Challenges and Opportunities of Outsourced Call Center Solutions

10/05/2024

Are your customer service costs eating into your profits? You’re not alone. Many businesses outsource their customer service tasks to call center services because of their cost-cutting potential. 

Companies can save over 55% on costs by outsourcing call center services. With Egypt’s call center industry growing at a 5% rate every year, this is the perfect opportunity to save considerable money.

Outsourced Call Center

Is outsourcing the silver bullet? Before you invest, let’s weigh the benefits and downfalls of outsourcing your customer service burdens. 

 

UNDERSTANDING THE CHALLENGES OF OUTSOURCED CALL CENTERS

An outsourced call center may seem like a foolproof solution, but it has its fair share of challenges. Before investing in such a service, ensure your business is ready to face the following hurdles. 

Communication Barriers

First and foremost, outsourcing customer service can lead to various communication barriers, especially language issues. 

Research found that approximately 75% of consumers who speak a language other than English prefer to work with customer service reps who speak their language. Most importantly, the call center agency should be fluent in English. 

Otherwise, it will lead to frustration and misunderstanding. This is still relevant if your outsourcing team is fluent in English but not local to the business’ country. The differences in accents, vocabulary, and fluency affect the conversation more than you think. 

Other than that, different time zones can also lead to communication barriers. 51% of people believe a business needs to be available 24/7 to meet their expectations. Differences in time zones can affect your customer service team’s always-on approach.

Sure, they may be available to answer calls round-the-clock, but can you say the same for other teams in your business? How would the outsourced call center team contact your sales team to help resolve urgent support outside their working hours? 

 

Cultural Differences

Of course, cultural differences can also impact how customers receive their service. Varying cultures hold drastically different expectations and norms for customer service

For instance, research shows that American customers like to give their opinions and leave feedback, positive or negative. In addition, they are very likely to spread negative word-of-mouth about their experience (13% will tell at least 15 people). 

Meanwhile, in broad outline, the European feedback culture varies drastically from that of the US. European customers don’t tend to share positive feedback, only negative. On the contrary,  Canadian customers tend to refrain from leaving negative reviews.

Egyptian customers tend to express their dissatisfaction or frustration openly and expect an immediate resolution to their concerns.

Misunderstanding these nuances can create negative experiences and unhappy customers. However, you can train your outsourced call center team to understand your customers’ communication styles, expectations, and unspoken social cues. 

 

Quality Control

Without constant supervision from your company, quality control issues are bound to arise within your outsourced call center team. It’s hard to ensure their services are up to your company’s standards when the team isn’t available in-house. 

BPO Call Center Services

Changing customer service tones and approaches may confuse long-time callers, leading to lower Customer Satisfaction scores (CSAT) and First-Call Resolution (FCR) rates.

The solution? Maintain efficient communication between your in-house team and outsourced team for constant monitoring. This will include call recordings, customer surveys, and regular performance reviews with the outsourced provider.

 

EXPLORING THE STRATEGIC ADVANTAGES OF OUTSOURCED CALL CENTER

Of course, we wouldn’t recommend outsourced call center services if it wasn’t a great business opportunity. They can come with tons of strategic advantages, including: 

Cost Savings

Labor costs account for most call center expenses, but outsourcing to lower-wage regions can lead to major cost reductions. Outsourced call center services can help cut customer service expenses by 50%. 

First, let’s look at what an average in-house customer service team costs in the US:

Since you’ll need multiple customer service reps, this can add up to 1–2% of the total revenue for most businesses. Meanwhile, outsourced call center providers like NAOS Solutions offer complete, expert teams at a fraction of this cost. 

Plus, you’ll save money on rent, equipment, software licenses, and utilities without an in-house call center team to pay for. This way, you can reallocate your financial resources to more critical initiatives. 

 

Scalability

Outsourced call centers have a readily available talent pool. This allows businesses to quickly scale up during peak seasons in terms of call volume without affecting their hiring and training periods.

Managed Call Center Services

Dealing with more calls than usual during a viral campaign? The outsourced call center provider will quickly scale their services without any worry on your end. 

And it goes the other way around, too. If demand decreases, they can scale down operations just as quickly – gone are the days of wasting money on unused labor capacity and infrastructure.

Plus, outsourcing opens 24/7 staffing possibilities if you plan on expanding your business globally. Your internal customers will enjoy round-the-clock support without you needing to manage a shift-based in-house team.

 

Access to Specialized Skills

Outsourcing gives you a global talent advantage. You’ll be able to tap into specialized agents – the kind you might struggle to find or train in-house – who understand the nitty-gritty of your industry, whether it’s healthcare, finance, or tech. 

This means your customers won’t have to deal with generic support – they’ll get the tailored expertise they deserve.

For instance, if you’re running a healthcare business, your outsourced team will have experienced callers answering medical questions on the spot. Outsourced teams also include financial specialists to handle complex transactions. 

 

BEST PRACTICES FOR MANAGING YOUR OUTSOURCED CALL CENTER

So, now that you’ve weighed the pros and cons, you can decide whether an outsourced call center solution is the right choice for your business. If yes, remember these tips and practices to ensure your outsourced team meets your company standards.

External Call Center Services

 

Common Outsourcing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Certain pitfalls can significantly undermine the effectiveness of your customer service when outsourcing call center operations. Understanding these common mistakes can help you craft a more successful outsourcing strategy.

  1. Ambiguous Requirements

The foundation of a strong outsourcing partnership lies in a clear and detailed project scope. Avoid general statements like “enhance customer satisfaction” without specifying measurable targets (e.g., increase customer satisfaction scores by 10%). Clear, quantifiable expectations prevent misinterpretation and ensure both parties are aligned.

  1. Inadequate Technical Specifications

Ensure that all technical requirements are explicitly stated. This includes specifying hardware setups, software compatibility, and network bandwidth requirements. Precise technical details prevent operational hiccups and ensure the outsourced team is fully equipped to integrate with your existing infrastructure.

  1. Vague Process Definitions 

Documenting detailed procedures guides the outsourced team’s daily operations, ensuring consistency in customer interactions. Specify each step of customer engagement processes to minimize discretion and variability in service delivery.

By proactively addressing these areas, you can mitigate risks and enhance the efficiency and quality of your outsourced call center services, fostering a relationship that brings sustained value to your business.

 

Establishing Effective Communication Protocols

The only way to ensure your outsourced team meets your standards is by staying in contact. Here are a few tips for establishing effective communication protocols:

  • Clarity is King: Define your expectations from the get-go. How often do you want to communicate? What are your preferred channels? What escalation procedures do you have in place for urgent issues?

 

  • The Right Tools: Invest in or ensure the outsourced team has access to collaborative tools to bridge communication gaps and ensure everyone is on the same page. These could include
    • Project management tools (e.g., Asana or Trello for real-time task tracking and progress updates)
    • Shared knowledge base (i.e., a central library for scripts, FAQs, product information, and company policies)
    • Co-browsing and screen-sharing tools

 

  • Designated Point of Contact: Establish a single point of contact on both your end and the outsourced provider’s side. That may be your customer service manager, technical lead, or training specialist – having multiple contact points is possible. This is the simplest way to streamline communication and avoid confusion.

Offshore Call Center Solutions

  • Detailed escalation procedures: Ensure that all service requests, especially those that cannot be resolved initially, are systematically escalated to higher expertise or authority levels, ensuring timely and effective resolution.

A well-defined escalation process involves specifying which issues require escalation, to whom they are escalated, and the expected timelines for resolution. By clearly documenting these procedures, both the outsourced and the in-house teams can maintain a consistent understanding and approach, reducing response times and improving customer experience.

 

Cultural Integration Workshops

Cultural and linguistic differences are the first barrier you must overcome when outsourcing your call center responsibilities. If you want an effective partnership, your outsourced team must deeply understand cultural nuances. To make sure they meet your company’s standards of cultural integration, you can conduct regular workshops focusing on:

  • Communication Styles: Discuss differences in directness, formality, and conflict resolution approaches. For instance, how would you expect them to respond to a particularly direct or assertive client?
  • Customer Expectations: Explore how service expectations might differ between your customer base and your outsourced team’s location.
  • Building Rapport: Encourage activities that allow your outsourced and in-house teams to get to know each other personally.

Most importantly, don’t forget to invest time and resources in sensitivity training. This is your opportunity to address potential biases or stereotypes on both sides head-on. With open dialogue, you can create a respectful and inclusive work environment.

 

Regular Performance Tracking

Lastly, remember to keep tracking your outsourced team’s performance. To get a return on your investment, the outsourced team must meet certain KPIs that align with your business goals, which may include. 

  • First Call Resolution (FCR)
  • Average Handle Time (AHT)
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
  • Quality Assurance (QA) scores

Don’t just track metrics – analyze them with the outsourced provider’s help to pinpoint improvement areas. Then, you can schedule regular performance reviews to offer constructive feedback where needed.

 

CONCLUSION

Outsourced call center solutions have their fair share of challenges and opportunities. 

The key takeaway? Strike a perfect balance. Don’t treat outsourcing as simply offloading work; treat it as a chance to upgrade your customer service operations. 

Ready to see how outsourcing can completely transform your customer experience? Our experts at NAOS CX are here to guide you. Contact us today, and let us offer a solution that will leave your customers happy and your bottom line healthier. 

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Copyright by NAOS Solutions. All rights reserved.

Copyright by NAOS Solutions. All rights reserved.