What makes good customer service? Is it a cheerful smile on the face of your customer service rep? An empathetic tone from the agent responding to your complaint? Is it when the agent knows what they’re talking about? Of course, these are all essential components of good customer service. But they’re just a few things that help call center operations move smoothly.
What really makes a customer service interaction amazing? Most consumers today would note speed and efficiency as the make (or break) component of a customer experience.
In fact, HubSpot found that 90% of customers say an immediate response is critical. Even if your agents smile while talking to customers, no one wants to wait for help. That’s why having efficient call center operations is vital to meeting customer expectations.
There are a lot of tactics you can use to improve your call center operations: better training, streamlined processes, more self-service tools — the list goes on and on. But one strategy companies are using to boost their call center operations is outsourcing.
Call center outsourcing is when a company hires an external organization to staff and manage its call center from a different location. The call center outsourcing market, which is expected to rise in popularity and adoption in the next decade, can transform your call center operations.
4 Tactics to Improve Overall Efficiency in Call Center Operations
On average, a single call center agent handles as many as 50-60 phone calls a day. Not to mention all the emails, texts, and live chats they manage on the side. Operational efficiency is top of mind for call center managers looking to keep up with this kind of volume. Before we dive into the specifics of outsourcing, let’s consider some tactics you should incorporate to run a more efficient call center.
1. Draft call center standard operating procedures (SOPs).
SOPs document operational workflows. These may be cross-departmental or within a specific department. Your call center SOPs help agents know what’s expected of them. Plus, they give agents clear workflows to follow. They also set performance standards so you’re not wasting time answering operational process questions all day. Plus, with SOPs, your agents are empowered to find the path forward.
2. Measure performance using call center efficiency metrics.
If you want to improve your call center’s operations, you need to understand your performance. How else can you know what is or isn’t working within your call center? Track the ups and downs using call center metrics. Choose KPIs like first contact resolution (FCR), average hold and handle time (AHT), and CSAT scores. Then, track where your call center is crushing it and where it could use some help. KPIs will also motivate your agents, encouraging them to work smarter and faster.
3. Train and coach your call center agents.
Training and ongoing coaching are key to improving your call center operations. Every time an agent doesn’t have the knowledge they need to answer a customer’s question, isn’t sure where to put information in your CRM, or has to ask a manager about protocol, your operations slow, and customers get frustrated.
Training and coaching empower your agents to know what to do, where to go, and what to say to customers without needing an extra hand. The better trained your agents are, the smoother and more accurate your service will be.
4. Integrate your technology tools.
Technology should improve our lives. But when it’s poorly set up, it can slow us down significantly. Work with your IT team to integrate the tools your agents use daily. With customer details at their fingertips, agents don’t need to ask as many questions for call context, saving valuable time.
Then, add automation to improve efficiency even more. This reduces the number of tedious or repetitive tasks your agents handle.
4 Ways Outsourcing Boosts Call Center Operations
So, your call center operations are moving much smoother with these efficiency tactics. But the pressure is on to stay competitive. This is where outsourcing comes in. Here are four ways outsourcing boosts your call center operations.
1. Outsourcing increases efficiency.
Outsourcing supports efficiency by letting call centers tap into specialized expertise and advanced technologies they may not have in-house. With access to experts and better tech, you gain innovative tools for managing calls, data, and customer interactions. This means customers get the help they need much faster.
2. It allows for greater flexibility and scalability.
Call volumes can fluctuate unpredictably depending on the time of year. This makes it hard to staff an in-house team. Outsourcing provides flexibility, enabling call centers to quickly adjust staffing levels, resources, and infrastructure to match fluctuating demand. And it’s possible to scale when call volume is high to continue meeting customer expectations. This flexibility ensures that service levels remain consistent, even during peak times or unexpected spikes in call volume.
3. It reduces operational costs so you can optimize resources.
One of the main reasons outsourcing is growing in popularity is because it’s cost efficient. Typically, the outsourced call center manages all your operations. That means you transition the costs typically earmarked for in-house agents, technology, and infrastructure to a fixed investment in your outsourcing provider. And in doing so, you can optimize in-house resources to improve your customer journey and experience.
4. It lets you focus on core competencies.
Day-to-day call center operations are a lot to juggle. As a result, customer service tends to be reactive instead of proactive. When your call center is swamped putting out fires, your service team doesn’t have the capacity to support customers in other ways or focus on other essential tasks.
By outsourcing the bulk of your daily tasks, you can concentrate on the call center’s core competencies and strategic objectives. This focus on primary business activities lets agents innovate, take the extra time to develop new services, or improve existing offerings without being weighed down by routine operational tasks.
How to Get Started with Outsourcing
Adding outsourcing to your call center operations is complicated. You need to find the right vendor, submit an RFP, and have a plan to maintain your brand’s high-quality service through a partner. Here are two tips to help you get started.
1. Evaluate your call center’s needs and goals.
Before you begin the outsourcing process, define what your business actually needs. Don’t just add outsourcing willy-nilly. First, determine your outsourcing needs and the goals you want to achieve so you can find the right partner.
Some needs and goals might be:
- You have an increased call volume and want to sustain service despite the influx
- You’re facing staffing issues and want to remove the stress of turnover and absenteeism
- Your company plans to expand to new territories and needs a way to support customers in new locations
With clear goals, you can start thinking about who to partner with.
2. Partner with a staffing management program.
Use a staffing management program (like CXHub) to make finding a vendor and maintaining the relationship way easier. These programs save you time, energy, and money by giving you access to hundreds of pre-vetted outsourcing partners, so you don’t need to stress over the lengthy RFP process or managing the relationship. You share your needs and expectations, and a staffing management program connects you to the right outsourcing partner.
Ready to start your outsourcing journey? Connect with one of our consultants to get started.