Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Call center services outsourcing

Call center services outsourcing
Call centers can be set up to handle many types of calls they can be broadly classified into 2
  • Inbound Services - Inbound Customer Service Call Center
  • Outbound Services
Taking orders Customer service
Tech support Qualifying inbound leads Answering service/messages etc...
Need for outsourcing call centre services:

Testing and learning- Smaller companies with little experience dealing with customers may launch their phone operations as an outsourced solution. When they have learned what it takes to run a call center and built up enough capital, they can bring the operation in house. Larger companies interested in testing new technologies or programs may find it easier and cheaper to use a call center for testing than to retrain in-house employees
Significant growth- A new product launch or other major event can bring a huge volume of calls to even a small business. Outsourcing incoming calls to a service provider can eliminate the hassles of trying to ramp up dozens of new employees or investing in major equipment upgrades.Save money- When businesses reach call volumes that demand a significant capital investment, either new phone systems, customer relationship management (CRM) software, dedicated call center space, or many new employees, it can be an easy choice to outsource. Call center service providers are able to keep their costs much lower by spreading the cost of employees and technology over many customers
Business model shifts- The decision to outsource incoming call management can be triggered by a major decision, such as making the leap to 24/7 tech support. Switching to a two- or three-shift operation can be a huge problem - or as easy as going to a service provider. Another trigger can be the need to offer support in multiple languages

Call centers are often treated purely as a commodity. Avoid this trap! For many customers, the vendor you choose will be their primary point of contact with your business.
Those interactions can have a significant impact on people's perception of your company, positive or negative.

Throughout the selection process, try to keep in mind that you are not just looking for a low-cost supplier - you are looking for a call center partner who will have considerable influence over your brand and customer satisfaction.

Pricing call center services is fairly complex. The bulk of the cost is per-minute or per-hour fees for each agent or call, depending on how your contract is structured. The complexity of your script, volume of your calls, and any special services you require will also come into play. In addition, pricing can vary according to quality: call centers that employ highly skilled, experienced agents have higher costs and therefore charge higher prices.

When contracting for call center services, you can usually choose between shared or dedicated agents. Shared agents, also known as blended teams, handle calls from multiple vendors.
They may answer the phone for you one minute, and for some other company halfway around the world the next. With the right software and training, this approach works well for many common types of calls. Typically they will charge between $0.50 and $1.00 per minute.
Dedicated agents work only for you - almost like an off-site employee. By concentrating only on your calls, the agents are better able to learn your business. Pricing is per agent per hour, and can range from $10 or less for the lowest-priced offshore companies to $25 and up for larger U.S.-based firms. This gives you agents who are more knowledgeable about your company's products, but is more expensive overall.

There are many other fees to consider beyond the basic charges. Many providers enforce monthly minimums, which can drive up your costs if your volume fluctuates unpredictably. You should also expect a setup fee of up to several thousand dollars. Other costs, such as additional commissions, training, programming, and reporting fees, may be covered by your per minute or per hour charges - or may not. Make sure the provider spells out exactly what additional charges you will need to pay before signing a contract.
Contracts, metrics, and SLAs

A call center services contract needs to define more than just the contract term and pricing. It should specify exactly what standards and procedures the call center is expected to follow, how their performance will be measured, and what penalties can be applied if they fall short of the requirements.

Other contract options include exclusivity, translation services, secrecy/confidentiality, monitoring rights, and more. When creating contracts of this magnitude, almost anything is negotiable, but remember that you will pay more for special requests.

For example, a service level agreement (SLA) usually focuses on response times, such as guaranteeing that 80% of calls will be answered within 30 seconds. Depending on the nature of your business, you may want to pay extra to get a higher percentage in less time, or you may decide to save money by setting a lower goal. Some companies do not routinely include SLAs. You can probably negotiate one with any vendor, but some feel that their standard response times are sufficient or most customers.

Contracts are typically six months to a year, with provisions to automatically renew. Some may discount their rates if you agree to a longer term contract - if you are confident in your choice of vendors, you might want to take them up on a two- or three-year term. Others may penalize you for canceling a contract within the first six months or a year, but allow you to cancel any time after that.

Call centres may be of 2 types captive unit where in companies will open their own call centre units in low cost countries and manages call centres and third party providers who will provide infrastructure,manpower,and other technology and manages the unit for their clients.
Call centre outsourcing has given raise to voice based and Internet based voice providers to facilitate call receiving and making calls to other countries and we have hosted call centre services where in we will have facility to log in to web based soft dailer, make calls, record calls, call barging for supervisor,Automatic dialing etc....

VOIP (Voice over Internet protocol) which is made legal in India has seen tremendous growth an account of call centre service outsourcing. Outsourcing call centre will provide a very good turnaround of time and 24/7 support to end customers.