By Kelli Barabasz
Are you considering outsourcing your in-house customer care? There are many factors that come into play when considering outsourcing. How do you pick the right outsource partner? What should you look for? How long will this take? There are so many questions that it’s hard to know where to begin.
So how do you successfully outsource your in-house customer care? First you must have a clear outline and clear expectations. Here are the six key steps you must look at when preparing to outsource.
1. Define the Call Center Outsourcing Project Scope
There are many crucial factors to consider in your project. First you must create a project description so that all your partners clearly understand the full extent of the project. Next you need to identify the needs, goals, expectations, and known roadblocks. Finally, you need to get acceptance from all involved partners. This will determine the extent of your project and the factors it comprises.
2. Find Your Outsource Partner
When looking for the right outsource partner, you must consider these essential components of the outsourcer:
- What is the outsource partner’s culture and values, including their vision and scope?
- How is the company’s financial stability?
- What are the company’s capabilities: technology, people, process, and size?
- Is the company credible? Ask for client reviews.
- Most importantly, how are communication and client management practices handled?
3. Define Your Call Center Outsourcing Deliverables
What outcomes are you looking for? First identify your stakeholders so together as a team you can identify the requirements and set reasonable due dates for the main components of your project. Document every requirement and due date along with the owner of each. Be sure to include a sign-off piece to this process where at least two stakeholders approve the completion of the deliverables.
4. Create a Call Center Outsourcing Implementation Plan
Include your stakeholders in all meetings to ensure everyone is involved in creating the proper implementation and execution plan. These comprise milestones, tasks, budget expectations, and timelines. You should include an evaluation process at the beginning of each meeting to gauge the progress of each of the above criteria. Keep these meetings at a high level, and schedule subset meetings to ensure the plan remains on target.
5. Identify Your Roadblocks with Call Center Outsourcing
Problems can derail your project, so identifying potential obstacles up front is critical. Even after listing the possible issues, you will have other glitches that come up throughout your entire implementation. Don’t let the roadblocks stop your progress. Include all stakeholders and come up with alternatives or workarounds.
6. Implement End-to-End Testing
Once you are ready for your implementation and execution, it is time to start your comprehensive testing. In the end-to-end testing, the entire application is verified in a real-world scenario—such as communicating with the database, network, hardware, and other applications. Having a great plan in place is essential to success. Be sure to include back-end reporting in your testing to ensure that the data transmitted is coming across appropriately in the outsourcer’s reporting.
The Final Consideration
Once you have followed the six key steps to successfully outsource your in-house customer care, it is your outsourcer’s responsibility to manage your account. You will want to establish the right person as the outsourcer’s main contact. In this model, the manager’s role changes. They now manage a service provider, not service deliverables.
Kelli Barabasz is a call center industry leader with over twenty-five years of experience and success with call center startups, client management, and implementations. Currently serving as a senior operations manager for QCS, Kelli’s detail-oriented approach is used to analyze existing operations and to implement best practices, new strategies, processes, and efficiencies, enabling her clients to achieve better outcomes.