In an article posted yesterday on Marketing Pilgrim, Greg Howlett has some great practical advice for smaller sized companies thinking about outsourcing their calls to a call center.
He makes the point that companies need to do a thorough job of assessing a call center outsourcing firm’s operations – and in particular the skill level of its agents – before making a decision, and that furthermore, once the decision is made, you have to continuously monitor the call center’s performance in order to ensure that service quality isn’t slipping.
“The key is simply this–you cannot hire one and forget about them,” he wrote. “You have to remember that those people whom you have little control over have the ability to make or break your business. That is scary thought.”
He suggests that companies place a lot of “test orders” with the BPO firms they’re considering contracting – and also that they have a sharp eye for the details in the contract itself, in order to protect themselves. He also suggests that companies reps actually visit the call enters they’re doing business with, and meet some of the agents to get a first hand perspective of their skill level and the quality of their work.
As he so aptly points out, when you go to contract with one of these overseas firms, you are basically placing the success of your business into the hands of total strangers. But don’t let them be strangers – go meet with them, assess their skills (and general level of intelligence) – and take a look at the facility.
Good, sound advice.