To outsource or not to outsource: that is the question Managing Directors often ask when deciding whether to rely on outsourced call center services or keep them in-house.
Customer service is probably the most important part of any business. However, as it requires significant resources and doesn’t generate revenue, for most businesses it is seen as a “burden”. So, why not take that burden off your shoulders and outsource your customer care activities to a call center service provider?
However, at the same time, your product or services may require special knowledge, and external parties may not have that knowledge. And since outsourced call centers deal with everything from telesales, debt collection to IT helpdesk in across a spectrum of industries, most of the time they do not specialize in one field.
So, as you can see, outsourced call center services have both pros and cons. In this article, I compiled a list of some of the most important pros and cons of outsourced call center services. If you are considering outsourcing your customer service activities, this will be required reading for you!
- Cost savings
Cost efficiency is definitely one of the major advantages of outsourced call center services. If you decide to run an in-house call center, one thing is for sure: you’ll need to prepare your business for a significant investment. First of all, you’ll need to install reliable call center technology and a team of agents who can take care of your customer queries. You’ll also need to invest in training programs. In contrast, external service providers absorb the cost of operations, including call center software maintenance and hiring, so you’ll definitely save money.
- Around-the-clock service
If your business’ customer service operates internationally, 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 call centers, and finding multilingual call center agents who are willing to work outside of normal business hours won’t make your job easier. Outsourced call centers, on the other hand, will be able to provide you with multilingual staff and around-the-clock customer service, so you won’t need to worry about hiring processes and irregular opening hours.
- Increased productivity
As already mentioned, today it is simply not possible for a company to operate without having an efficient customer service department. Providing customer service, though, is no small feat, so it’s no surprise to say that setting up such a department is a headache for most businesses.
On the other hand, by leveraging outsourced call center services, you’ll have more time to focus on your core activities. So, why spend your valuable time-solving customer issues when you can assign a team of experts to do it?
- Saving on hiring and training
Hiring is hard work in itself, and finding the right employees is even harder. I’m sure you’ve already experienced the ordeal of trying to recruit an expert team who can efficiently and effectively contribute to the success of your business. You may not know it, but employee turnover is extremely high in call center jobs, making it a constant challenge for any business that deals with customer service activities. However, by outsourcing your call center activities, you can cross this challenge off your list.
Furthermore, as we all know, employees need systematic training sessions in order to be able to excel at their job. Leveraging expert training sessions, however, requires a lot of investment. Luckily, an outsourced call center will without doubt have a pool of trained staff specialized at being the voice of your brand, and providing excellent support to your customers.
- Peak season support
In every business there are peak times when calls to customer service rocket – just think of e-commerce companies during Christmas holidays. At times like these there’s no doubt that you’ll need either longer working hours or more employees to ensure there is no interruption in your customer care.
Outsourced call centers, however, are already prepared to take care of your customer service during these periods of high call volumes. By outsourcing your activities to a call center service provider, you’ll be able to easily scale up your customer service needs in peak times without the responsibility (and stress) of having to invest in additional employees.
- Lack of specialist industry and company knowledge
We all know the golden rule of customer service: always put your customers first! However, when your customer service reps do not have sufficient knowledge of your company and industry, the consequences can seriously harm your customer care.
As already mentioned, 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 fields. Depending on your industry, your call center agents may need special knowledge in order to best serve your customers, and chances are outsourced call center agents will lack this knowledge.
Furthermore, outsourced call center agents are often unfamiliar with your company’s culture, therefore they often fail to provide dedicated support to your customers.
- Lack of 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 external party, who provides transparency through technology tools and call center 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 will, of course, lose control over those outsourced activities, and therefore it’ll be more difficult to monitor for quality assurance to help increase customer satisfaction.
- Language barriers
Language barriers are a common issue in outsourced call centers. Customers often need to communicate with agents who cannot speak their mother tongue very well. Of course, it’s annoying, and customers can often lose their patience. If you choose to outsource your activities, always make sure to find a partner whose agents have excellent language proficiency.
Don’t forget, poor language skills may lead to miscommunication and frustration that can seriously hurt your brand’s reputation.
- IT Security risks
With GDPR officially in force, it is now more important than ever to process and store your data in a 100% secure way. If you choose to utilize an outsourced call center, you’ll be putting your customer data in their hands.
However, it is crucial to keep in mind that compliance is your responsibility. Therefore, check carefully that the external service providers you use are 100% up-to-date and GDPR compliant. Handling customer data in a secure way is extremely important, both for your business and clients, so be careful!
- Decreased customer satisfaction
There are two sides to every coin: an outsourced call center may help you boost your productivity by letting you focus on your core activities; however, it doesn’t mean your customer satisfaction levels will increase as well.
As we all know, high-quality customer service is the backbone of any business. However, bearing in mind the points above, outsourcing your call center activities may actually end up resulting in decreased customer satisfaction. And that would be the last thing you would want, right?