By Nathan Teahon, Vice President, Quality Contact Solutions
Making the determination on whether you should use or continue to use an in-house call center versus an outsource call center is no small decision. I’ve found that there are three primary factors that should be considered as you evaluate call center options, and whether a teleservices program would be best suited for an internal department or outsourced.
Call Center Options Consideration Number 1: Outsource vs In-House Cost
Is your company located in a high cost labor market? Is your company structured in a way that requires an internal department to carry expensive benefits such as profit sharing and premium health insurance? Is your rent per square foot expensive? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then it may be worthwhile to evaluate outsourced call centers, depending on how you answer the other questions in consideration.
The key benefit to clients should be that they do not need to invest as heavily in managing the outsourced telemarketing program. When a client utilizes a contact center vendor for outsourced telemarketing, they should be prepared to staff two or more full-time employees to support the outsourced partner and act as an internal liaison. When working with a partner, they should take on the majority of that support role, effectively lowering the in-house support staff that is required.
Call Center Options Consideration Number 2: Culture Considerations
The second factor to evaluate is culture. Has your company successfully used a third-party outsourced resource for any telemarketing or teleservices before? Has your company used any business process outsourcing resources before? Is your company centralized or decentralized? Some companies have a culture where everything is done internally in a very centralized fashion. If that is the case, that may be a negative for outsourcing.
However, many clients love the ability to use a partner team’s infrastructure of multiple Owner Operated Contact Center vendors to test one team against another on a periodic basis to ensure maximum performance is being delivered. Even a small increase in sales conversion rate or contact rate can mean significantly more sales for an outsourced telemarketing program. It also provides access to scale a program while utilizing a higher mix of veteran agents vs. new hires, which can make growing a program a much smoother endeavor.
There is also something to be said for the culture of an outsourced call center because that is what the company is at its heart, a call center. I have worked in environments where the call center was a wing or small division supporting the rest of the business. It can sometimes be difficult for a call center to thrive in that type of environment because they aren’t a call center company. Unfortunately, in some environments it is treated as the ugly, middle child which can create a negative stigma that keeps that part of the business from truly thriving.
Call Center Options Consideration Number 3: The Issues of Complexity
Another key benefit for many clients in working with a good partner is that they obviously have access to the management team
and the expertise that comes with that. A good team is one that has managed thousands of successful outsourced telemarketing programs. They should know what works and the appropriate levers to pull when something isn’t working.
There are also technology and compliance considerations. This isn’t true for every in-house call center, but commonly they don’t have the best call center technology because the call center wasn’t built by call center experts. This tends to result in band-aid practices to solve problems in a very inefficient way, from pieces like using API integration for CRMs or implementing automated email practices. Processes can at times be more manual, which can create a death by a thousand cuts scenario to efficiencies. Also, in the ever-fluctuating world of call center compliance, many in-house call centers struggle to keep up-to-date with changes and as a result, open themselves up to a lot of risk by engaging in risky behavior unintentionally.
Nathan Teahon is the Vice President at Quality Contact Solutions, a leading outsourced telemarketing services organization. Nathan can be reached at Nathan.firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-656-5133.