hire a minimum number of agents. However, there are call center service providers that offer scalable packages and are prepared to start from as low as 5-10 seats per client. The real concern for most companies should in fact be the call center’s maximum capacity.
When searching for a call center, you need to start by first understanding the number of calls you expect to receive on a daily basis. It’s important to note that customers might not always contact you via telephone. Some prefer messaging or email, so the actual ‘call’ volume could be higher than anticipated. Unless you have a dedicated staff to entertain text messages from customers, you should always ask potential call centers if their agents can handle those queries in a professional manner. Some call centers offer dedicated chat and email support and it’s important to include them in your package.Either way, no customer queries should be unattended and the call center you work with must handle each and every one of them.
Multilingual agents are, more often than not, essential for most types of businesses. Online stores are especially prone to receiving calls from foreign customers. In 2020, both Asia and South America ranked as the top regions for online shoppers with almost 86% of the global share. Whether you’re looking to tap overseas markets or not, you need to ensure that the call center you hire offers support in the most popular global languages.
In our experience, customers tend to be more satisfied with a service if it’s provided in their native tongue. Plus, we see a larger percentage of those same customers coming back so enhanced retention rates is yet another benefit of being multilingual. Always select a contact center that offers fluent bilingual services along with any of the ancillary transcriptions.
Being always-on usually depends on the type of company in question. For example, B2B companies that specialize in niche verticals only need to be available during business hours. But an online store should always have a customer support service on standby, regardless of time zone.
Needless to say, 24/7 availability is a great feature to have for your business even if you feel it’s not necessary. Some call centers have agents operating in rotating shifts which allows them to be ready all the time, even during after hours and holidays. When selecting the call center you want to work with, always look for one which features 24/7 service along with a capable managerial staff who will ensure that there will always be someone ready to tend to a client.
Inbound & Outbound Services
Call centers are not just receiving calls, they also specialize in pursuing business leads. In fact, some call centers conduct more outbound calls than inbound. Services such as telemarketing and cold calling are vital for gaining new customers. However, it needs to be performed routinely and quite frequently in order to yield success. That is why using contact center outsourcing to offload this function to a third party is perhaps the best option for most companies.
Before choosing a call center, make sure that it offers high quality outbound call services in case you need to pivot your business strategy towards finding leads. Some centers can offer potential leads of their own, but they usually come at a high price. It is much more cost effective to be prepared with your own client list.
Call center agents are the frontline of a business. They are the ones talking to customers, representing a brand and satisfying their queries. More importantly, agents understand the needs of your clients better than anyone else. Because of this, it is imperative that you work with a call center that regularly compiles and shares feedback information based on their interactions. This includes everything from written reports, performance figures as well as some samples of recent calls that they had.
Having an organized database of call center feedback can be extremely helpful for those who want to learn how to improve their products and services. Online stores can use such information to tweak their product lines in order to get ahead of the competition. Call centers provide the means to create an effective feedback loop and their ability to gather reviews from hundreds of customers can be an invaluable asset for a company.
While 24/7 availability is important, even the most robust and well-equipped call center isn’t immune to unforeseen events that can knock out it’s operations. Natural disasters, cybersecurity attacks and network disruptions are just some of the things that can render call centers offline. While such disruptions are usually temporary, it can cause a substantial amount of damage such as revenue loss and information leak.
It is always prudent to check if a call center has a disaster recovery protocol before hiring them. Disaster recovery means that the call center has the ability to swiftly revert to its functional state. Cloud storage, uninterrupted power supply and standby computer systems are all standard disaster recovery equipment that a call center should have. Especially since safeguarding client details is extremely important for the integrity of your business.
Whether you are looking to expand your business or need to set up customer service for your brand, we hope this article helped you find the right direction before making a commitment. IdeasUnlimited is always open to sharing more business support expertise. Be sure to get in touch with us by sharing your thoughts in the comments below or by leaving us a message on our contact form.