Getting Comfortable With the Outsourcing Model

As a contact center manager, you may be kept busy all day conveying guidance and instructions to agents. If that’s the case, you may want to step back from your hands-on approach for a moment and take a bird’s eye view of the service you’re providing when customers reach out to you. Is your team hitting the mark to ensure maximum contact center services ROI? If your analysis determines that your contact center struggles in this regard, you may need to head in a new direction.

Partnering with a third-party contact center service provider may be your answer. Does the loss of control that such a change may bring concern you? If so, know that the perks will far outweigh any challenges. In fact, many organizations are turning to the outsourcing model—and enjoying customer service benefits and considerable cost savings as a result. This is evidenced by Everest Group research that shows that the global third-party contact center market grew at about 7 percent in 2013 to reach almost $75 billion. Since 2009, per the report, the contact center outsourcing market has witnessed steady growth with increasing contract activity.

So why does partnering with an experienced third-party company, like InfoCision, make sense for your business? For one, outsourcing core contact center processes and workflows will allow your organization to provide 24/7 customer service at a price point that won’t break the bank. When contact center costs, such as for operations, infrastructure, overhead and labor, are significantly reduced—that is, being handled by an external service provider—the savings can be significant.

What’s more, customer service quality can be enhanced through a third-party arrangement. For example, at InfoCision, quality is the cornerstone of our contact center outsourcing program; each of our facilities hold 48 to 72 workstations with a 9-1 Communicator-to-supervisor ratio. This ratio inherently assures that contact center programs will be executed seamlessly, remain compliant with government regulations, and that Communicators will adhere to high-quality standards.

At InfoCision, we ensure our services are defined by excellence so our clients receive the very best contact center assistance and the highest possible ROI for contact center services. Click here to learn more.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Teleservices Association (ATA). He also donates his time to serve on several University boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s higher honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Voice Interactions and Quality Reps Still Reign in the Contact Center

On this blog we frequently discuss how critical it is that contemporary businesses employ multichannel marketing and customer service solutions. Indeed, customers increasingly expect to be able to reach a company via their preferred channel, meaning a multi-channel approach is essential to providing a high quality of customer service.

Still, voice remains the most popular channel for customer service. Approximately 90 percent of consumers aged 18-65 indicated they speak with live representatives at least some of the time, according to a recent survey from MarketingCharts. So although we certainly live in a multichannel world, quality service representatives are still the cornerstone of a top-notch contact center.

Recognizing that quality agents are critical to great phone interactions is a good first step, but pinpointing exactly what that means—and figuring out how to execute a strategy—is a different matter entirely. Particularly for those companies delving into the contact center space for the first time or expanding their current hub, creating a first-class service environment can seem like a daunting task. So let’s break down this issue into three distinct ingredients for high-quality phone service:

Hire the Right Kind of People

We all know it takes a certain kind of person to succeed in the customer service space. Workers who possess a combination of work experience, commitment to the job, unwavering patience and a calm demeanor are certainly more likely to meet and overcome challenges. Even if it takes a little extra time to find the right kind of people for your contact center, the extra effort is worth it. One negative interaction can make a customer feel as if he or she is not valued by your company, which makes loyalty and retention difficult.

Give Representatives the Tools They Need

Even the most well-trained, highly-qualified agents are limited in what they can achieve without modern tools. For instance, customer relationship management and other technologies puts customer information at their representatives’ fingertips, allowing them to give consumers a more personal touch and increasing the odds any problems are resolved quickly and effectively.

Invest in Robust Agent Training

Providing new representatives with a “crash course” for just a few days will cost more time and money than extra training in the long run. Simply put, effective agents understand the core competencies and product offerings of the companies they represent. One of the most common reasons customers abandon calls is that they feel the agent isn’t knowledgeable about the company and its offerings. Meanwhile, one-third of inbound contact centers still have no processes in place to protect customers’ interests by making them aware of products or services that may help them, according to Dimension Data’s 2013-14 contact center benchmarking report. Protecting those interests starts with connecting them with knowledgeable agents.

InfoCision has been a trailblazer in the contact center space for decades, and our wide array of solutions can help your company climb all the barriers to first-class customer service. For more information about how InfoCision can help you achieve excellent voice interactions with high-quality agents, check out this Customer Magazine profile on InfoCision Chief of Staff Steve Brubaker.

Ask Yourself: How Hard Are You Working for Your Customers This Labor Day?

Near the close of summer every year Americans honor our hard-working spirit on Labor Day. If you run a successful business, you’ve almost certainly put in long hours and gone above and beyond in your quest to create an outstanding product or service. But as you enjoy the holiday this year, we encourage you to think about how hard you are working for your customers as well.

Although customers don’t always see everything you do for them behind the scenes, they do understand full well the difference between great and mediocre service. That’s why it’s so important to align the most qualified people in your contact center with access to the most advanced tools available today. Some of these tools include:

  • A skills-based routing  system that matches Communicators with inbound and outbound calls based on the program-specific training they receive and the proficiency they show for particular types of calls
  • IVR technology that gives callers simple, efficient options for accessing information that doesn’t require the assistance of a Communicator
  •  CRM that allows your employees to tailor customer service and marketing personally to the needs of individual consumers

In general, the amount of time and effort you put into your customer service is inversely proportional to how difficult it is for your customers to get the information or assistance they need. And, quite simply, customers no longer have the patience to wait for service. As customer service expert Micah Solomon explained in a recent Forbes blog post, responding to an online service request within a day is no longer anything to write home about.

“‘We respond to all inquiries within 24 hours’ means you’re answering in about 46 days, I figure, if you do the conversion to Internet time,” he writes. “It’s simply not good enough.”

So as you take a little time for yourself this Labor Day, think about what you expect as a customer yourself, and then consider whether you are working hard to ensure your company meets that same standard.