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Why You Should Look Beyond the RFP for Contact Center Vendors

Requests for proposal (RFPs) are commonly used to solicit solutions from suppliers that meet defined requirements. In the case of contact centers, there are nuances that your specifications may be overlooking.

Communication Service Providers (CSPs) often use a variety of vendors to provide customer service for various products or services, lines of business, regions or countries. A vendor may be selected to provide customer support for a new product launch, for example. When the need is specific, so then are the specifications. However, the vendor selected to run one contact center based on a certain set of requirements may also have the skill sets, expertise and capability to provide additional services not considered during the time of selection.

Vendor consolidation has been a priority for many CSPs due to the ability to gain economies of scale and achieve higher efficiencies in vendor management. By looking beyond the original specifications for which a contact center provider was selected, you may find further opportunities to maximize the value your company receives.

Exceeding the Requirements for Customer Service

The vendor you selected to meet a specific set of requirements likely serves a wide variety of clients, helping them provide support for a range of products and services. The clinical nature of the RFP process can veil additional services, resources and expertise a vendor may have available. CSPs are continuously launching new products and services. Expanding portfolios create emerging and future needs that may be very well addressed by existing contact center vendors.

Examples of areas easy to overlook with existing customer service vendors may include:

  • The provision of back-office services that support a customer-facing program the vendor is under contract to provide. Utilizing the same vendor can result in streamlining processes, shortening communication lines, and improving economies of scale.
  • Take a look at how your vendor has grown through acquisitions that bring peripheral capabilities. For example, a vendor with fulfillment capabilities may be your best choice for managing a product recall program. Combining the ability to have the conversation with the customer and orchestrate the product replacement can result in a more successful and efficient program.
  • Contact center vendors often have substantial investments in their own infrastructure which can come in handy when your company is looking to expand into new markets or launch new lines of business. Instead of reinventing the wheel, looking to an existing vendor can be a smart choice.

The Benefits of Maximizing Use of Existing Vendors

 

There are obvious benefits from choosing to use an existing vendor to provide additional services, such as no onboarding and reduced paperwork. But there are also a few more subtle benefits that are worth considering:

  • Existing relationship means that the vendor has already established a level of trust and credibility within your company. You’re not relying on the references of others because you have “insider knowledge” of the vendor’s performance.
  • A shorter ramp time for new projects brings shorter time to value. Because the vendor already understands your business, they can get the new project up and running faster. They’ll know what to ask for and where to turn for the information and input they need to take action.
  • Experienced staff developed for one project can seed the staff needed for new services. This also means that workflows and processes can be transferred, at least in part, to establish continuity for the new project in line with brand needs and requirements.

Meeting the initial requirements for a customer service project is table stakes. Once accomplished to your satisfaction, maximizing the value you gain from existing vendors is a smart strategy that can present itself in ways you may not have thought to look for. Looking beyond the RFP is a wise choice for today’s procurement professionals. It makes your life easier, lowers your workload and helps your company reach its objectives more quickly.