How to Balance In-house Call Centers with Outsourced Contact Center Solutions
There are many good reasons why outsourced contact center solutions have become such an integral part of today’s economy, used by businesses of all sizes and across all industries. Chief among these reasons is the simple fact that offering a superior customer experience (CX)—the kind that truly builds the kind of customer satisfaction and loyalty you need to succeed—has become a complex and expensive task.
That’s because the constantly evolving technology that powers today’s consumer marketplace has made the process of running an effective call center more challenging than ever. That’s particularly true when factoring in the costs of hardware, software, security updates, and, of course, the personnel it takes to make it all run smoothly and efficiently.
While it’s difficult and costly to offer your customers the means to engage with you across every available channel, it’s also absolutely necessary to do so. Each year, customers embrace newer and newer forms of technology, and they prefer to shop with businesses that do the same. If not, they rarely hesitate to seek out another company that makes the effort to meet them where they are.
In other words, technology has taken center stage in the shopping experience, putting consumers in the driver’s seat. “Armed with a smartphone,” today’s consumer “has the world’s largest shopping mall in her pocket,” according to a Salesforce customer experience report.
She can access her friends and their friends via social channels for inspiration on trending products. She can showroom, webroom and access product pricing faster than your typical store associate. She can pull up a competitor’s digital coupon at your point-of-sale when she’s ready to make a purchase. And finally, she can access service, anytime and anywhere.
If this level of access has ushered in a new age of convenience for consumers, it’s also made it tougher than ever for many businesses to compete on the traditional platform of “price, product, place and promotion,” as the Salesforce report puts it. It’s now essential for businesses to offer their customers a great CX by serving them across an ever-increasing variety of communications channels.
And doing so is no easy task for yesterday’s call center, particularly for companies that may not have the means to scale up their customer operations across all of the platforms needed to meet this heightened demand. The result is that even businesses that still rely on their own in-house service teams are seeking out on-demand contact center solutions to ensure they provide the best possible CX.
But how can those businesses best integrate these two services—for example, how to balance in-house customer care with outsourced solutions in a way that maximizes the value you get from both? And is that integration a good idea, or should businesses choose to focus on one or the other?
Why Some Businesses Choose to Maintain In-House Call Centers…
Even businesses that acknowledge the need to meet customers across all of these new tech-based platforms may still be reluctant to relinquish their in-house call centers. And this is understandable—often, an inbound center is part of a company’s earliest foundation. It’s one of the first pieces the business was built on, and still offers a number of real advantages, such as:
Offering a Personal Touch. For many businesses, operating an onsite call center means giving the impression that they’re delivering service with a personal touch. By ensuring that incoming calls go directly to their main HQ, these businesses are showing customers that they’re making the effort to interact directly with them, giving them the perception of receiving an insider experience.
Avoiding the Stigma of Offshoring. There’s also the desire to avoid the negative impression that has come to be associated with outsourcing customer service because of the widespread backlash against offshore outsourcing. It should be noted, however, that the negative perceptions associated with offshoring really no longer match the realities of outsourced contact center solutions.
Deeper Dive: Why Offshore Call Centers Are Being Replaced by Onshore Outsourcing
Control. Some business leaders also enjoy the level of control they get with in-house call centers. Because their frontline customer service efforts are onsite, they get to see instant implementation of all the decisions they make and enjoy a direct overview of what’s happening with their customer bases, in real-time.
Keeping Data Onsite. Running an in-house call center can provide a sense that a business is keeping a tighter rein on sensitive customer data. Because all interactions move through an in-house network, with only onsite employees accessing it, the risk of security breaches is reduced. Because outsourced contact centers specialize in providing a high level of security, though, this perception may be outdated.
…and Why Outsourced Contact Centers Are Becoming the Preferred Choice
The reality is, however, that most if not all of the advantages offered by in-house call centers can also be achieved with the use of outsourced contact center solutions—and often, these benefits are even amplified by bringing in specialized providers.
Expanding the Tech Footprint. The chief problem with most onsite call centers is their lack of technological capacity. As customer service channels have expanded from inbound calls to SMS messaging, email marketing, social media interactions and many other methods of communications, so too has it become necessary to build out the technology to interact on all of these channels.
Deeper Dive: What’s the difference between a traditional call center and the modern contact center?
Yet this may be beyond the capacity for many in-house call centers. Adding the tech on a piece-by-piece basis is not only costly, but requires significant expertise, too. But when a company partners with an outsourced contact center solutions provider, it gets instant access to this tech, along with the expertise to make sure it’s being used to its fullest potential, and the latest methods for ensuring data security.
24/7 Access. Companies that choose to supplement their in-house call center operations with a quality outsourced solution also increase access for their customers. Because the online nature of shopping today makes it an essentially 24/7 experience, the most effective inbound call centers—the ones that can really be guaranteed to meet the needs of their customers—should operate at all hours.
Obviously, employing around-the-clock agents can be expensive and unwieldy from an operational perspective. But with an outsourced contact center, businesses can easily implement after-hours and weekend customer service without putting any additional strain on their regular employees.
Specialized Agents. Leveraging the expertise of an outsourced contact center also gives businesses access to a much larger field of agents offering best-in-class skills. This includes expertise not just in general marketing, sales, and customer service best practices, but also in the specific industry in which a business functions, whether it’s retail, finance, travel or any point in between.
Because they work across the span of industries, companies such as Working Solutions offer agents who are specialized in the ins and outs of your specific industry. And because they work remotely, on their own schedules, they’re also wholly dedicated to their profession, and not just punching a clock. And all of these benefits are critical in achieving the kind of customer satisfaction that leads to continued growth.
Cost Control. One of the most sobering realities of trying to manage an in-house call center in a way that meets the standards required by today’s tech-savvy consumer is the tremendous cost of investing in the necessary technology and expertise. For this reason, call centers are expensive not only to set up, but also to maintain as the years go by and the level of required technology evolves.
Consider also the costs of employing not just a roster of highly skilled agents, but also the managers and administrators necessary to make sure they’re perform at peak levels. Plus, there’s the cost of maintaining (or renting) the facility itself, as well as the equipment it contains. Outsourced contact center solutions can turn this complex web of financial necessities into a single line-item on your budget.
Flexibility and Scalability. Because quality outsourced contact center solutions providers like Working Solutions rely on a distributed network of remote agents, they’re able to scale a company’s roster of available customer service reps up or down in short order.
Deeper Dive: How to Scale up Call Center Operations 300% or More with On-demand Agents
This is a critical advantage during moments of heightened demand, whether that demand is anticipated (during a promotion or seasonal spike in activity) or unanticipated ( during a power outage or natural disaster). And because virtual networks are spread throughout the continent, they’re not nearly as affected by regional weather events that can incapacitate an entire team of in-house agents.
We Can Help You Discover the Balance between In-house and Outsourced Contact Center Solutions
When it’s time to balance out your in-house call center services with an outsourced call center solution, it’s important to choose the right service provider—one that can readily offer all the benefits listed above, and that also has a track record to ensure not only operational reliability, but also the prospect of future growth.
With more than 20 years of experience providing premium outsourced contact center services, Working Solutions has been at the forefront of the industry far longer than most other businesses. And with a network of agents recognized time and again for their expertise in offering a superior CX, Working Solutions is perfectly positioned to meet the unique customer care needs of businesses across many industries.
Learn more about how we can help: Contact us here to schedule your complimentary consultation with a Working Solutions contact center solutions expert today.Let's connect.