Best Practices in Managing an Outsourced Call Center
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Derek Gallimore, Founder at Outsource Accelerator.
Nowadays, businesses turn to business process outsourcing companies for their staff augmentation needs such as customer support and service. A call center team handles this type of service on a daily basis, and proper management is necessary for success!
If you’re a first-timer in outsourcing or you’re planning to hire your first call center, you need to get to know the basics of the trade. Call center companies cater to different sectors and handle different roles, so you have a wide range of variety to choose from.
Here’s a checklist of what you need:
- Clear objectives for outsourcing
- Specific KPIs to measure your team’s progress
- Good set of equipment and tools
- Leadership to supervise the entire operation
Below I’ve gathered the best practices in managing outsourced call center teams in terms of tools, equipment, and leadership.
Check Out a Good CRM Software
Customer Relations Management (CRM) can refer to three things: technology, strategy, or process, but they all deal with the strategic planning and management of customer relations. CRM enables us to establish a customer relationship, assist in customer retention, and drive sales growth.
CRM systems compile customer information and ways of communication between customers and the business, including the company’s website, contact number, email address, and social media accounts for the team’s use. Latest CRM advancements include work integration such as:
- Work collaboration
- Internal communication
- Automation for marketing, sales, contact support, and geolocation
- Performance monitoring for supervisors.
With good CRM comes good customer relations and leads. To do this, your team needs to have a powerful CRM software that can track customer engagement, leads, marketing, and analytics. Some of the top products in the market include Zoho, Salesforce, and Freshsales.
These platforms enable you to manage customer engagements, including calls, email, chat messages, social media and more.
Get the Best Performance Monitoring Software
Your team should be routinely supervised to ensure the quality of their performance because, at the end of the day, their output reflects your business.
Call center monitoring is done through key performance indicators (KPIs) for both qualitative and quantitative performance. Quantitative performance refers to the number of customer issues, support, and sales an agent handled. Meanwhile, qualitative refers to whether each call is resolved, dropped, or transferred to another agent, and the average duration of each call including customer waiting time. These factors can affect customer satisfaction, whether their issues were resolved quickly, or they waited too long they already dropped the call.
The one who will oversee the operation should have a performance monitoring software to effectively track the employees. It should monitor employee performance through time tracking and workload monitoring, and quality assurance for checking the quality of calls. These platforms generate visual reports that let you analyze the progress by the whole team and have a projection on when your team can achieve their objectives.
Invest in High-Quality VoIP
Voice over Internet Phone (VoIP) is the usual business phones in call centers. They provide internal and external communications then convert and transmit them over the internet. Unlike an analog phone, this has the capability to send SMS, transmit a fax message, and connect to an internet protocol for data, networking, and voice.
In order for your team to provide smooth customer support, you should invest in reliable VoIPs that can provide you with good service in incoming and outgoing calls to your customers. Avaya is one of the most popular VoIP brands and has been used by call centers for years as it offers different platforms, including cloud services, that give a wide range of services for call center teams.
Establish Internal Communication and Collaboration
Your team should also establish proper internal communication in order to streamline processes and create a good working environment that helps them to achieve their goals through teamwork. Platforms such as Skype and Google Hangouts can be used for internal messaging. Your team supervisor can create chat groups according to their assigned tasks for more organized communication.
Work collaboration apps like Asana and Slack, meanwhile, can be used to assign tasks to your team and invite them to collaborate on different projects. Create separate groups for each goal to achieve weekly and monthly, then another group for individual tasks assigned to the employees. This way, everyone has a checklist of the tasks they need to achieve.
Opt for a Digital Payment Method for Easier Payments
Payment processing is easier if made online and if your outsourced team is overseas, you won’t have a hard time paying your outsourcing company on time without additional charges. With Payoneer, you can pay your company hassle-free and quickly through its payment features. Pay your outsourcing company for free by adding your company’s Payoneer account, or you can transfer their payments to their bank account for a minimal fee.You can also pay them through the platform’s mass payout function.
Find a Good Location for Your Outsourced Call Center Team
A good location for a call center can have a huge advantage to your business, especially overseas. The top countries to outsource call centers are typically in Asia and Eastern Europe. These countries, while having their own specializations, highlight its low-cost, high-quality companies to outsourcing services, most especially in the field of customer service and tech support.
- India – India boasts its wide range of specializations, mostly in tech support and customer service. In addition, the twelve-hour time zone difference enables companies to offer 24/7 service to its clients.
- The Philippines – With a high level of English proficiency and cultural affinity to the West, companies connect more easily to clients. The country specializes in financial services and voice support.
- Poland – Its nine-hour difference to the West and English proficiency gives this country an edge in servicing its clients. The country focuses mostly on IT-related services and support.
Equip Them with Good Hardware
A good call center team should be equipped with hardware that can deliver great performance to them. Aside from VoIPs, call center companies usually require the following:
- Desktops that run on Windows or Citrix – These should come with at least 2 GB of RAM, a large internal drive memory, audio and graphics card, cloud technology, and the latest core processor that can withstand even a high volume of calls and processes. HP and Dell are among the top brands used for these and can provide the best performance your team will need.
- USB headsets – A call center typically receives a high number of calls so it’s natural for agents to have individual headsets to use. Headsets like Jabra and Plantronics usually have noise cancellation features to filter outside noises and communicate with customers more clearly.
- Interactive voice response (IVR) systems – IVR systems allow customers to access information even without having to talk to an agent. This system is also used for forwarding calls to a different agent or team that can handle a customer’s concern.
Hire a Good Leadership Team for Your Business
Last but not least, good equipment and high-performance hardware won’t be useful without a good team leader to oversee and manage the operation on your behalf.
- An operations manager oversees the whole operation of your call center team, so it’s best to hire someone with trusted expertise, good time management skills, and organizational skills.
- A team leader, meanwhile, supervises the team’s performance and prepares a report on the team’s work efficiency and progress. In addition, they’re required to interview and hire new agents, deal with HR matters and motivate employees so it’s best to hire someone who can be reliable in supervising your team.
Along with your manager and team leader, your outsourcing company will provide a set of good employees to do your outsourced tasks, so make sure to keep them satisfied by rewarding them for a good job done.
Proper training towards your manager and team leader is important to manage your call center team more effectively. Failure to train them for their job leads to failure of handling a call center team. Get your team on the right track!
Derek Gallimore is fervently passionate about business and outsourcing and is on a mission to help others with their outsourcing journey. Derek has been in business 20 years, outsourcing six years and based in Manila, Philippines – the world’s outsourcing capital – for over four years. Derek is the founder of Outsource Accelerator, the world’s largest outsourcing platform.