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Call Center Outsourcing Risks and How to Mitigate Them

Call Center Outsourcing Risks and How to Mitigate Them

Despite its huge benefits, call center outsourcing comes with significant risks if not managed carefully. Issues such as communication barriers and lack of cultural fluency among many others can seriously impact customer satisfaction. 

The good news is that many outsourcing risks can be avoided by simply taking proactive steps such as vendor vetting and cultural alignment among many others. 

In this article, we will explore the most common call center outsourcing risks along with best practices to help mitigate these risks of outsourcing so your customers enjoy seamless support and your brand reputation remains strong. Let’s dive in. 

Outsourcing Risks

Control Loss

Although exceptional customer service is key for businesses to succeed in today’s world, many businesses are reasonably reluctant to outsource their call centers. Businesses are concerned about the loss of control they feel comes with outsourcing; after all, it’s difficult to ensure that the outsorcerer’s agents will share the same level of commitment as the internal staff who are better familiarized with the company’s products and services, promotions, new releases, and policy changes. 

To avoid losing the image your brand has worked so hard to create, make sure to choose the right call center vendor that will share the same level of commitment and work ethic as your in-house staff.

Service Quality

Choosing a vendor only based on price is an invitation for problems as outsourcers that focus on maintaining low prices for their services often lack other key areas such as hiring qualified staff, foregoing training, or employing professional managerial staff. 

While cost remains one of the key considerations, concentrating solely on price at the expense of other attributes is a recipe for dissatisfied customers and diminished brand reputation.

Data Breaches

Sharing sensitive customer data with third-party vendors can be risky if partners lack strict security protocols. Data breaches aren’t to be taken lightly; the damages go beyond financial and legal liabilities as violations of customer trust can seriously damage a brand’s reputation. 

According to one survey, 83% of US consumers will halt spending with a company for months following a security breach exposing their personal data. 

To avoid any issue of this nature, you should only partner with outsourcers who treat data security as an utmost priority. That means confirming policies like mandatory cybersecurity training for agents, least-access database permissions, regular 3rd party audits, and ironclad contractual clauses governing the use of proprietary information. 

Regulatory Compliance

Outsourcing call centers require vetting regulatory compliance. Various laws like HIPAA and TCPA mandate hefty fines for violations. Though it’s the vendor’s blame for compliance infractions, the outsourcing company still faces substantial legal fallout. 

With complex regulations ruling many industries, businesses must confirm partners adhere to all requisite data protection, consumer privacy as well as industry-specific standards before establishing call center relationships.

Failure to do so can spell massive fines for even minor lapses. With legal exposure steadily expanding, due diligence around regulation is a crucial step before finalizing any outsourcing deals.

Communication Barriers

Communication is another area of risk that call center outsourcing poses. Language barriers between offshore vendors and American consumers can be really frustrating. However, these issues can appear onshore too if agents lack sufficient training. This can lead to long handle times and worsen customer satisfaction rates. 

To avoid such problems, do your research and find vendors who excel in linguistic and cultural fluency for your target customers. This provides a buffer as clients entrust essential touchpoints to external partners. 

Tips for Mitigating Outsourcing Risk

Define Your Objectives

You must clearly define your goals and objectives before beginning your search for an outsourcing provider. Some of the things you need to consider for your requirements are:  

  • What are your primary goals? 
  • Do you want to cut costs? 
  • Do you need to add channels? 
  • Do you need to extend customer support hours? 

Develop a Selection Process

Avoid diving into RFPs prematurely. Instead, make sure to conduct preliminary research. This allows you to identify compatible partners so that subsequent efforts connect with suitable providers. 

By first screening call centers based on successful track records delivering required services, companies set the stage for smoothly-flowing RFP processes that accurately evaluate optimal alignment. The upfront effort creates connectivity between each step, leading ultimately to the ideal outsourcing relationship.

Pay Due Diligence

Evaluating security protocols, compliance auditing, staff training procedures, and contingency plans addressing potential crises is essential before outsourcing. Asking probing questions across these areas ensures providers have infrastructure and policies guarding against data, continuity, and quality assurance risks before partnership finalization.

Transparent Communication 

Transparent communication enables consistency and allows call centers and partners to share objectives, policies, events, and training needs. Vendors require updates on requirements, product changes, and procedural shifts to deliver services smoothly. 

So make sure to keep an open dialog as this helps mitigate risks, ensure understanding, and build successful long-term partnerships.

Don’t Decide Based on Price

Although cost savings are still the top reason why companies decide to outsource, going with the lowest-priced option can sometimes lead to serious quality issues mentioned above. Losing the image your brand has worked so hard to achieve isn’t worth the cost savings.

Getting Past Language Challenges

If you know that accents and cultural differences in international outsourcing will hurt your customer base, then select vendors with little to no discerning accents. 

No Apples-to-Apples Comparison

Trying to find a call center that fits your needs can be quite overwhelming having in mind the competition in the industry. If you’re a small business, partnering with a huge call center can result in a mismatch of goals and expectations. The same is true if you’re a huge business and partner with a small vendor. To avoid this, find vendors that specialize in your industry.

Create True Partnership

Having in mind everything mentioned so far, it’s not hard to understand that all of these can be achieved if you focus on forging a true partnership instead of just a contractual agreement. A true partner will go above and beyond to improve your customers’ experience with your company.

Conclusion 

With diligence on the front end and collaboration ongoing, outsourcing your call center can strengthen customer experiences and fuel business growth.

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