Four reasons outsourcing to North American call centers makes great sense

North American call centers make your customers feel at home

North American call centers make your customers feel at home

Depending upon which news stories or blogs you happened to last read, you might be convinced that call center jobs are flooding back to North American call centers after disastrous experiences offshore. Or you may understand that offshore call centers are flourishing, picking up more jobs and contracts than ever before. Frankly, every company’s story is different. Yes, some have found a gold mine in the low prices of offshore outsourcing, allowing them to reduce costs and therefore — but not necessarily — pass along the savings to their customers. Others, however, discovered that the language and cultural differences and the challenge of coordinating a call center so far away negated the savings they had hoped to see.

If we relied only on media coverage for our information, it might be easy to forget that North American call centers — or “nearshore call centers,” “American call centers,” “Canadian call centers,” or whatever you may call them — handle millions of calls every day, providing cost savings for companies of all sizes. They generally do avoid the language, cultural, and time-zone challenges that have haunted so many offshore outsourcing endeavors. However, the problem with nearshore outsourcing is the price-tag savings are not as dramatic as those seen by sending to countries such as India and the Philippines. So why bother? Why outsource to North American call centers?

We’re glad you asked! Here are four reasons North American call center outsourcing makes sense: [Read more...]

American call centers, Canadian call centers, and your customers

A call center can be a profit center rather than a cost center

A call center can be a profit center rather than a cost center

Taking care of business ultimately means taking care of both your customers and your profits. If you can make people happy while also generating a healthy profit margin, you’ll be just fine. Of course, one of the big challenges is that it almost always costs more to care more. Customer service and profit margins don’t always walk hand in hand, so if you try to increase one, it can often drive down the other. As your high-school math teacher would have said, customer care and profit margins are inversely proportional.

That’s an oversimplification, of course, since increased customer service levels should actually lead to increased customer satisfaction ratings, which will in turn lead to more business and, eventually, higher profits. But there’s no denying that more money has to be invested in the first step well before the rewards are seen at the end. As a result, customer service investments such as call centers are often treated as cost centers rather than profit centers, and many companies have done whatever they could to drive those costs lower and lower. Hours of service were reduced. Staff training was cut back. Phone numbers were made less visible, and users were instead directed to Internet sites with prepackaged Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). And in the case of many larger companies, North American call centers were shut down, with the work being outsourced instead to some far-flung location. [Read more...]

A Customer Service Parable

In-house or outsourced call center? The wrong choice can have dire consequences...

In-house or outsourced call center? The wrong choice can have dire consequences...

Once upon a time there were two companies, Dave’s Do It All and Ashley’s Assistants. Both had hard-working owners who loved their businesses and did their best to deliver excellent customer service. Even though Dave and Ashley had never met or even heard of each other, they were similar in many ways. Both loved their jobs and worked hard to grow their companies into respected success stories. Both were delighted to care for their many customers, and over time, both continued to grow, until they eventually reached the point where they began having trouble caring for the customers they had worked so hard to get.

Choosing a Call Center

Both Dave and Ashley had each already optimized the Customer Support sections of their Websites to answer questions and provide support materials, and had gradually built up in-house call centers. But more people were calling and as the numbers grew, more and more of them were not getting answered quickly enough. Callers were getting frustrated, questions were going unanswered, staff were getting overworked and stressed. For the first time in their companies’ histories, customer satisfaction ratings were starting to drop. Dave and Ashley grew sad.

So it was late on a snowy December evening that these two entrepreneurs sat in their offices on opposite ends of Profit Town, each reviewing the latest financial reports and growth projections. They had already talked to their managers and accountants, chatted with friends who had always given good advice before, filled out Pro and Con columns, and thrown their Nerf basketballs into their little Nerf nets. After what seemed to be far too long, they both finally reached their decisions. Turning out the office lights, they headed down to their cars and drove past each other on the way home, each feeling confident that their companies were also being driven in a good direction. [Read more...]

Nearshore call centers vs. offshore: trying to decide?

Nearshore call center agents have a great record of providing value and client care.

Your call center agents care for your customers and your support strategy.

Offshore and nearshore call centers are nothing new. At one time or another, any company that has staff assigned to answer customer service or tech support calls and emails has wondered about outsourcing. They’ve considered whether or not it would make more sense to let someone else handle the training, retraining, quality control, and all the other aspects and costs of operating a call center. Many will have spent quite a few hours researching the options and trying to find out what others are doing.

Of course, in cases such as extremely small operations, it will be fairly obvious that the best choice would be to keep it in house. And for some companies looking at their own strengths and weaknesses, it will seem just as obvious that they should outsource. But thousands and maybe even millions of businesses are caught in between. The question becomes even more difficult to answer when they balance the question of whether to go with a nearshore or offshore call center. The pro and con columns will often run down the hall, through the boardroom, and past every water cooler in the building, but still have no clear winner. And so those companies go on with the status quo, stopping to reconsider whenever the budgets come up again for review. And if they do decide to outsource, then comes the equally big question of whether to turn to a nearshore call center or go offshore.

It can be a tough call to make. As a nearshore call center outsourcing provider, we would of course love to chat with you about caring for you and your customers. On the other hand, if our services are not a good fit for your needs, neither one of us will be at all happy in a year’s time. So, to help you assess whether outsourcing your call center to a nearshore or offshore provider might be a good idea for you, we revisit some recent survey results from the American Teleservices Association (ATA), and we’ll leave it up to you to decide.

As mentioned in our recent blog post on whether or not your call center makes you feel loved, the ATA released a survey in 2009, called, “What Are Clients of Outsourcers Looking for Now? Three questions from that survey give us a glimpse into how well call centers — and in particular nearshore vs. offshore — seem to be working.

NOTE: To keep things short, we’ve shortened the questions and simplified things a fair bit, but have done our best to keep everything accurate. Please check the original ATA link for more detail or to confirm our accuracy.

Does your call center make you happy?

The responses to this question were very impressive. A full 91.7% said that they were either “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with their most recent outsourcer. There are not many industries out there doing a whole lot better than that. The survey does not indicate exactly what factors made each respondent decide whether or not they were happy with their call center. However, the responses to one of the other questions — also shortened here but again hopefully without changing the meaning — give us a possible clue…

Does your offshore call center make you happy?

When talking solely about offshore call centers, the percentage who answered either “somewhat satisfied” or “very satisfied” dropped from 91.7% to 70.6%. That’s significant for two reasons. First, it of course shows that a smaller percentage of offshore call center users were happy than nearshore call center users. But secondly, it also means that, if the average of responses about nearshore and offshore call centers was 91.7%, then the percentage of people happy with nearshore call centers must have been even higher than that. Higher than 91.7%? Nearshore providers sound like they’re delivering some solid value.

Of course, it’s one thing to say you’re happy with a service provider. It’s quite another thing to keep investing in it and trusting it to care for your customers. That’s where you really get to see how happy someone is. So how did the call centers hold up? Let’s find out…

In the next year, will you increase, decrease, or keep your current call center outsourcing program?

A full 92% of respondents said that they would increase or keep their current outsourcing program. I have to admit, that’s a very high figure. Unfortunately, the survey results that we saw do not break out the responses for those using offshore vs. nearshore call centers. Certainly though, it would appear that for both groups, most companies are planning to stick with or increase their outsourcing contracts. Once again, it would appear that call centers are doing a lot of things right.

So there you go. Again, these are shortened snippets taken from a detailed ATA survey, and we encourage you to take a look for yourself by clicking on the links above if you want more information. We do believe though that they underline that value that call centers — and nearshore call centers in particular — deliver.

Now, where does that leave your company? We’d love to hear from you if you’d like to discuss your possible needs for an outsourced call center. If you want to maximize the return on your call center investment, Tacamor may or may not be the solution you’ve been seeking. But we’d love to help you find out. How can we help you?

Does your call center make you feel loved?

Do you love your Call Center?

Your call center should be a love so right.

“How deep is your love?” Remember that BeeGees song from the 70′s? Do you think of your call center every time you hear it? Maybe not. But wouldn’t it be great if you did?

Next week, the American Teleservices Association (ATA) will hold its annual Convention and Expo in Orlando. It promises to be a great event, but for now we’re going to dwell in the past, going back to last year’s ATA event in New Orleans, when they released a survey about that BeeGees song. Well, actually they called it, “What Are Clients of Outsourcers Looking for Now? But we see the two questions as being very similar.

Three questions in particular from that survey brought out some very interesting insights on how companies feel about their call centers. Take a look, and tell us whether or not they stir up some familiar feelings of your own…

What do companies want when they outsource their call center operations?

To give a very brief summary of the survey results, costs rated very highly, as would be expected. However, five other factors rated even higher:

  1. An impeccable compliance record.
  2. Business experience in my industry sector.
  3. Superior security procedures.
  4. Exceptional training and expertise.
  5. Skilled program management.

In other words, companies want to save money in their call center operations, but not at the expense of having things done properly. That makes good sense, of course. It’s always wise to reduce costs, but any manager knows that the business is not really saving money if you’re losing customers and repeat business because of poor customer satisfaction levels. There has to be a balance between finding the lowest cost, and the best results.

So with that in mind, let’s look at the next big question:

How happy are you with your outsourced call center?

Overall, 91.7% of the companies responding said that they were either somewhat or very satisfied with their most recent outsourced teleservices relationship. That’s very impressive. There’s probably not a politician — or even a parent or spouse! — on the planet who wouldn’t love to have a satisfaction rating anywhere near that. Outsourced call centers are clearly doing a lot of things right.

However, there’s an interesting twist in the next question, which asked, “How satisfied were you with your off-shore teleservices outsourcer?” The percentage of respondents who answered either “somewhat satisfied” or “very satisfied” now dropped down to 70.6%. That’s quite a shift. While fewer than 1 in 10 companies using outsourced call centers said they were less than somewhat satisfied, almost 1 in 3 users of offshore call centers said that they felt that way. Those offshore call centers may be delivering a lot lower prices, but the level of value that they deliver is clearly not as impressive.

How likely are you to change your call center in the next year?

This question generated an interesting insight. Even though over 90% of companies said that they were at least somewhat satisfied with their call centers, over half of the respondents — 56% to be exact — said that they were very or somewhat likely to switch to an new outsourcer in the coming year. In fact, 24% said that they were “very likely” to switch. It seems that, even when the service is pretty good, many companies are still always open to something better.

And rightfully so. While the tendency to shop around may not be all that admirable in love, it has its merits when it comes to call centers. The stakes are high, and if you feel your customers are not being cared for by your current outsourcer, you owe it to them to find someone who will.

Love can indeed be fleeting, and that’s one of the reasons why a call center has to work hard to earn high praise from clients. We’ve seen companies try to save money by shifting to an offshore call center. All too often, they just lose patience, money, and customers. Instead, our focus has been on being a nearshore call center that delivers great value while keeping satisfaction levels as high as possible. Our belief is that if customers actually like the people they deal with when they call your company, they’ll end up liking your company too.

So wherever you ultimately choose to look, don’t give up in your search for that perfect partner in caring for your clients. Never forget that a call center should help make your clients feel warm and fuzzy when they think about your company, and when they talk about you to their friends.

Hey, You Should Be Dancing because your call center is just that good! Anything less… would be a Tragedy.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
- price6 - deals9