How to Know Your Call Center Will Represent Your Brand Properly
In this day and age, with increased specialization, movement toward more virtual operations, and extremely low unemployment rates, businesses are increasingly outsourcing their call center operations. In doing so, they will often achieve better results and eliminate the many human resource-related headaches.
But, not just any outsource provider will do. Your customers assume they are talking directly to you, and you definitely want them to think that is the case. To properly represent your brand, call center agents must be able to speak in your voice and reflect your company’s culture in their demeanor.
“We work to mirror our clients’ brand on all interactions,” says Jeff Austin, a call center manager at The Connection®. “We do this by including their brand in our call flows so that even word choice matches their culture. Personally, I love how each client within the call center has its own vibe, and you can feel the client’s brand when you walk through each specific area of the center.”
So, how do you know whether a call center partner will represent your brand properly? Start by considering these three things.
Assess Your Current Situation
Is your internal team (or outsourcing provider) doing a good job representing your brand? Or, is weak training, turnover, and disorganized management getting in the way? Is slow or poor service weakening sales and damaging your brand’s reputation? Are you experiencing costly returns? Is there an overall lack of professionalism?
When you have that gut feeling that all is not right, and perhaps it is time for a change, you can effectively evaluate potential providers.
Determine What a Good Partner Looks Like
When you meet potential partners, be aware of how the initial interactions take place. Are they quick to talk about their capabilities and brag about their successes? Or are they interested and inquisitive about you and your company? Any good partner needs to know if/that they will be a good fit for you, and a good partner will be very interested in your business because they want to ensure that they have the right people and capabilities to properly represent your brand.
If you find yourself nodding your head and feeling positive about your potential partner’s questions and comments about your company, that is a good first sign.
In addition to contact center services, your potential partner may provide any number of additional or ancillary services that could be useful. Initial review of what your company does and how it does it will allow them to ascertain if there are multiple ways they can help and provide assistance.
Meet the People
Their people will become your people in the eyes and ears of your customers. So, if you expect premium results, you must have premium-minded representatives. Look for low turnover, because a revolving door wastes time and money on repeated training and still leaves you with inexperienced and under-skilled agents. That can damage your brand and make it more difficult to develop the kind of long-term business relationship you are be looking for.
You will need to teach them about your business and products, but try to look for a partner with successful experience serving companies like yours. The best provider will assign a permanent liaison — maybe even an entire team — to strengthen understanding of your unique challenges and quirks and to facilitate continuous improvement.
"Integrating the brand and culture starts during a new client onboarding,” Jeff says. “It carries through the training, and is reinforced once the team is in production. We integrate our client’s branding throughout the production floor to create the visuals for the client’s brand, but, more importantly, the culture is integrated into the call flow and how our team interacts with our client’s customers on a daily basis.”
Be sure to ask about quality assessment processes. Once brand standards are established, quality control takes over. “When our supervisors are doing side-by-sides where word choice can be tweaked, we provide real-time coaching to our call center representatives on alternatives to give the best representation of the client’s brand,” Jeff explains.
Your Call Center Should Feel Safe
The decision to outsource is a big one and the right partner will be empathetic and knowledgeable about the feelings and concerns you have and the process to undertake to ensure success. Make sure they have done it before by checking references. When you pick the right partner, it should feel safer, not riskier. Sit back and let them do the heavy lifting, but keep a high-level and mindful eye on the results. After all, they are representing you to your customer.