Call Center Staffing: Expand or Outsource HR and Personnel Management?
So, your business is on the rise. As your sales increase, your company will need to expand to accommodate that growth, particularly in the realm of your customer care department. When thinking about customer service, it can be easy to only picture the customer-facing side of call center staffing. However, before agents can ever face customers (electronically or in-person) numerous behind-the-scenes Human Resources and personnel management tasks must take place — the work necessary to recruit, onboard, train, and manage those agents.
You may want to ask yourself if it is in your company's best interest to expand your in-house HR team and functions, or is it time to consider outsourcing call center staffing responsibilities. Here are some considerations to take into account when making the decision.
If you have the processes, the procedures, the SOP’s, etc., then perhaps it is feasible for you to add to your management team.
But, technology is also a factor. If you are expanding your personnel operation to support more call center agents, it could push you past the point where you can no longer use Excel as a makeshift tool for scheduling and workforce management or rig your old phone system to try and get more complex routing processes, etc.
At some point, to expand your operation, you are looking at investments in workforce management, cloud-based phone platforms, QA systems, structured training, official QA processes, and more HR personnel. Now it starts to get expensive to acquire the technology, and more expensive to employ the personnel operate all of it.
What About Outsourcing?
If you have tried expanding before, or if you are looking into the costs of expansion, you may ask yourself if it would be more cost-effective to hire someone else to handle this work instead. You are not alone! HR is one of the most common outsourcing targets for growing companies, because the right outsourcer could make your life MUCH easier.
A good outsourcer has made it their business to handle the recruiting and hiring of the right personnel for contact center customer service functions. They have developed the proper interview techniques to ensure they will filter out bad employees to provide a solid team of core personnel. Here are some additional considerations:
- Specific professional expertise. Your in-house HR department is responsible for recruiting, hiring, benefits management, and a host of other personnel details across your entire company. Call centers require different skills and expertise. An outsourcing partner that specializes only in call center staffing has the established relationships and other resources to succeed in this extremely competitive arena.
- Reduced turnover. With higher quality hiring, you can look forward to less turnover. Agent churn is a major problem for many call centers. It is not only expensive, but it can destroy continuity and productivity, damaging customer service and your company’s reputation.
- Greater agility. You need to be able to ramp up quickly for peak seasons or special sales events, while also being able to recoil during slower periods. An outsourced HR provider has a pool of qualified, available candidates that you may not be able to create on your own.
- Administrative relief. HR regulations are complex and ever-changing, even more so when it comes to call center staffing and operations. Compliance is critical, yet it takes time to stay abreast of every detail. Simply handling the paperwork associated with hiring, payroll, reporting, and otherwise managing employees is very time-consuming. Outsourcing lifts these burdens and gives you greater peace of mind, knowing nothing is being overlooked.
- Internal focus on customer service. With someone else handling HR and personnel responsibilities, you can concentrate internal time and energy on improving the experience your call center offers customers.
Quite often, companies reach a point where the number of people they are recruiting, on-boarding, training, and managing has grown beyond their capability to manage, or it becomes too big of a distraction from the focus on their core business functions.
You Could Outsource a Piece of Your Call Center
As you continue to grow, you may decide that it makes more sense to offload a portion, or all of your call center operations, not just the staffing component. With the right partner, outsourcing can save your company precious time, recapture funds now spent on facilities and labor, reduce exposure to future technology acquisitions, and enable you to focus more directly on core business initiatives – all without sacrificing productivity or customer service quality. (You might even see a boost in both performance and results!)
For now, evaluating whether it is best to expand internally or outsource HR will allow you to accommodate your rising call center staffing needs in the most efficient and effective manner.