Ask Kathy: Should I Outsource Offshore?

By Kathy Sisk

Question: Should I Outsource Offshore?

Answer: For twenty-three years we’ve helped clients outsource their campaigns. Many have expressed concerns about outsourcing to offshore or nearshore call centers. Here are the benefits and disadvantages:

Pros

  • Typically lower servicing costs
  • College-educated agents
  • Flexible contractual terms
  • Little-to-no setup costs

Cons

  • Agents have strong accents
  • Poor comprehension and listening skills
  • Unable to think out of the box
  • Too rigid, with improper voice inflection and pacing
  • Not using proper rebuttals and lack of consistency
  • Inferior results compared to US centers
  • Management is unable to identify mistakes; requires a professional assessment with recommendations
  • Clients prefer centers to have experience as opposed to training or micromanaging the center
  • Client inability to fully understand staff; poor communications
  • Centers have raised fees and are not as cost-effective
  • Higher agent turnover compared to a few years ago, steadily increasing
  • Reports lack detail or are not sent in a timely manner
  • Center incapable of writing effective scripts and rebuttals; dependent on client
  • Staff not accountable for minimizing and correcting mistakes
  • Failure to meet US quality standards

(This list doesn’t mean that your center deals with these issues; rather, it is drawn from our experience with centers we – or our clients – have dealt with.) Here are a few solutions to help overcome fears when taking campaigns offshore:

Solution

  • Recruit the right agents, including lower and upper management.
  • Build a variety of incentive programs to help motivate staff.
  • Create a career path.
  • Pay attention to details.
  • Provide a professional yet family environment.
  • Ensure an aesthetically appealing workspace.
  • Insist on excellence.
  • Have advancing and ongoing training.
  • Hold staff accountable.
  • Implement closer monitoring with proper ongoing coaching.

These solutions should be part of any well-run center, whether offshore or onshore. Unfortunately, we have dealt with centers that don’t follow these practices, and it shows in their service levels. It is vital to be diligent, conduct comprehensive interviews, obtain plenty of references, and contact a consultant who already has a list of quality centers with a proven record of excellent performance.

Email your questions to ksisk@kathysiskenterprises.com.

Kathy Sisk is founder and president of Kathy Sisk Enterprises Inc., located in California. Kathy is a trainer and consultant, contributing thirty-five years of expertise to the telemarketing, sales, and customer service industries. She is a published author with many manuals and books, including Overcoming Objections and Successful Telemarketing.

[From Connection Magazine November 2013]

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