Traditionally, call centers are established within a single large office with multiple workstations or “seats.” Outsourcing to call centers is something that all growth oriented organizations start to consider at one point or another. For successful brands, its almost impossible to imagine sales and customer service without the backing of a reliable BPO partner to shoulder this responsibility.
But due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak across the world, all organizations have become greatly responsible for the health and well-being of their employees. When offering customer service, brands cannot afford cynicism or gloomy outlook of call agents. More importantly, now that the businesses are looking to open up there is a need to relook at the action plan that focuses on both customer care and employee care.
Is now the time to switch from the traditional centralized approach to a more flexible and innovative decentralized call center solution.
The answer may be yes.
But it’s important to conduct a thorough analysis of the decision, taking into account potential risks and benefits of decentralized call center strategy. And there is one more consideration: should contact center operations remain inhouse, or would it be better to outsource?
The Benefit Analysis
The best way to begin the analysis is with an assessment of all aspects associated with customer experience. This can be direct as well as indirect. This includes performance analysis of answering customer inquiries and resolving problems by phone, email and through social media channels, even during the lockdown phase. Apart from customer experience, employee benefits and productivity needs to be taken into consideration.
It’s also helpful to examine other, somewhat intangible yet important issues:
Is your current vendor helping you maintain productivity for your call center operation and stay competitive? Have you lost customers because of poor service during this lockdown phase?
The next phase is to put up a checklist of all the things that your customer experience strategy might be missing. Our below checklist will help you with this:
Effortless Set up:
- Was your traditional BPO vendor able to help you with an easy transitioning of your call center operations.
- Did the vendor help you with easy to use Work from Home solutions during the start of the lockdown phase.
- Try and recall the issues you faced while setting this solution.
Tools to Manage and Monitor Agent Productivity:
- Are you able to access reports on real time basis for Agent Productivity Report, Wrap-up Time Limit and more help manage agent efficiency.
Help and Track Agent Activity:
- Can Admins track agent activity with remote access to systems.
- Are they able to listen in on calls, whisper to agents, and jump in on conversations if needed?
- Are you able to actively work on automations and workflows which help your agents to meet your goals?
- Do you have the ability to broadcast important messages to one or more agents in real time and get visibility on who has acknowledged the message?
At first, going through the checklist will make you realize the features that your team is missing. But soon you’ll have a clearer picture to create an action plan. And if you plan to opt for a trusted work-from-home solution, I would like to suggest LEAP.
There is also one important factor that needs to be considered: contact center operations centralized in Tier 1 Cites were affected dearly as most Tier 1 cities still continue to remain under lockdown and not function fully.
Instead, companies in India who opted for Contact centers based in tier-2 and tier 3 locations, were able to scale their operation far more quickly and adapt to the situations better than their competitors during this lockdown phase. Adding to this are the benefit derived due to access to talented workforce and cost of operations for these locations.
Furthermore, leading tier-2 and tier 3 locations for Contact Center Operations are typically centers of higher education within the state ensuring long-term talent sustainability. These contact centers are strategically located to tap the abundance of qualified talent from nearby regions adding to the overall pool. Relatively lower competitive intensity in such locations also results in lower recruitment overheads and productivity ramp-up time.
It might be the right time to break away from the hype of pricey call centers in Tier 1 Cities and opt for the vendor who actually helps you decentralize and boost your customer service.
Why to Outsource Your Contact Center Operations:
Outsourcing to a trusted contact center vendor can offer multifold benefits through effective customer engagement. The alternative during this lockdown phase will be to manage inhouse multiple customer communication channels such as calls, emails, web chats, and text messages. Establishing an omni-channel contact center during a situation such as the lockdown might take way the intensity required to stay focused on core competencies. The cost, time and energy needed for staff training and shifting ongoing operation is an expensive proposition. Also asking your employees to recreate a contact center experience within the comfort of their home is not feasible.
Hence many successful companies prefer to turn over customer service activities to an outside provider so that they can focus their time, energy and financial resources on producing and improving the core product or service that creates customers in the first place. Isn’t this the need of the hour to completely focus on core competencies and rely on trusted BPO experts to support you to enhance your customer experience?
Also, outsourced contact center providers typically have more than one location, so a backup facility can be put into operation swiftly in case of any unexpected business interruption.
Would love to hear your suggestions on transforming customer experience post Covid 19 phase.