What are outsourced call center services?

Just a brief review of what may be obvious. Companies outsource the handling of their client interactions [calls] with their customers. Handling everything from reservations, customer service, order fulfillment and specialized services such as healthcare. They handle calls, emails and chats as the call center has become a “contact center”, handling multiple channels of communication. The call center outsourcer is the third party representing the client, however unbeknownst to the customer most of the time. Regardless of who handles the call, either the internal or outsourced call center provider, the customer’s experience and brand perception is in play with each interaction.

Why outsourced call center services are utilized?

There are variety of reasons companies outsource call center services.  Cost is a major factor, businesses of all sizes look to save money by handing this critical component over to call center outsourcers or Business Process Outsourcers (BPOs). Often this is to augment current internal company staffed call centers or to handle seasonal fluctuations. The mix of internal to outsourced varies and some companies rely heavily on outsource call center BPOs to handle a majority of their customer interactions.  Keep in mind, the call center function is typically not a company’s core business, however some are more well versed in the discipline than others. Much of a business’s core activity is spent on developing and delivering their product or service, consistently, safely and within quality expectations. There are many cases where it makes sense to leverage the economy of scale a BPO can provide in the form of lower cost, and on demand services.


Call Center Outsourcing – What about Quality of Service?

Opinion of a company is tied to interactions with an individual on the phone, without thought to everything else that may have gone into the product or service. In short, the customer experience and ongoing perception of the brand is being updated with every interaction, including both human and automated touch points.


What Outsourced Call Center Quality Data is Telling Us

After years of analyzing quality assurance for both internal and outsourced call centers we conducted a comparative study.  We found in 87% of vendors evaluated, actual quality levels were significantly lower than what the call center vendor was reporting to their clients. Some companies know outsourced call center service quality is lower than internal centers, however, often do not have a clear understanding of how wide of a margin it differs. There were some outliers, where the outsourced call center provided better service quality. However, these cases had very specific circumstances that were not common across multiple industries or companies.


Why is Outsourced Call Center Service Quality Lower?

To understand the underlying drivers, its helpful to walk through the typical call center services client life cycle. Once a new client is onboarded, typically the outsourced call center places their best agents on the new client program, to ensure a good first impression. However, the pressures of growth, additional clients coming onboard lead to star staff and team being moved to the next new client call center engagement. This leaves a gap in the existing client call center program, which is not always backfilled with the same level of quality of service. This is just one aspect of observed behavior within outsourced call center providers that leads to a decrease in call center service quality over time. A decrease that can have a net affect of clients looking to jump to a new provider.  The great outsource call center providers are the ones that choose their clients carefully, ensure consistent service and are not afraid to pass up an opportunity in order to preserve call quality assurance for existing clients.


How to Validate your Outsourced Call Center Vendor’s Service Quality

Obtaining a sample of recordings from a vendor can be like pulling teeth. However, when we finally receive them, there is often clear discrepancies between the call center quality assurance data we analyze and customer satisfaction (CSAT) data. Recordings are frequently cherry picked by the vendor to be the best of the best. Some BPO’s are offering speech analytics to clients, however these systems can be tuned to filter out bad or customer impacting calls.  We changed all of this. Now we can analyze 100% of interactions conducted by your contact center vendors. This provides total transparency and confidence in the validity of your data and in turn the service being provided to your customers.


Sage Advantage provides call center quality assurance services including vendor management. Utilizing AI and machine learning technologies combined with human expertise. Schedule a call to discuss how we can help you get the most from call center services providers.