Whether your business is involved with financial services, tech, e-commerce, healthcare, hospitality, or one of dozens of other industries, outsourcing business processes to a contact center helps customers access your services while lightening your internal workload.
There are many benefits to outsourcing, of course, but one common concern that holds some companies back is the thought of sending tasks overseas, where managers can’t oversee task completion themselves. Other inhibitors preventing international outsourcing relationships may hinge on time zone differences, and the inability to communicate in real time during the standard work day.
Both of these particular problems can be solved by onshoring. For US-based companies, that would mean outsourcing work to agencies and call centers also based here in the United States.
The guide below provides a full review on everything you need to know about the benefits of outsourcing services, what to look for in an ideal partner, and how to select your outsourcing partner—and, of course, why many companies decide that a US-based call center is the best choice for them.
Call centers facilitate customer care by solving problems, delivering technical support, identifying new sales and marketing leads, and selling your products and services. With so many highly regarded outsourcing destinations around the world, like the Philippines, India, Malaysia, and Brazil, it may surprise you to know that the USA has over 36,000 call centers right here at home.
Why opt for a U.S. call center over an international one? Well, the final decision will vary for each organization, but there are several advantages of sticking with a domestic call center:
As you can imagine, most US-based call centers hire from the local workforce, which happens to be largely made up highly educated, US-born employees. Hiring native English speakers prevents language barriers from complicating communications with US callers—and working with agents who speak callers’ native language can have a huge impact on customer experience.
In addition, agents who are American citizens or green card holders generally have a very thorough knowledge of US industries and businesses, making onboarding and cultural fit even easier for your call center agent partners.
The USA benefits from a stable power grid and the telecommunications tech to handle high call volumes. We also have high-speed internet and fiber networks that allow call center staff to work efficiently, whether they’re based in the office or at home.
Partnering with US-based agencies ensures that your business and customers are protected by the same compliance laws that you’re governed by yourself, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards Act (PCI DSS) and the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
The United States boasts a top-ranked global economy with a GDP of nearly $23 trillion and 2.2 percent annual growth. Much of this success is driven by a strong worth ethic and intimate knowledge of American customers. Support for workers’ rights and excellent working conditions produces satisfied employees. Costs remain predictable for startups and both large and small businesses.
Still wondering if maybe it makes more sense to just create your own in-house call center? While there may be considerations for the latter, there are definitely strong points that support outsourcing work to a team of experts.
If your company can barely keep up with current customer needs and operations, then now is not the time to start a major initiative such as creating a brand new, highly specialized department from scratch. An outsourced call center can work for you from day one without affecting the way you do business.
As call volumes fluctuate at your in-house call center across low and high seasons, you’ll need to constantly hire and fire agents to stay consistent with work volume. Outsourced call centers can maintain a huge number of experienced call center agents, but only assign agents as needed to match your current staffing needs.
Meanwhile, as your business grows progressively larger and larger, so will your workload—and with an outsourced call center, you’ll hardly feel the effects of more incoming calls and help desk tickets.
Call center softwares and technology are always being improved, and handling your own call center operations requires constant research, software trials, trainings, and implementations to keep agent processes up to date with the times.
If you’re looking for the easier (and less expensive) route, just know that top-tier call centers always use the latest softwares and communication tech, including cloud-based platforms, email, SMS text, web chat, and social media monitoring.
Tech issues don’t limit themselves to occurring during standard business hours, and customers who want to book a service or set an appointment frequently do so after they finish their own work shifts. Using an outsourced call center often enables customers to dial your phone number for support at any hour of the day, seven days a week. In addition, many partners can provide bilingual support to take care of callers from different countries.
Creating an efficient inbound call center for dealing with callers’ demands involves hiring the right people, training them, finding office space for them to work in, and setting them up with the correct equipment. Once everything is all set up, you’ll have ongoing salaries, benefits, continued training, and office and equipment expenses. In total, creating and maintaining an in-house call center is a major investment of time and money that your company could surely put towards other, more technically detailed and highly profitable pursuits.
With so many available call centers, how do you decide on which company to use? The following are some of the factors to consider when picking an outsourced call center.
You’ll want to ensure that the call center you select is large enough to handle your current call volumes, with added room to assign more agents to your project as your business grows. Partners that are too small may not have enough live agents on hand to handle your workload, plus any other client business they may handle.
Different call centers have different specialties when it comes to certain industries. For example, outbound call centers frequently hire great salespeople who can establish a rapport quickly and promote or sell products over the phone. Meanwhile, tech support and help desk agents will usually be computer-literate, with the background and experience to answer more technical caller questions and provide thorough customer support.
You want to pick a call center with customer service agents who are knowledgeable about the particular products and services that your company offers.
If you’re specifically looking for a call center partner that’s nearby, this will be important for you. Some businesses prefer to work with partners who are in the same city, and that’s fine! This makes it very easy for managers to oversee operations and provide brand-specific training to third-party agents.
Other companies may strategically decide to hire two partners within contrasting North America timezones. With one partner in Eastern Time and the other in Pacific, managers can be sure call center operations are taking phone calls for 11 hours straight while still maintaining standard 8-hour work days.
What kind of services does the call center offer to your business? Do they only handle inbound calls and act as an answering service? Can they handle your telemarketing and lead generation needs? What about incoming help desk questions?
Many call centers offer services on an a la carte basis, so you only pay for the services that you need. Whenever possible, you’ll want to choose one outsourcing partner that can handle all of your needs, rather than work with multiple partners who each specialize in one area.
What kind of tools does the outsourced vendor provide, so you can track the operations of the call center and your costs? Outsourced call centers typically base their prices on each transaction even though they bill monthly, so it’s important that you see where the money is going.
Keep an eye on call center metrics, so you can use analysis tools to evaluate the effectiveness of operations, marketing campaigns, and customer responsiveness.
When you’ve decided to outsource your call center solutions, you can follow these steps to pick the right US-based vendor.
Analyze your business needs so you can determine what you require from a call center. You’ll need to meet with the people most affected by y our decision, such as the sales and marketing teams, customer service agents, and contact center managers. You may also need to ask your technical staff about the knowledge that the call center agents will require to properly respond to callers.
Create your request for proposal (RFP), detailing your company’s requirements and addressing each need or concern noted by the internal teams you’ve met with. The more clear you can be in your RFP, the better match you will find. Before submitting your RFP for partners to respond to, send it to your internal teams for one last review to make sure their concerns are addressed appropriately.
After submitting your RFP, you may get hundreds or even thousands of responses that you’ll have to sort through to identify the best match. When you work with TDS Global Solutions for outsourcing, we’ll pare all responses down for you to provide a much more manageably sized list of call center outsourcing companies that best meet your criteria.
Evaluate the responses that you receive, and make note of the ones that best meet your criteria. You may want to create a weighted scorecard to help you quantitatively evaluate vendor responses. Reduce the shortlist to at least three finalists.
Meet with the shortlisted vendors to ask more detailed questions. Ask about a trial run, which nearly all vendors offer, so you can test their reliability and how they work with your customers and business process.
Finally, choose one outsourced call center and plan on integrating them with your company.
Although it may sound like a large undertaking—all the factors to consider, the RFP process, pairing down all those responses—finding your perfect match in call centers doesn’t need to be difficult.
In fact, TDS Global Solutions has made an entire business out of simplifying call center outsourcing for companies all over the world. Our 30+ years of service in the call center industry has allowed us to build up a database of partners and match businesses with the best fit for them. We look at areas of specialty, services provided, agent retention rates, English proficiency levels, and more. You tell us what your business needs are, and we connect you with the right partner for the job — without any fees involved for our service.
Our strong relationships with thousands of USA-based call center service providers means we can surely connect you with a partnership that meets your needs. Send us a message today and see how we can help you find your ideal call center partner!