By Kathy Sisk
In the five steps to select an outsource call center agency, we’ve already covered the first three: 1) design an RFP; 2) review the responses; and 3) conduct a phone interview. Now it is time to move to steps four and five.
Step 4: Visit the agency and monitor their agents.
Once you’ve narrowed your list to two or three candidates, visit their facility to assess their operation. Speak with their IT department, project managers, and quality control supervisors to evaluate their ability and willingness to handle your calls effectively and efficiently.
Ask to monitor as many agents and calls as possible to help determine the skill level of the agency’s staff. Some agencies may tell you they have a privacy clause with their clients and cannot allow you to monitor calls. If this occurs, ask the agency to request special permission for you to conduct your call evaluations. If the agency has a good relationship with its client, and your company is not a competitive threat, they will usually grant permission. Eliminate any agency that either refuses to let you monitor or ask their clients for permission. They may have something to hide.
Step 5: Select an agency and negotiate the contract.
Using this information, choose the right agency for your company based on affordability, performance, and cultural compatibility.
Carefully negotiate your contract, ensuring that the agency’s rates, setup fees, and terms are consistent with your RFP. See if you can get a better price. If the agency really wants your business and believes it will be a long-term venture, you will have more negotiating power.
Put your performance requirements in writing and include a clause that permits you to terminate the contract without stipulations if the agency doesn’t perform up to your standards. Most agencies don’t want such a clause and prefer a thirty- to ninety-day notice. If the agency is not willing to budge on these terms and you do not have an alternative, try to negotiate a lower fee during the ramp-up time.
If these negotiations fail, you may want to start over.
For more information about setting up, reengineering, outsourcing, and project managing your call center operations, Kathy Sisk Enterprises can help you. They have over forty years’ experience with satisfied clients and centers across the globe.