Contact center outsourcing: Pros & cons to consider

April 26, 2024

Whether you should outsource your contact center services or keep them in-house can be a big dilemma. You may be tempted to opt for outsourcing (especially when it comes to customer support activities) to save your resources for core activities.

At the same time, if your products or services require special knowledge, keeping these activities in-house may serve you and your customers better. Taking IT security risks into account, it might be more difficult to ensure that customer data remains 100% secure.

Both options have multiple pros and cons; to help you decide, we’ll list some benefits and challenges of outsourcing your call center services. At the end, you’ll also find some questions that’ll help you evaluate your options to make the best decision for your business.

Pros of outsourced contact centers

Saving costs

Cost efficiency is one of the top advantages of outsourced call center services. If you decide to run an in-house call center, you’ll need to prepare your business for a significant investment. First of all, you’ll need to install reliable contact center software, purchase all related hardware such as laptops and headphones, and hire a team that can handle customer queries. On top of this, you’ll also need to invest in agent training programs.

Overall, partnering with a BPO can be a much more cost-effective option.

24/7 service without hiring struggles

If you run an international business, outsourcing some of your activities that require a multilingual workforce and flexible working hours makes a lot of sense. Agent retention has always been a real challenge for contact centers; finding multilingual call center agents who are willing to work outside regular business hours would make it even more challenging to find the right candidates.

Outsourced call centers, on the other hand, will be able to provide you with multilingual staff and round-the-clock customer service, so you won’t need to worry about hiring processes and irregular opening hours.

Scalability during peak season

In every business, there are peak times when customer queries skyrocket, such as e-commerce companies during Christmas or Black Friday. At times like these, there’s no doubt that you’ll need longer working hours or more employees.

Outsourced call centers, however, are already prepared to take care of your contact center needs during periods of higher call volumes. By outsourcing your activities to a call center service provider, you’ll be able to scale more easily without the responsibility (and stress) of having to invest in additional employees.

Cons of outsourced call centers

Lack of industry and company knowledge

Outsourced call centers usually deal with a great number of projects for a variety of companies from different industries, and often do not specialize in any particular field. Depending on your industry and business, your call center agents may need special knowledge to best serve your customers, and chances are, outsourced call center agents will lack this knowledge.

What’s more, outsourced agents are often unfamiliar with your company’s culture, values, and strategy, which may lead to inconsistencies.

Less control

If you decide to rely on outsourced call center services, you’ll need to take into consideration that personal supervision will be difficult. Therefore, finding a reliable partner who provides transparency regarding their metrics is essential.

When outsourcing call center operations to an external service provider, you are putting vital business functions into the hands of a third party. As a result, you may lose control over those outsourced activities, and it can be more difficult to monitor for quality assurance to help increase customer satisfaction.

IT security risks

Ensuring information security and compliance is your responsibility as a business. When working with outsourced call centers, you’ll need to check if they are 100% GDPR-compliant and up-to-date in terms of contact center security to protect your business and customer data.

Should you outsource your contact center services or keep them in-house?

Based on the pros and cons of contact center outsourcing mentioned above, here are some questions to help you evaluate your options.

1. What are your core competencies?

Assess whether customer service and support align with your company’s core strengths and strategic objectives. If not, outsourcing might be a viable option to allow your team to focus on what they do best.

2. What level of control do you need over customer interactions?

Determine how much control you require over the quality, consistency, and brand representation of customer interactions. If maintaining strict oversight is crucial, keeping contact center services in-house may be preferable.

3. What are your budgetary constraints?

Evaluate your budget and determine whether outsourcing contact center services aligns with your financial goals. Consider factors such as initial investment, ongoing operational costs, and potential savings from outsourcing.

4. How important is scalability to your business?

Consider whether your business experiences fluctuations in call volumes or seasonal variations in customer support demand. Outsourcing can offer scalability advantages, allowing you to adjust staffing levels more flexibly compared to in-house solutions.

5. What skills are required to assist callers?

Assess what skills and experience are necessary to deliver high-quality support to your callers. If industry and company-specific knowledge are a must, keeping your contact center in-house may be advantageous. On the other hand, if multilingual support is a bigger priority, outsourcing might be a better option.

6. What are the risks associated with outsourcing?

Identify potential risks such as data security concerns, communication challenges, and dependency on vendor performance. Evaluate whether your organization can mitigate these risks effectively or if keeping services in-house provides greater control and security.

7. How important is customer experience to your success?

Consider the impact of customer service quality on your brand reputation, customer satisfaction, and retention rates. Determine whether outsourcing contact center services aligns with your goals for delivering exceptional customer experiences.

8. What is the potential impact on company culture and employee morale?

Assess how outsourcing contact center services may affect the morale and engagement of your in-house team. Consider potential concerns related to job security, collaboration, and company culture.

9. Have you thoroughly researched potential outsourcing partners?

If considering outsourcing, conduct extensive research to identify reputable service providers with a track record of delivering quality customer support. Evaluate factors such as industry experience, technological capabilities, and client references.

10. What are the long-term implications of your decision?

Consider the strategic implications of outsourcing contact center services versus keeping them in-house. Assess how each option aligns with your long-term business objectives, growth plans, and customer service strategy.

Download our eBook: The three new pillars of successful BPO-client partnerships

In this free eBook, we rely on industry research to explore three important factors when it comes to outsourcing: the trend of the outcome-based approach, the market’s digital transformation and the concept of hybrid BPOs. 

Get the eBook here to dive into these topics in more detail.

More resources 

Just like with most contact center-related decisions, there is no single right or wrong answer here. Hopefully, these pros, cons and questions will help you make the best decision for your business.

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