Upgrade vs Outsource: 5 Things to Consider In Your Call Center
There may be advantages to maintaining an in-house call center, at least for some companies. However, if your business is growing, there may come a time when you have to question whether it is better to upgrade your technology and infrastructure or outsource your call center.
This can be a daunting decision because your call center directly affects:
- Sales and revenue
- Personnel deployment
- Brand reputation
- Customer loyalty (which circles back to sales and revenue)
There are a lot of factors to consider, and how the pros and cons stack up will depend on your specific needs and goals.
An in-house call center gives you complete control, physically and functionally. You choose the people, the place, and the technology. However, you also need to manage all of that. Overhead expenses can skyrocket when your call center needs expanding, and you will have to set aside valuable capital resources to pay for expansion, upgrades, and so on. Technology is evolving rapidly, and the efficiency and effectiveness of your contact center may depend on deploying some new bells and whistles.
So, what do you need to successfully upgrade your call center?
One of the biggest frustrations of in-house call centers is the cost of lost sales and reputation when volume spikes and agents fall behind. A professional call center company can take these fluctuations in stride, easily ramping up or scaling back as needed.
Many call center companies have multiple locations, so they can draw upon any one of those locations when they need to scale. But what about your call center? You probably do not want to open another location, and looking for new labor is time-consuming and expensive, especially with high turnover rates in the call center industry.
If you are trying to scale in a tight labor market, can you successfully scale and maintain quality? If agent skills suffer, your clients and customers will suffer. So, if you are going to scale internally, make sure you do not sacrifice quality for quantity!
As omni-channel communication with your customers becomes ever more omni-present, it is crucial not to fall behind. Email communication, webchat, chatbots, and more all present opportunities, but they come at a high price. And then what if you do install new technologies? Do you have the people internal to your organization to run, maintain, and manage? Make sure you know all the costs of acquiring, installing, and maintaining new technology.
Also, new technologies can help drive down call volume, or make handing the volume more cost effective, but you may need to look outside of your organization for the expertise to make that happen.
There is a financial cost to scale your call center. Recruiting, increasing infrastructure, and adding technology all come with a price tag. And there is an opportunity cost as well. If key personnel are investing time on adding some staff to the call center, what is that costing you in time and energy away from other mission-critical endeavors such as research, product development, market expansion, or marketing?
Not all call centers are the same. They vary significantly in range of services, quality, staffing, value-added services, and relationship-building ability. Your priorities should drive your decision to upgrade or outsource, and if you choose outsourcing, who you choose as your partner.
It All Comes Down to Trust
Outsourcing will be a smart move only if your new call center partner can sustain (or exceed) the experience your customers receive now. Customer loyalty is priceless, so make sure that is maximized as you make decisions on how best to grow your call center.
Finally, before you make a decision, visit prospective call center partners. Tour their facility. Talk to their people. See for yourself if their agents have the interpersonal skills over the phone to represent your company to customers.