The decision to hire a call center service provider is a strategic move towards customer loyalty, increasing sales and saving money. The next step is choosing the provider to deliver this success. When identifying a call center outsourcing provider, ask the right
questions to understand the provider’s services and areas of expertise. Additionally, consider a
site visit to experience the provider’s culture and brand philosophy in action.
Answering Services vs. Call Center Services
The primary difference between an answering service and a call center is the depth of services offered. Answering services respond to inbound calls, take messages and may schedule appointments. Contacts are typically limited to phone only, and calls are handled quickly.
Call centers offer these services as well, and a lot more. Call center services extend to
include customer service, sales, technical support, business process outsourcing, social media
and more. Technology is more sophisticated and customizable, including omnichannel
capabilities and seamless integration with multiple systems. Call centers often operate with quality-driven goals and handle more complex, high volume contacts from a variety of channels.and
Why Hire a Call Center Service?
If you’re choosing between the two options for your business needs, a call center offers a wider
range of services that transform customer service from a cost center to a profit center. Outsourcing with a call center is cost-efficient and time-saving compared to an in-house customer service team. The 24/7 customer service experts are immersed in your brand and trained to delight your customers. Additionally, if your company expands its products, services or geographic footprint, a call center partner can support your expansion.
What to Look For in a Call Center
Each call center offers something different. Choose a center that offers the right services and experience for your company. Find out what the availability and capacity is for the center. Call centers usually have dedicated and/or shared Brand Specialists. A dedicated Brand Specialist represents your company exclusively, while a shared agent will split their time among multiple companies. Dedicated Brand Specialists are immersed in your brand and products, and deliver great customer experiences tailored to your brand and customers. Your call center partner can provide details into technology, reporting, recruitment, staffing and more. Be prepared to provide metrics so your outsourced call center partner can craft a custom solution for your brand. Common metrics include contact volume, Average Handle Time (AHT), Average Speed of Answer (ASA), First Contact Resolution (FCR), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS).
Are they an international or U.S. based call center?
If you have international customers, select a call center with the capability to handle the variety
of languages and hours of operation. If your customers are primarily U.S. based, find a call center partner that is also U.S. based.
What are their Inbound Call Center Services?
Review the call center’s inbound activities. Some common services including telephone, live chat, customer service, email support, appointment management, order and return processing and receptionist services. Additional activities that might be offered include claims processing, technical support, help desk and dispatch services, B2B customer service, social media support, SMS text support and cross-selling and upselling.
What are their Outbound Call Center Services?
Review the call center’s outbound activities. What services do they provide for reaching out to your customers? These typically include telesales, lead generation, appointment setting and renewals and retention. In review of the outbound activities, be prepared to identify and provide your key outbound metrics such as conversion rate, first call close, calls per agent, calls per account, hit rate, hold time, abandoned call ratio, average call length, revenue per successful call and occupancy rate.
How much does a call center cost?
Companies across industries leverage outsourced inbound call centers at a fraction of the cost of an in-house customer experience team. Companies save time, money and resources when they hire a call center service provider. Before committing to a call center, review available services, areas of expertise and company culture and philosophy. The call center is going to be the front line of your company and should be the very best reflection of your brand and mission.