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Contact Center Transformation Via The Cloud

Cloud computing has become a main digital transformation strategy for business, and contact centers are no different. Software, services, and storage via the internet have become a common conversation point in business. According to a recent report, the cloud-based contact center market is expected to grow from $6.47 billion in 2017 to $24.11 billion by 2023.

While the digital transformation began a few years ago, many companies are still wondering if the cloud is worth their time. Cloud communications can be particularly effective in the contact center market. Although there are challenges facing contact centers when approaching cloud-based services, the overwhelming benefits of using the cloud outweigh them.

The Role of the Cloud in a Contact Center

Contact centers are technologically heavy enterprises. They are dependent on telecommunications while requiring computers to record and process data. AI trends and interactive platforms have reduced the human element only to increase the technological need.

Legacy systems are designed to house the technological engine in a server room, storing data and running systems on-site near the employees. However, contact centers are evolving with the modern workforce. As the workforce becomes more effective and efficient, the technology should as well.

The cloud is one digital transformation that can create more efficiencies in how contact centers operate. Employees who work from home can use cloud computing as remote desktops, allowing contact centers to maximize a mobile, remote work trend. Similarly, cloud computing can be used as backup and storage, taking the burden away from in-house IT infrastructure. Not only will the cost of hardware decrease, but the capacity of IT staff will increase.

Most importantly, cloud computing allows a contact center to access its data for analytic purposes, increasing efficiencies throughout the organization.

benefits of using the cloud

The cloud is one digital transformation that can create more efficiencies in how contact centers operate.

Benefits of Using the Cloud

There are numerous benefits of using the cloud. One of the most important and overarching benefits of cloud-based contact centers is the customer experience.

Since cloud computing is based on a pay-per-use model, contact centers can scale easily and quickly based on client need. Instead of balancing when to scale up with the potential of a downturn, cloud computing allows adaptation of both up and down movement based entirely on demand.

Adding communication channels like messenger services is easily achieved without needless network administration and headache. Customers expect multiple ways to access agents, and cloud computing gives access and ability without bolting on new technology that often cannot interact with legacy systems.

In addition to scalability and technology, cloud services also manage cost control. The pay-per-use model ensures you do not contract for more than you need. Cloud computing agility allows you to deploy and improve services quickly and efficiently, without lag time.

Another important aspect for a contact center is data. Reporting and analytics offered by cloud computing can help you use the data you gather. Instead of collecting and storing customer information with no business benefit, the information can be processed to learn what is working, what is not working and ultimately how to benefit your customers more.

Challenges for Contact Centers Using the Cloud

Cloud choices can be overwhelming. Storage and server options available include private, public and hybrid. While private servers offer the most security, as infrastructure is dedicated solely to your company, the cost can be prohibitive. Public cloud storage provides cost benefits by sharing with multiple companies, but security can be riskier. Hybrid can be a functional compromise, offering the best of both options.

The most significant challenge for a contact center is that you are trusting your data to someone else. While the data technically belongs to you, as does the customer information, a third party is storing and securing the data. Access and security threats can become an issue. Ultimately, your contact center is responsible for customer data that is not under your control when stored via a remote cloud server.

Data is no longer contained within a self-sufficient network. Although secured and encrypted, data is exposed anytime it’s moving via the internet. Distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks can be particularly threatening since the server is remote and potentially shared with other clients. Though your contact center might not be the target, data is exposed when other companies are breached.

Costs involving scalability, development and hardware are more easily managed. However, there is one factor few contact centers consider when transitioning to the cloud. Cloud computing and storage requires all information to pass over the internet. Consumption of bandwidth is a significant obstacle, especially for backups and storage. All other activity can slow to a crawl anytime backups or information transfers are occurring.

Despite the challenges and loss of data control, positives of cloud storage and computing are far more beneficial for your contact center. Successful and profitable call centers will continue to maximize technological advancements, and the cloud is one advancement that cannot be avoided.

Questions for your contact center vendor

So, you’ve worked with a contact center consultant and have chosen to outsource. In the big picture, call centers look alike. Yet, in the case of contact center outsourcing, you cannot be too careful with your brand.

Basic request for proposal (RFP) questions are used to sort out the disastrous and horrible. Before hiring based on basic questions, it’s necessary to dig deeper. After all, a contact center operates on behalf of your business, interacting with your customers directly.

Your line of questioning should become more challenging and harder to answer. Contact center outsourcing vendors who are worth your time will appreciate the thorough approach. The following questions are designed to dig to the root of how a call center vendor will behave.

What is your disaster response?

Disaster can come in many forms when your business is using a contact center outsourcing vendor. Downturns in economy threaten call centers as budgets are slashed, yet customer expectations remain high. Has the contact center gone through a downturn before, and how did they handle it?

Similarly, issues arise during implementation. Systems can malfunction, staffing can be unreliable, and goals can be missed while servicing a new client. Make sure to understand what processes they have in place to keep implementation running smoothly.

Also, challenge the contact center outsourcing vendor on ways they will be able to avoid common issues with implementation.

How will you respond to threats?

One threat that can derail and topple the most prepared call center is a cyberattack. Call centers are most at risk for hacking, as the contact center outsourcing vendor has all your customer data. Pushing a potential vendor on their preparedness for a cybersecurity threat is necessary, as protecting your customer’s data is vital.

Ask them if they’ve ever suffered from a cybersecurity issue. Review their data security protocols, including how they store data in their network. Make sure the company can keep your customer’s data secure.

How can you contribute to opportunities for growth?

Business is a changing landscape, and opportunities can arise quickly. Contact center outsourcing vendors who are agile and prepared can adapt to ensure growth and success for your company. Are they able to deploy additional lines of service quickly? Can they upsell without upsetting your customers? Do they have the core staff and experience?

Nuances in management and experience will affect the company’s ability to flex for your benefit. Plus, a vendor should be able to align their contact center to your company’s strategy and objectives. Make sure their answers are clear and specific.

What types of services do you offer?

Call centers can be made up of a variety of services and offerings. Although you may envision customer support services, vendors who can offer telemarketing and live chat services might provide a benefit as well.

Knowing up front all the services offered will help you decide who has offers the most in potential growth and customer focus.

Do you offer employee training and coaching?

Training and coaching speak to a cultural environment in which the contact center hires and attracts top talent. Once they have hired the best employees, they make sure to keep them with training and coaching.

The best call centers even use contact center consulting to ensure their employees are in optimal condition to handle customer issues and questions. Question vendors regarding their stance on education and coaching, even to the point of asking what is their per-employee spend.

A contact center you want to work with will welcome your questions and have data to prove their actions.

What differentiates you from other contact center outsourcing options?

You might have an idea of what is different between the options. You may be accurate. Rather than assume, push the vendors to answer the question for you. Find out what they think differentiates them. Do they believe they have the best talent? Ask them for data showing that. Do they believe their technology gives them an edge? Push them to show you their technology.

Find out what is their value proposition. Once you learn what they pride themselves on, push them to prove it through hard numbers and data.

How big is your team?

The size of a contact center outsourcing vendor’s customer service team can differentiate between good and great customer service. A smaller teamtends to offer a deeper level of customer care. Management can communicate more easily with their agents, and coaching occurs more easily with quicker effectiveness.

Using contact center consulting to find the right fit

The world of contact center outsourcing is large with many players. Like finding a needle in a haystack, moving through the RFP process can be time-consuming and challenging. Put your trust in Call Center Optimization Group and our contact center consulting to help you find the right outsourcing fit. We have fully vetted partners, and we know the right questions to ask to ensure you have the perfect call center for your business.

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Call Center Outsourcing: Building your ideal customer experience

Contact centers are the heartbeat of your company’s customer experience. Unfortunately, this critical component of your brand sometimes lacks the efficiencies and effectiveness you need. Whether you are looking for call center consulting or call center outsourcing, we are ready to help you.

We want to become an extension of your business, not just another consultant, and we have the process and skills to make your contact center a success.

The CCOG method

We begin our partnership with you by analyzing the situation as quickly as possible. By leveraging our call center consulting experience, we observe and identify where we can help. Together we make improvements immediately rather than taking weeks for assessment.

Once our quick assessment is finished, we partner with you and your team to create a plan of action. Change is most effective when leadership has ownership of the process, so our process requires engagement and buy-in from the leadership team. After all, no one knows your environment like your team.

We have assessed and planned for success, and the next step is when the partnership attacks. Our goal is to not drag out the process but to increase your efficiencies in an organized and focused manner. Rapid implementation of the plan ensures change without wasting your time and money.

One of the most important aspects we bring to the table in call center consulting is documentation. Lasting, productive change requires solid process recording and training material. Your contact center needs reference and instruction materials, and we make sure to provide thorough documentation.

As we move through our plan of attack, we will learn things. As we learn, we will document and share with your organization. Learning is the most important step as we move towards the last phase in call center consulting.

Finally, we refine and adjust the plan to incorporate what we both learn. The attitude of constant refinement will achieve lasting success as the organization continually optimizes.

Main services in call center consulting

We offer a whole suite of services in our effort to help businesses achieve success with their contact center operations. Our call center consulting services can cover all or some of the following services, depending on the needs of your contact center.

  • Training and organizational development, including culture development, can make sure your leaders achieve while reducing attrition. Not only can we help you create development programs, but we are also available for speaking engagements.
  • Our consulting services assist with process improvement using the CCOGmethod, helping with attrition while also keeping an eye out for call center outsourcing needs.
  • Resource utilization and deployment can be one of the biggest challenges for contact centers. Workforce management, which routes calls and assists in creating schedules and understanding capacity is necessary. Let CCOGhandle workforce management for you, ensuring you maximize efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Plus, our sales and implementation team, as well as our staffing support, can help you remain fully staffed with the right people, hiring long lasting employees the first time. We can train your inbound sales team with powerful scripts to ensure you have maximum effectiveness, closing sales and increasing revenue streams.
  • Technology increases the efficiency and effectiveness of any contact center, and our call center consulting can help you implement necessary and ideal technology. Our best in technology partners can provide your call center with streamlined self-service software while balancing the line of providing amazing customer service.
  • Process changes will take your center so far, but our performance improvements have proven results for lasting change in increasing operational and employee performance. Our proven, methodological approach combines with powerful coaching strategies to give you results you can be proud of. We build your improvements while you focus on day-to-day operations.

Call center outsourcing

In some situations, call center outsourcing makes more sense for both ROI maximization and increased effectiveness. Yet, outsourcing can create challenges of its own. That’s where CCOG can help. We have the best partners in call center outsourcing, giving us the ability to help you find the right vendor the first time.

We are there every step of the way, including strategy and conducting the RFP process in selecting a vendor. Of course, negotiations begin once you find a vendor you want to work with. The wrong contract can cost millions in inefficiencies and lost customers.

We have a great deal of experience in designing contracts that protect your business as well as meet the vendor’s needs. By using us, you can avoid the pitfalls of implementation and contract fine print that add up to a hit to the bottom line.

We understand each contact center is unique, and we tailor our services to help your company succeed. Our call center consulting will increase effectiveness and save you money in your contact center, and our call center outsourcing will make sure you avoid the pitfalls other companies make.

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How do you find the right BPO broker?

Looking for a call center consulting company for your business can be overwhelming and tiresome. It can be difficult for you not knowing where to start and what to look for in a call center. Brokers can help you look for the right one that will be the perfect fit for your business’s needs.

They can also help you save time and costs, especially if you find the right broker.

The role of BPO brokers

BPO brokers help you navigate the maze of call center consulting companies. They will learn about your business, help you identify your needs, and then connect you with call centers who specialize in your area. Using a broker can save you so much time.

Brokers will provide you with a list of call centers to call that is manageable, saving you time. Brokers will help you through the first few months. As we all know, when using a new service, the transition can be frightening.

Brokers will help you get your questions answered and aid you in understanding your first bill.

Connects clients to call centers around the globe

Depending on the services you need from a call center and the specialty you are looking for, you need to look for ones outside of your area or even your country. Call centers are purposely located in areas that create the ideal work environment.

But knowing where to look for these call centers, or how to reach them, can be daunting. A broker will know the reputable call centers around the world and connect you with the right fit.

Helps you develop processes for your call center needs

Experienced brokers will have either worked with call center consulting companies before or may have owned one. They and their team will not only know the industry jargon but also have the knowledge behind the language and culture.

When you are starting a business or seeking services for the first time, you won’t know exactly what you need. You will know what services are missing, but you will not have created processes for outsourcing portions of your business.

A broker with experience can intercede here. The broker will listen to your needs and help you develop processes to integrate the services seamlessly. Why reinvent the wheel? Working with someone who has experience in these areas will strengthen your partnership with a call center.

Qualities of an ideal broker

A good broker will have call center knowledge. They will have a proven track record and happy clients. They will also have industry experience. Doing a little bit of research on a broker before you hire them will ensure you find a broker with these characteristics.

1. Call center knowledge. Brokers should understand how call centers work, what services they offer, and what each call center specializes in. Quality call center consulting companies have been vetted and can provide references from happy clients. Brokers should have a working knowledge of these items as well as previous experience working with call centers.

2. Years of experience. While you will not want to choose a broker who is just starting out, the number of deals the broker has closed is more important than the time he spent in the industry. The deals should be significant and should be more than just a simple referral.

3. Proven track record. Choose a broker with a proven track record, one who regularly works closely with call center consulting companies, as well as closing a significant number of deals. This information should be easily accessible through their website or by just asking around.

Conclusion

Using a broker to help you identify the needs of your company and find the right call center consulting company will ensure you are happy with your choice. A broker will enable you to save time and money by providing a list of vetted call centers who specialize in your needs.

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To Outsource or Not to Outsource

This is one of the most common contact center questions.

Operating a successful business means taking risks to increase profits, but how do you know which risks to take? Many companies spend thousands of dollars performing services that customers need, and which complement their products. The challenge is that companies are not always equipped to offer specific portions of the services. Call centers can help.

Trusting a contact center with essential services is a risky venture. While the partnership has the potential to save money, it also has the potential to create more problems. It is important to research a call center, to identify which ones offer quality services and work with vendors who they have vetted.

What is contact center outsourcing?

Most companies outsource, they simply don’t realize it. When a company has a separate division that handles credit card purchases, this is a form of contact center outsourcing. Some smaller organizations choose to partner with a third party to oversee portions of their services. Often, these are administrative tasks, such as monitoring warranties or answering phone calls. Many agencies choose to go this route because it saves money. It is almost impossible for a business to have enough staff, or specially trained staff, to handle all components of its business that create a positive customer experience.

What problems does contact center outsourcing solve?

When a company chooses to handle all portions of service internally, they are taking on significant risk. By assuming this role, they become responsible for every aspect and each detail of an interaction with a customer. The more steps a company handles, the more they are at risk for a mistake or an unhappy person. Choosing to keep everything internal limits the business in different ways and creates more steps to make things right with a customer, or places all liabilities for a failed encounter on them. Research shows 78 percent of all companies partner with a call center because of this.

As almost every agency engages with the public or other vendors, the human risk factor increases. People do not respond the same to every situation; there are small nuances which can greatly affect an outcome. Both employees and customers struggle with the human aspect. It takes a considerable amount of training to effectively mitigate the human factor. Call center specialists are highly trained in this area. Businesses list the following as key factors in the decision process: cutting costs, solving capacity issues, focusing on the vision of the agency, enhancing the quality of services, accessing intellectual capital and driving transformational change.

Choosing to partner with a call center allows businesses flexibility. As a company launches new products or growth occurs, an employer does not have to worry if they have the right amount of staff. Rather than paying for each employee, this partnership allows the agency to pay only for the time spent on the phone or performing the specific task.

Growth into new markets requires local employees who are fluent in both the local language or dialect and culture. Instead of hiring new staff and investing in onboarding costs, a partnership with a contact center allows for such situations. Outsourcing to a contact center located in the geographic area will enhance the customer experience.

The best way to improve the customer experience is to have quick response times. But as any leader knows, it is almost impossible to predict spikes in business accurately. Yes, studying trends and performance in past years can generate predictions, but they are simply that, predictions. Once again, times of increased volume require additional staff, which, even if hired as seasonal employees, will raise the overall bottom line.

Finally, telecommunication infrastructure is difficult and costly to maintain. A strong partnership with a highly rated call center will eliminate this cost. Such a working relationship will allow both the organization and customers to enjoy the latest technology without the expense.

What countries are on top of the outsourcing game?

Within the Americas, the United States, followed by Canada, Mexico, Peru and Brazil are the top countries utilizing outsourcing. In the European market, the United Kingdom, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands and Denmark are the top consumers. The Asian market is lead by Australia, followed by India, Russia, Hong Kong, and Japan. The countries which lead in economies and sales are also the countries which choose to cut their risk and partner with contact centers.

Which way is the contact center going?

The use of contact centers, across many sectors of the economy, is anticipated to grow. Growth is likely particularly in banking and finance services, insurance markets, automotive and aerospace fields, manufacturing and telecommunication. Contact centers are used in almost every field. These are specialty fields and maintaining adequatelytrained staff, who are currently in the fields, can greatly increase cost.

Robotic process automation

Many businesses are looking at robotics and automation to not only reduce costs but to also improve the customer experience. Some sectors are also experiencing a talent shortage, so using robotics can help in this area. For many industries, this will cause a shortage of jobs and place a strain on longstanding relationships. Only the agencies able to afford the expense of robotics will benefit. Utilizing a call center can alleviate this need and worry. The company will already have a cost-effective method in place.

Cloud adoption

Cloud adoption provides a framework for analyzing specific audiences and their role within and without the agency. Each portion is broken down into a perspective, and that perspective is applied to the departments it addresses. Common perspectives include business, people, governance, platform, security and operations. It would be costly and difficult for any organization to properly manage each perspective. Working with a contact center enables perspectives which are not specialties to be outsourced. This reduces costs, increases business and places specialists in each role.

Conclusion

Choosing to work with a contact center can not only save money for a company but also allow for higher quality services performed by experts. Also, the overall risk for the organization decreases as it is no longer liable for each step. Outsourcing such roles to experts create the ultimate customer experience.

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When In Doubt, consult: The Role of Call Center Consulting

Every organization faces the challenge of how to complete work and projects with the staff currently on hand. In many instances, organizations do not have the money to hire additional employees, or hiring a new person is not a sound decision when your team does not anticipate a long-term need for the position.

In such a conundrum, there is no easy answer. How can your organization create and maintain a lean budget that allows for growth and higher profits? The answer is simple: outsource. Rather than waste time and energy, look into contracting a call center consulting group.

These agencies are vetted, have highly trained staff and can provide references for previous work completed. Such a solution would allow you to hire additional staff as needed and maintain a positive employer brand.

Employees would appreciate the support and, in some opportunities, the consulting work may provide training for your permanent staff and increase the overall customer experience.

What Call Center Consulting Covers

The services provided are broad, ranging from support for a small office to expert solutions for Fortune 500 companies. At Call Center Optimization Group (CCOG), we can meet every need an organization may have. The overarching goal is to create a working partnership with each business that is unique to their needs.

We have a highly trained and diverse team of advisors who can easily identify and understand your requirements, creating a package to meet your business needs while remaining within budget.

A few key services include project management and implementation, performance improvement, training and development, workforce and capacity planning, and technology solutions. Instead of working late nights or increasing the overall workload of your staff, seek help from the experts.

The following services are requested often by organizations:

Performance improvement.

Improving employee performance is key to increasing overall profits. But how do you ensure the biggest bang for your buck and know you are hiring a quality trainer? The coaches and trainers at CCOG have hands-on experience as well as quality training.

The different teams within CCOG work together seamlessly, allowing for trainers and coaches to learn what is needed from the consultants who have worked with your staff. Imagine being able to afford customized training support.

Attrition reduction.

Employees sometimes can be the most unreliable resource in your organization. With the unpredictable human nature, illnesses, deaths or unplanned family needs, employees can be continually entering and exiting the workforce.

This revolving door of employees creates an unstable environment in which work is not completed consistently, or with consistent quality and results. By utilizing CCOG, our team of experts can work alongside your staff, learning their positions and cross-training, to cover the period team members are absent.

Maintaining a constant workflow will increase your revenue, profits, promote your brand and enhance the customer experience.

New project implementation.

Every organization faces the continual dilemma of adapting to the changing needs of its customers and remaining relevant or continuing to provide the same services. Implementing new projects requires additional staff, particularly a project manager. Turning to a call center consultant for temporary staffing solutions can work for your organization.

Process improvement.

Maintaining the highest quality services as well as keeping the current best practices can be challenging. For some organizations, you simply cannot afford to have one person dedicated to researching and identifying the improvements needed.

CCOG has staff dedicated to studying current best practices, reviewing your organization and identifying the needed improvements. CCOG can also provide the training required to implement the identified enhancements.

New call center site implementation.

Adding or starting a new business is overwhelming. No matter how well prepared or trained you are, situations and challenges will arise that call for additional staff or subject matter experts.

CCOG can sidestep these challenges by walking alongside you every step of the way. Imagine having a mentor to guide you through the process.

Training and development.

For any business to stay ahead of the curve, continuous staff training and development are necessary. Instead of looking for quality trainers who will take time to acclimate to your culture, you can work with trainers already familiar with industry standards and your business.

Technology solutions.

Technology is costly and difficult for organizations of any size to fund. Technology also depreciates quickly, becoming a liability. Working with a call center consulting company allows you to access the newest technology without straining your budget or investing in hardware that may be outdated in less than a year.

How call center consulting helps

If you have any doubts about the services a call center can provide, keep reading. Call centers provide the extra staff, knowledge, subject matter experts and technology all organizations need to be successful and profitable without adding additional financial burdens.

Setting industry standards. Working within any industry, you want an assurance that your organization is setting standards or keeping up with standard changes. Working with CCOG ensures you will stay on top of the trends in your industry.

Developing strategies and best practices. For an organization to stay current on best practices, it needs to develop and implement strategies. Trust our experts to integrate plans that will help your organization to grow.

Improving existing workflows. Maintaining a continuous workflow ensures an organization’s success and profits. If employee attrition becomes an issue, or if employees are not adequately trained or even recruited, your customers will notice, and your organization will lose business.

Working with a call center consultant ensures your business will grow in an uncertain market. Our experts can help you identify areas of growth and support you throughout the process without lessening your profits.

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Outsourcing Non-Core Activities of Your Business

General Management defines an organization’s stages in four ways. The seed stage, the startup stage, growth, and expansion. Opposed to popular belief, outsourcing non-core activities of your business can be considered, in all stages, as a great asset. This is not limited to the expansion stage.

When it comes to finding the right outsourcing partner, your decision should not depend on the stage your organization is in but rather what activities you plan to outsource.

The right question to ask yourself is whether your revenue-generating activities e.g. sales, marketing or product development are effectively using their time to think strategically and execute. If you find out they are dedicating a significant amount of time on back-office activities and administrative operations; then you know what activities you should outsource.

Besides the internal value your company gains when outsourcing non-core activities of your business, you can also reduce the costs associated with running a contact center.

Now that you’ve asked yourself the right question – selecting the right vendors is not an easy task. A new vendor has the power to streamline efficiencies across your company or lead it to failure.

These are some aspects we consider relevant to include in your planning (based on our experience with clients) when considering Call Center and BPO providers for any outsourcing activity.

Define Goals for Outsourcing

We start off the list very intentionally by encouraging our clients to define the areas of their business they need outsourced – customer service, IT services, back-end, etc. – and then asking them to define what success would look like if they opt for outsourcing. Using the SMART methodology to define success metrics is a great way to start. This is a useful recap we found in case you need to dust off some of these concepts.

Once you’ve defined this goal with this or any other methodology, make sure you get company buy-in; this means, a consensus from employees all across the organization to acknowledge how outsourcing will benefit their work, and consequently the company as a whole.

Research!

Call Center and BPO Providers are VAST. Just for starters, you can take a quick look at our Call Center and BPO Providers Network.

In this universe of providers, it is paramount that you dust off and bring back your research skills to find best providers but also be aware of the industry specifications and the drivers of innovation.

Pro Tip: make sure you tap into the experts for knowledge-based recommendations. Although vast, the industry remains consistently medium-sized and therefore leaders of the industry are always a first touch point when asking for references of vendors.

Throwing out an RFI doesn’t hurt to narrow down the search

Enable an internal structure

Forbes recommends organizations to have a Chief Customer Officer in the structure and org chart.  At CCOG, we not only agree but also build on that idea by encouraging our partners to build structures that enable governance, quality management and most importantly, strategy over your outsourcing partner.

The idea of creating a structure of governance is based on the idea that it will make your company more flexible to embrace technologies in the customer-centric industry we are in and also serve as a hub for innovation within the business.

Let us help you improve Customer Experience Strategy through Data.

Call Center Optimization Group is at the forefront of these trends and many others in the call center industry.  We have years of experience identifying, designing and implementing call center technologies that drive improved results and ROI for companies all over the world.  Take advantage of our vast operations experience and technology network to optimize your contact center solution.

Find out how Call Center Optimization Group can help you today!

Contact Us:  

1.888.650.5880

service@callcenterpower.com

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Why Do Businesses Decide to Outsource Their Contact Center Services?

At some point in the lifecycle of most businesses, there’s a decision point regarding how best to deal with the proliferation of customer contacts.  In the early stages of growth, most businesses handle calls and emails with an internal staff.  As this expands and the cost of adding staff begins to accumulate, many companies realize that their internal center is ill equipped to adequately deal with the demands of their business.

Over the course of the next several blogs, we will discuss the most common reasons why businesses decide to outsource their contact center services.  The first reason we will focus on is, of course, cost.  There are many expenses associated with running a contact center, but we will focus here on three in particular: Staffing; Technology; and Regulation Compliance.

  1. Staffing – This is the number one cost driver for a contact center operation. Companies find it cheaper to outsource call center staff for several reasons:
    1. Geography: Many companies are in urban areas where the cost to hire employees comes with a big price tag. Call center companies tend to locate in lower cost areas in suburban or rural locations (like college towns) where they can still attract talent but at a cheaper cost.  Additionally, lots of contact center companies have expansive footprints that include near shore and offshore locations that can provide massive savings on staffing.
    2. Agent Compensation: It’s expensive to hire full time employees at an internal call center. In addition to salary, you must cover health benefits, vacation, sick time, personal leave, etc. When you outsource, you pay for the agent’s productive time…the outsourcer pays vacation, sick time, tardiness, etc.  Also, they will usually cover the cost of lunches and breaks.
    3. Hiring and Firing: Staffing is part of the core competency at contact centers and they deal with recruiting and replacing staff in a continuous effort year-round.
    4. Training: While contact centers do charge for initial or “new hire” training, most will not charge their clients for attrition (replacing agents) training. Because contact center agents tend to attrite at higher than average rates, this is a big hidden cost savings.
  2. Technology – Running a contact center involves having an ACD (automatic call distributor) and a CRM (customer relationship management) tool. Within these tools are add-ons like workforce management software, quality monitoring systems, and reporting and analytics tools.  In addition to having to pay steep implementation costs to integrate these technologies, there is also an ongoing licensing cost.  Many small businesses can’t afford to make these types of investments.  For those that can, often they are under-utilizing their tools because they don’t have the necessary in-house personnel expertise.  A typical call center will provide the following as a part of their hourly agent rate:
    1. ACD/Call Routing System/Outbound Dialer
    2. Workforce Management/Forecasting/Real-Time Adherence
    3. Basic CRM with custom integration usually billed at an hourly IT rate
    4. Quality Monitoring software that allows remote listening and screen viewing capability
    5. Knowledgebase/Resource Sharing/Intranet for easy access and reference to training materials
    6. And most importantly: the staffing resources with the expertise to administer and utilize these tools.
  3. Regulations Compliance – This is a necessary investment that is too often overlooked at most internal call centers, many times because they aren’t aware of them. It can be very expensive to build a contact center environment that adheres to the multitude of government regulations imposed on the industry.  It can also be very expensive to NOT adhere to these regulations in the form of fines and/or shutdowns.  The following are the most common regulations affecting the industry and their basic reasons for existing:
    1. PCI DSS – Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. This regulation is tied to safeguarding customer credit card data.  There are many factors that go into being “PCI Compliant” and there are several different levels of certification.  Suffice to say that getting to a PCI level compliance and staying there takes organizational discipline and is an ongoing process.  Getting certified at PCI level 1 (300K+ transactions per year) will cost roughly $70K per audit.  Fines can range from $2K to $100K per month for PCI violations, plus additional fines for repeat violations.  Data breaches can cost company millions of dollars in remediation fees and untold dollars in loss of customers due to goodwill issues.
    2. HIPAA – HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, sets the standard for protecting sensitive patient data. Any company that deals with protected health information (PHI) must ensure that all the required physical, network, and process security measures are in place and followed. There are several steps a company needs to go through to become HIPAA compliant including training, building a compliance manual, installing hacker and ransomware software protection, and continual remediation and ongoing audits.  It takes anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks to go through the steps to become HIPAA compliant and costs ~ $5K.  HIPAA violations can result in fines based on the severity (tier) ranging from $100 to $50K per violation with a maximum of $1.5M per year.

It’s a daunting task to build and maintain a world class call center with top notch staff, great systems and tools while maintaining all industry regulations.  If you are a corporation that has built your own internal call center and are dealing with any/all of the above issues, consider outsourcing to a 3rd party provider that deals with all the above as a core competency.

Find out what everyone else in the call center industry is talking about by following our Call Center Optimization Group page on Linked In.  Follow our Linked In page here!

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Is Outsourcing Right for Your Business?

Call center executives all over the world get faced with this question at some point in their career.  Doesn’t matter how big their company is or what industry vertical they are in because at some point, every organization is faced with the pressure to do more with less.  Reducing expenses in the wake of increasing competition is a harsh fact of life for every business.  The good news is, outsourcing some or all of your call center operation, can have significant cost control benefits but the thought of giving up the control of how your brand is represented to your customers, can be scary.

When trying to determine if outsourcing is right for your company, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. “Does the cost of servicing my customers have to come down?”
  2. “Can I reduce the cost of my existing services operations without sacrificing quality?”
  3. “Can our company’s call center effectively handle seasonal or marketing driven call volume spikes?”
  4. “Do I have the space internally to grow my call center?”
  5. “Is our call center operation getting too large and complex to effectively manage it internally?”

You can ask yourself these and many other questions that will help you determine if outsourcing your call center is right for you.  Many companies start small call centers when they are young to support their growing customer base and eventually realize as they grow that their call center has gotten unwieldy.  Our team at Call Center Optimization Group has had many of our clients tell us: ”My company is not in the call center business.  How do we get out of this?”.  In this case, outsourcing is a phenomenal option that helps these clients to move their call center operations to the “experts” while allowing them to continue to focus on their business.

There are also basic questions that will help you to determine if it is time to outsource your call center.  If your call center is growing but you physically do not have the space, outsourcing is a great solution.  If your existing call center is having a hard time servicing your customers during seasonal or marketing driven call volume spikes, call center outsourcing can solve this problem for you as well.

If you have asked yourself these and other questions, and have determined that it might be time for you to consider outsourcing all or some of your call center operation, you do not have to do it on your own.  Call Center Optimization Group has built one of the largest call center partner network in the world.  All of our call center companies are fully vetted and have to meet rigorous standards in order to make it into our network.  When you reach out to Call Center Optimization Group, you can trust that we and our partners, will put your customers first.

Our Call Center Partner Advisors will document your project requirements in detail and only engage call center partners that have the skills and experience to service your most precious resource; your customers!  We always bring multiple call center partners to the table for you to review, each of which is scored and ranked based on a strong set of criteria, established by our experienced call center executive team.  We will also advise you during contract negotiations, enabling you to save a ton of dollars over the life of the contract.  When you decide to outsource your call center, Call Center Optimization Group will be with you every step of the way.

The best part is, we do not charge our client’s for our call center partner referral services.   We are paid the same commission % by all of our call center partners so you can rest assured that our team will always put you and your customer’s interests first.

If you are ready to outsource some or all of your call center operation, call Call Center Optimization Group today.  At “CCOG”, we have information you can use and advice you can trust.

Click here for more information on our Call Center Partner Referral Services.

Doug Deker – COO Call Center Optimization Group