Is your in-house team struggling to keep up with customer service calls and inquiries?
Are you hoping to enhance your customer experience this year?
Do you need to free up internal resources for big business projects and strategic planning?
If so, it might be time to outsource customer service to a dedicated call center.
Hiring an outsourced call center can be a major lifesaver—or a major headache, if done poorly. That’s why it’s so important to carefully consider your options and not just pick the cheapest option. When it comes to customer service, quality really has the ability to impact your bottom line.
In fact: did you know that 70% of customers will spend more money with a business if they have a good customer service experience?
It goes without saying, then, that it’s important to be selective when hiring a call center. You’ll want to make sure your call center can support your goals, grow with you as your business expands, has the technology to support the services you need, and aligns with your values and culture.
How to determine what you need from a call center
When considering what you need from a call center, ask these questions of yourself or your business:
- What pain points around calls or customer service are we looking to address?
- What are our goals for the next 1 years, 5 years, 10 years?
- Do we want to have an in-house or outsourced call center?
- Are we looking to focus on inbound or outbound calls?
- If you’ve worked with a call center before, what’s worked and not worked about your previous solutions?
Understanding your needs and goals will allow you to determine a call center that will be a good fit for you.
You can also start by looking at some of the services call centers provide and determining which of these services would be helpful for your team and company.
What to know before hiring a call center
Once you’ve determined your own business goals and pain points, you can establish a list of call centers that fit your needs.
Are you looking for inbound or outbound call center services?
Do you need an omnichannel approach or are you focused on voice calls only?
What are your company values that need to be reflected in a call center?
Global Response offers a wide range of services and call center solutions for businesses looking for a human-centered approach to customer service powered by the best in tech and strong data analytics. With over 40 years of experience working with consumer goods, retail, ecommerce, automotive, financial, healthcare services and more, Global Response’s expert customer service teams can provide the competitive advantage you need.
You may also want to consider issuing a call center RFP (request for proposal). With an RFP, you have the opportunity to describe exactly what you’re looking for in a call center, and relevant call centers can respond with bids to work on your team.
Sending out an RFP can help you get competitive offers from call centers who may be a good fit for you, but the costs between centers can vary quite a bit. As a result, you’ll want to make sure the scope of your RFP is aligned exactly to what you need and want.
How to properly vet a call center before hiring them
When hiring a call center, it’s important to spend as much care and energy getting to know your potential call centers as you would a new hire or full-time employee.
When interviewing and vetting different call centers, here are some things to keep in mind:
Call center references
When beginning a conversation with a call center you might want to partner with, always ask for references.
You want to hire a call center that has experience working with businesses similar to yours—either a similar size, with similar goals or in the same industry. If a call center can provide standout references, it’s a great way to make sure they’ll be able to deliver results for you as well.
In addition, you can look through their website to see if they’ve published white pages, use cases, case studies or other articles that detail the experiences and results they’ve accomplished for other clients. Reading through these can give you a clear picture of:
- the kinds of clients they work with
- the KPIs and metrics they focus on
- their culture and goals of their call center (i.e. are they data-focused? Do they care about creating a human connection?)
- the types of results you can expect
- the types of solutions they provide for different needs
If you like what you see from their case studies and references, it’s a good sign that this call center may be a good fit.
Call center history
When hiring a call center, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the call center history.
You’ll want to ask:
- How long has the call center been in business?
- What are the reviews of other businesses who have worked with this call center?
- Do they have proven experience getting results?
Check the website of the call center for reviews, case studies, white pages, general history or other details that will give you insight into the history and experience of the call center. It’s a good idea to look for call centers that have:
- been in business for a sufficient amount of time
- offer case studies or white pages that demonstrate their experience and results
- positive reviews from other businesses
Call center results
Of course, trusting that your call center can get the results you want is an essential aspect of vetting a call center.
If you’ve already looked into the history and references a call center provides, you should have an understanding of the kinds of results they’ve achieved in the past. Consider again the goals and pain points you’re looking to solve for. Does this call center offer the services and have the experience necessary to achieve those results?
Analytics and reporting capabilities are also a big part of understanding results. Your call center should have ample analytics and data dashboards to allow you to track the health and growth of your customer experience.
You may want to ask:
- What KPIs and metrics this call center tracks
- What reporting capabilities they have
- What reports and data they’ll share with you
- If they offer configurable data and metrics reporting dashboards
- Which data and metrics they find the most important
- How they’ve used data in the past to make changes and improve
Visit your potential call centers
Of course, if you’re planning to hire an offshore or nearshore call center, this may not be possible. But to any degree possible, you should absolutely visit your call center in person to get a sense of the business and culture.
Think about it: would you hire on a new employee without meeting with them first?
When you visit your call center, you can get a sense for not only their business and culture, but also:
- how motivated and energetic their call center agents are
- how their office and teams are organized
- get a sense of their day-to-day operations
Visiting in person is also a great way to get time to talk with leadership and dive into processes, systems and technology that may be part of your services and partnership.
How much does it cost to hire a call center?
The cost of hiring a call center varies greatly depending on the services you need, how many services you need, and where your call center will be located.
An onshore call center (located in the US) will be more expensive than an offshore call center in, say, India or the Philippines, but it can also provide valuable resources and exceptional customer service that is often worth the cost.
|Outsourced Call Center Pricing||Hourly|
|The US/Canada||$20 - $30|
|Eastern Europe||$12 - $15|
|Australia||$35 - $55|
|Africa / Middle East||$15 - $20|
|Latin America||$8 - $18|
|Asia / Philippines||$8 - $14|
|India||$6 - $10|
These prices are a general guide when it comes to outsourced call center pricing by region. However, remember that a call center is more than just a service—it’s a partnership that can provide valuable data, analytics, brand recognition, customer service and retention.
Some call centers may also charge per minute, so that you can pay for only what you need. The more minutes you pay for, the cheaper per-minute cost you’ll have. In general, you’ll see prices between $0.98 – $1.75 per minute.
With Global Resource, you can make sure you’re getting the exact services you need at a price that’s right for you. Check out our full list of services and contact a customer service expert today for a quote based on what you need—and nothing you don’t.
In house, onshore, offshore, or nearshore: which is right for you?
Finally, when choosing a call center, it’s important to consider the location of the call center and make sure it aligns with your needs.
From in-house to onshore, offshore, nearshore and even homeshore, there’s plenty of options, all with various pros and cons. If you’re not familiar with the differences, here’s a quick recap:
In-house call center: An in-house call center is one that you manage in-house, managing office space, hiring, training, management, processes, technology and so on internally. In-house call centers provide a high level of control and quality assurance, but they can be costly and a drain on resources.
Onshore call center: An onshore call center is an outsourced call center that is located in the same country as the business it’s servicing. It may not be in the same time zone, but it still guarantees a high level of linguistic and cultural familiarity, reduces security risks and makes travel easier if you want to visit your call center frequently for training.
Onshore call centers are typically a more costly option for outsourced call centers.
Homeshore call centers are an onshore option where agents work from home, or virtually. This can also be a cost-saving option for hiring local agents.
Offshore call center: An offshore call center is an outsourced call center that is located in a different country from the business it’s servicing. Typically this is a distant country, often in Southeast Asia. Offshore call centers offer a low cost barrier, a wide range of services and options and a high number of employees available for large-scale operations.
Offshore call centers may present more potential for security risk, obviously less proximity, and often more language and culture barriers.
Nearshore call center: Nearshore call centers are outsourced call centers located in a nearby country to the business. For businesses in the US, this is often Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico or another nearby country. Nearshore call centers offer an option that can combine the proximity of onshore call centers with some of the cost savings of an offshore call center.
Still not sure which is right for you?
Small businesses who have less budget may want to opt for an offshore call center as a way to provide consistent customer service at scale and a cost they can afford. However, businesses who have more budget to allocate to their customer service team may want to consider going with a nearshore or onshore option for quality assurance purposes.
Need to hire a call center? Global Response’s human-centered, tech-powered customer service solutions provide flexible and scalable contact centers for whatever your business needs. Reach out today to talk to an expert and learn more.