Attention Outsourcers and Clients: It's The Service, S*****

| Contact Center/CRM Views and Analysis

Attention Outsourcers and Clients: It's The Service, S*****

When I saw the press release from the American Teleservices Association and DialAmerica reporting that most major teleservices clients would leave their outsourcer vendors because they were dissatisfied with them i.e. the service they were getting, I didn't know whether to laugh, cry, or curse or all three at the same time. Naturally I turned this into an article that I put on our site.

After all, what are teleservices firms in the business for, except to deliver services? If they can't deliver them to their clients' satisfaction then why should they exist?

The underlying issue is quality. Teleservices companies have historically been the 'teleprofessionals': the experts with the expertise to deliver high quality customer care and acquisition at low costs.

Yet too many teleservices outfits have dropped the ball for reasons both preventable i.e. greed, incompetence, lack of attention to detail, underpricing, and understandable: limited resources, overly demanding clients, costly new technologies with long-burn ROIs, and offshore and onshore competition.

In fairness, and to the last set of points, clients too must share part of the blame, including for the low service quality their customers get. Stressing cost over price, which too many outfits still do results in poor results for cheap: you get what you pay for. Lousy metrics and lists generate lousy returns: garbage in/garbage out.

This leads to another key question: is the teleservices industry sustainable? The hard reality is that outsourcing is a more expensive solution than in-house centers because the outsourcers' profits have to calculated into the total costs. The only savings--and rationale--for outsourcing, is avoiding staffing and facilities costs for short-term programs. That is why organizations typically have a core in-house group to handle the steady calls and outsource the rest.

Yet advancements in speech rec, and increasing comfort levels with employee home agents are making these options viable to handle outsourced calls. Outsourcers like Working Solutions are wisely also marketing their platforms to serve in-house operations.

The only choices available for teleservices firms seem to be:

* Get back to the quality roots. Make the people and processes outperform the best in-house centers. Clear out the management and supervisory deadwood. Lead, follow or get the (H) out of the way. Do whatever it takes. Teleservices can be better than 'DIY'

* Go innovative techwise. There are a wide range of hosted solutions on the marketplace for everything from CRM to routing to WFO. Go SIP ASAP

* Board up traditional contact centers--they are a waste of money and those jobs tend too often attract low-performing 'gumsmacker' young slackers--and instead go home where one can recruit higher quality, mature, and responsible adults

* Focus on the clients. Treat them like gold, because they are.

The firms that do the above will survive this economy and prosper, and may find themselves at the top of our Top 50 Teleservices Agencies, where they belong.

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