Call center outsourcing is among the most strategic business decisions today. Both small and giant organizations continue to seek outsourcing partners who can handle their calls at lower costs, provide outbound calling, address peak volume problems, and access experts for customer relationship management (CRM).
Call center outsourcing is a means of getting real value from the non-core competency to achieve strategic competitiveness and earn above-average returns.
Call Center Outsourcing Defined
Also popularly known as business process outsourcing (BPO), call center outsourcing involves the subcontracting of a specific process, such as technical support, customer service, debt collection, and promotional marketing, to a third-party provider. It involves tele-calling that is either inbound or outbound.
Many companies partner with contact center outsourcing providers to take certain tasks out of their core operations so that their in-house teams can focus on their main strengths. The majority of call center outsourcing companies set up shop in countries with high competencies but lower labor costs.
If you are a CEO or a stakeholder in a business that is considering call center outsourcing, here is a step-by-step guide to start you off on the right foot.
Call Center Outsourcing: How To Get Started
Below are the key steps to ensure that your call center outsourcing plans are on track.
1. Evaluate your needs.
Before you begin the call center outsourcing process, define your business needs. It is vital to figure out the reasons why you would seek the services of call center outsourcing companies.
Some of the indicators that your business needs to outsource its call center may include:
- An increased volume of calls
- High costs of running your call center department
- The need to focus more on the core competencies
- Avoiding additional staffing issues
- Scaling up your customer service level
- Plans to expand to new territories
These are the indicators that your organization is ready to outsource its call center. After finalizing your needs, develop a scorecard together with your team to help you evaluate potential providers.
2. Conduct a vendor search.
Having identified your contact center outsourcing needs and objectives, conduct a web search for potential vendors. You can utilize platforms such as Upwork, Guru.com, or run a simple Google Search for companies that specialize in outbound or inbound call center outsourcing.
Today, companies are looking to continuously increase customer satisfaction rates. To achieve this goal, the call center service provider with the best ratings and most positive reviews are the ones that are highly recommended online.
3. Have the latest technology.
Before finalizing the call center outsourcing process, ensure that you are destined for success by having the right tools. Application of the latest technology in the outsourced call centers is extremely vital.
Customers need companies to handle and solve their queries immediately. Therefore, when partnering with a call center outsourcing provider, ensure that the contact center has all the technology and systems needed to carry this out smoothly.
Remember, in call center outsourcing, the third party takes over your call center. The most critical tool will, hence, be cloud-based call center software.
A cloud-based call center is most preferred over an on-premise call center because it is:
- Easy to install and set up
- Requires no investment in hardware
- Easy to scale
- Highly reliable
- Has additional features, like live call monitoring, smart IVR, and click-to-call
With that said, the best call center outsourcing companies should:
- Route calls to the right agent
- Help the management to execute an omnichannel strategy
- Provide employees with additional information to perform their tasks well
4. Look for the right skills.
Exercise caution when selecting a partner to manage your call center. The skills of the service provider are directly related to your success, and offering excellent customer service is highly dependent on the skills of your call center representatives.
In addition, the call center outsourcing service provider must be able to manage time and tasks. Customers hate waiting in queues. The agents must ensure they are able to attend to all your customers in no time.
Consumer trust with a company is influenced by the customer service offered. With call center outsourcing, you entrust the third-party agents with the task of pleasing your customers. The above statistics are proof that the agents must be equipped with robust skill sets to handle the complexities of the job.
Look out for the following skills before you hire the call center outsourcing service provider:
- Excellent communication skills
- Full product and services knowledge
- Problem-solving skills
5. Select your call center outsourcing partner.
The firm you decide to hire will act as your primary connection with your customers. Initiate a partnership in which both companies are focused on similar goals. Hiring the right partner must follow a disciplined process with detailed criteria for evaluating the capabilities.
The best way to accomplish this is through a Request for Proposal (RFP). Send the information to a list of ten potential partners that can meet your defined requirements. You can find potential partners from internet searches, recommendations from business acquaintances, or industry associations. C9 Staff, for instance, has a proven record of providing outsourced customer service to the biggest brands in the globe.
The RFP should cover the following;
- The required coverage hours
- Languages supported
- Details on integrating data to your systems
- The type of coverage required, whether inbound or/and outbound
- Delivery performance (fix rates and response time)
- Continuous operation (know the number of sites, as well as synchronization and disaster recovery plans)
Interview the finalists and consider visiting their center to get a feel first-hand of how they operate. Reassemble your team and make the final selection, then notify the other finalists and your selected partner of your decision.
At this stage, you are ready to outsource your call center services to the right agent. Negotiate a contract with the selected partner and remember to include a Service Level Agreement (SLA). You should also develop a detailed transitioning plan of the workload.
6. Manage the relationship.
Ongoing management of the partnership will be vital to the success of call center outsourcing. You should have a dedicated relationship manager to oversee this partnership to ensure that everything is running smoothly and expectations are laid out clearly. Establish the rules of communication and regularly hold meetings to review performance and discuss any issues that may arise.
Cost of Call Center Outsourcing
The cost of call center outsourcing varies worldwide. Per-hour rates are usually determined by the place, levels of expertise, tools and equipment used, and even the overall economic situation of the country where the call center company is located.
Pricing can also be contingent on whether the outsourcing company offers inbound support, outbound services, or both. Another factor that can affect cost is if the call center company has a dedicated unit for you or if they’re a shared service that takes calls for several clients at a time.
To give you an idea on getting started with outsourcing cell center activities, here are the average per-hour costs of outsourcing in some of the most preferred countries for outsourcing.
Ave. Call Center Outsourcing Cost ($/Hour)*
|United States||$20 to $30|
|United Kingdom||$20 to $30|
|Canada||$20 to $30|
|India||$6 to $10|
|Mexico||$8 to $18|
|Philippines||$8 to $14|
|South Africa||$15 to $20|
|Turkey||$15 to $20|
*Rates vary per call center outsourcing company and can depend on many factors, including post-pandemic readiness.
Services Typically Handled by Call Center Outsourcing Providers
Call center outsourcing can be classified into two key categories: outbound and inbound calling. These can be based out of an on-site call center or a virtual, cloud-based call network where agents work from various locations or from home. The differences between outbound and inbound call centers are as follows:
Outbound Call Center
This service is typically used for marketing and outreach purposes, where agents make calls to prospects to promote a product or service or to sell these. Outbound call centers can also be used for lead generation, database verification or information collection, telemarketing, client follow-ups, surveys, and other activities.
Inbound Call Center
This involves agents answering calls made toward the company, as with providing technical support, customer inquiries, managing client accounts, complaint logging and resolution, order processing, and more. Inbound agents’ training includes how to make customers feel at ease and to offer what clients want as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
Many call center outsourcing companies offer both outbound and inbound calling services.
Outsourcing Comparison: India vs. Philippines, Latin America vs. the U.S.
These location comparisons can help you decide which call center outsourcing providers to partner with for your project or entire company.
Philippines vs. India
The Philippines has the highest English-proficiency rate across Asia, ranking 18th out of 112 in the world. American culture is also prevalent in Philippine society, which is one of the reasons why they can adapt easily to global trends. India, on the other hand, is so rich in culture that can prove to be a challenge for many clients. It is, therefore, easier for Filipinos to maintain relationships with clients from all parts of the world.
If you are a company in the Philippines considering outsourcing your call center, there are numerous benefits of domestic call center outsourcing. Consider companies like C9 Staff, which has an on-the-ground office that is easier to monitor, operates in a similar time zone, and can offer flexibility.
Call center outsourcing depends highly on communication skills. Communication clarity is vital when outsourcing customer support. An American accent is more common in the Philippines compared to India. If your clients mainly reside in America, call center outsourcing to the Philippines will be your best option.
Low Operating Costs
Call center outsourcing costs will likely be lower in the Philippines compared to India. In addition, many Filipinos prefer customer support job positions. Meanwhile, Indian workers lean more towards technical roles, so a call center job here could lead to high turnover rates.
Additionally, a high supply of labor in the Philippines due to BPO training, high English proficiency, and neutral accents make minimum wage per hour favorable in the country compared to India.
Latin America vs. the U.S.
Here’s a comparison between outsourcing your call center to Latin American countries versus the U.S.
Outsourcing in Latin America is cheaper compared to the U.S. The minimum wage per hour is higher in the USA by about $12 dollars compared to countries in Latin America. On average, outsourcing service agents in the U.S cost between $20 and $30 per hour while in Latin America hourly rates range between $8 and $18.
The United States, no doubt, has a higher English proficiency score compared to Latin America. However, your company can take advantage of bilingual agents in the latter if it is considering languages such as Spanish and French.
Culture and Tech Talent
Both Latin America and the United States were European colonies. Therefore, despite the cultural differences, there are huge similarities in work styles and business approaches. However, when planning to outsource your call center, Latin American developers have assertive and creative tech abilities. Besides, they tend to view work relationships as partnerships and not as agent-employee relations.
Ready to Outsource Your Call Center Needs? C9 Staff Can Make It Happen
Call center outsourcing has several potential benefits to offer, such as access to a pool of experts, improved coverage of your customers, and lower costs of labor. You can save up to 50 percent on your call center costs by outsourcing to call center outsourcing companies that also operate in countries that have lower labor rates.
While there also are potential risks due mostly to distance, with diligent planning, call center outsourcing can be done seamlessly with minimal downtime and disruptions to your in-house operations.
Excited to get started on outsourcing your call center operations? C9 Staff has the expertise and resources to make this happen as smoothly as possible for you. Contact us today so our outsourcing specialists can evaluate your business and recommend the best plan for you. Consultation is free.