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Choosing In House Vs. Outsourcing Contact Centers

30th Mar 2017
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Should you keep your call center in house, or outsource it? This is a question that has many company leaders stumped. After all, this is a topic that involves some pretty heady and emotionally charged issues. A Google search of the word outsourcing will turn up some pretty passionate stuff on the topics of economics, politics, and even social justice.

Ultimately, on those matters, companies must follow their own code of of ethics. Then there are the other factors to be considered. These will be addressed here. If you are on the fence when it comes to outsourcing vs. keeping your contact center in house, keep reading. The following comparative analysis could be useful to you.

In House Call Centers Require Staff to Manage And Compensate

In order to maintain an onsite call center, businesses must maintain adequate staff. This requires predicting the number of resources they will need at any given time. This isn’t easy if there are seasonal fluctuations or unpredictability relating to growth.

Some of this cost can be controlled by using temp agencies to as a way to deal with fluctuating staffing  needs. However, there must also be a layer of management and supervisory staff that are kept employed to manage and train call center staff.

The fact that these employees will receive benefits as part of their employment should be considered as well. This will require additional work from the Human Resources department. There is also the cost of hiring and training to be considered. It should be noted that call center workers last only about a year on the job on average. This is lower than workers in other fields.

In House Call Centers Must Contain Adequate Infrastructure

It takes a lot of equipment for a call center employee to do their job. This includes the workstation, physical space required and occasionally self-storage spaces, telephony, servers, and the additional information technology resources that are needed to keep everything in working order.

This is not a one time expense either. This equipment must be upgraded on a regular basis. In fact, every few years replacement should be an expectation. With outsourcing the cost and effort for maintaining the needed infrastructure is the responsibility of the service provider.

Outsourced Call Center Solutions May be More Appropriate When Growth is Expected

When your company grows and expands, you have a lot to think about. This includes website localization, hiring staff in new regions or new countries, an dealing with the logistics and legalities of expanding. You will face many similar struggles if you grow your product line as well.

One thing to consider is whether or not your existing call center can handle that kind of growth. If it cannot, are you able to grow it quickly so that it can? Is it even something you want to consider? If you are expanding internationally, this may mean  hiring bilingual staff.

Customers Often Have Negative Reactions to Interacting With Outsourced CSRs

However, the news is not all in favor of outsourcing. When a customer realizes they are communicating with an offshore call center, they often feel frustrated. This is, in many cases, because they feel as if they and their concerns are being pawned off. If your marketing efforts tout personalized service, that can be an issue.

While not all outsourced support centers are offshored, many are. This can cause communications issues, both real and imagined. Whatever the case may be, it may not be something businesses want to introduce at a time when a customer is having difficulties and simply wants help or information.

Outsourced Call Contact Centers May Only Charge For Active Call Time

This is a comparison that isn’t 100 percent easy to make as there are many variables. However, employees at an in house call center must be compensated for the entire time they are on the job. It doesn’t matter if they are actively answering call or engaging with customers.

When it comes to outsourcing telephone customer support, things are a bit different. Depending on the agency and the agreement, a client may only be billed for the total amount of time that agents are actively engaging with customers. Time on hold, or simply waiting for calls to come in may not be billable.

Customer Interaction Can be More Organic With In House Solutions

In house staff is more likely to understand your branding, and to naturally infuse their interactions with words and phrases that communicate your brand. This often happens in the midst of genuine engagement with customers.

If you outsource, you may need to rely heavily on scripts to ensure that reps communicate with customers correctly. This can make interactions stilted and awkward. This significant because by 2020 customer experience will trump anything else.

Clearly, there is no victor here. There are compelling reasons to outsource, and also compelling reasons not to. However, this guide should provide some points to consider.

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