SERVICESWHAT SERVICES SHOULD I ASK FOR?
Call centers offer a wide array of products and services, including live call answering, interactive voice response (IVR), message dispatch and more. Regardless of the methodology used, the primary objective of any call center is to facilitate effective communication between a business, and the people contacting that business.
Some of the most common services offered by call centers include:
- 24/7 live call answering
- Interactive voice response (IVR)
- Message relay and dispatch
- Live web chat response
- Toll free and area code-specific phone numbers
- Online web portals to review calls
- Email response
Whether the communication takes place over the phone, via online web chat, or through email - every interaction that a customer has with a call center agent is reflective on the business that the call center is representing. That’s why, above all else, the ability to effectively communicate should be considered top priority when hiring a call center.
More than just answering the phone, a call center agent should be able to answer questions, route phone calls to the correct individual, take orders, perform tier 1 technical support , and more. Before hiring a call center, it’s important to understand the services they offer, and what the needs of the business are.
- Do you just need someone who can take a call and relay that message when you’re not available?
- Do you need a more proactive call center that can nurture sales leads, and help grow your business?
A good call center should be able to handle requests across various outlets including the phone, web and email.Takeaway?
Before hiring a call center, make sure to get a full list of the products and services they offer. Find out if it can proactively help grow your business, and what it can do to help facilitate that growth.WHAT CHALLENGES SHOULD I EXPECT A CALL CENTER TO SOLVE?
The primary mission of every call center is to answer the phone when someone calls, but more and more businesses are relying on call centers to help find creative and effective solutions to proactively grow their businesses. For those businesses that need a call center to go beyond just answering the phone, its important to find out what type of advanced service offerings they have. Some of the more advanced offerings include:
- Custom script prompting and call workflows
- Sales lead qualifying
- Bilingual and multilingual agents
- Advanced Web or CRM integrations
- Call recording access
- Customized reports
Moreover, business may want to consider whether or not prospective call centers that have direct industry experience and/or the necessary qualifications to operate in that particular industry
- HIPAA-certified agents
- Direct experience with lawyers, property managers, etc…
- Testimonials from current clientele
A quality call center should do more than just answer the phone. Find out if the call center has any experience in your industry and asks what products and services they offer that can create more opportunities for business growth.WHAT'S A REASONABLE AMOUNT TO SPEND ON OUTSOURCING COMMUNICATIONS?
The cost of outsourcing your call center is dependent on a multitude of factors. How many minutes do you need per month? Do you want to go the cheaper route and hire an offshore call center where English is not their primary language? Are there additional features and benefits that cost extra? Are there any long-term contracts that will impose additional costs if those terms are broken?Takeaway?
Before hiring a call center for your business, make sure to fully understand the terms and conditions of their service contracts.DOES IT MATTER WHERE MY CALL CENTER IS LOCATED?
The physical location of a call center, and it's agents, is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a provider that’s right for your business. While every call center is different, and the products and services offered will vary from company to company, when it comes to location there are only two options to consider: onshore and offshore. Onshore call centers are based locally in the United States, while offshore call centers are based in a foreign country - often, but not always, in Asia.
There are a number of benefits to choosing an offshore call center - the most notable of which being cost. While it's not always the case, foreign call centers usually cost less to operate than one that’s based in the United States. Offshore call centers also do a reasonably good job at responding to straight-forward interactions with customers and relaying any messages that come from those interactions back to the business.
Where offshore call centers often fall short is the language barrier between the call center agent and your customers. Customers may get upset and demand to "...speak to someone in the U.S." if that’s where the business is located. The communication barrier may also take longer to complete the desired outcome of the call, resulting in higher call durations.
There are a number of benefits to hiring an onshore call center - the most notable of which being the ability to effectively communicate with customers, which are more likely to report a positive experience with the brand they interacted with.
While onshore call centers will be better able to communicate with the majority of customers calling in, one potential drawback of hiring an onshore call centers is cost. While most onshore call centers are full featured and offer a better customer experience, they do typically cost more than offshore call centers.
Almost every American that's dealt with a large company over the phone has first-hand experience with an offshore call center. Westpark Communications is a US-based outsourcing call center with specialized experience that has been in business since 1968. We would love to get to know a little more about your business communication challenges by sending you a free custom proposal!