Six Factors Beyond Price For Selling a Call Center Vendor
June 21, 2012
June 21, 2012
Author: Nick Sellers, Director, Global Marketing, EMEA and Technology
The challenge with the selection of a call center vendor to provide a combination of tech support and customer service goes beyond pricing to quality. “You get what you pay for” has often proven true, but it’s more than that. It’s about people, cultural alignment, processes and, of course, customer relationships.
When creating your selection criteria, it’s important to consider the following six factors:
1.) Proactive vs. Reactive. A call center vendor should be an expert in your industry. They should be up to date on the latest techniques, technologies, and practices that can evolve the design of their service delivery. You’re entrusting your most valuable assets to them—your customers. What you want is a selected vendor that’s predisposed to creating insights and improvements that benefit your business by strengthening customer relationships, not a vendor who jumps into action only when a crisis is imminent.
2.) Commitment to Efficiency. Reducing the cycles spent to resolve customer issues is paramount to effective customer service. Your call center vendor should be able to show you how they’ll train and coach their agents to be the most efficient and effective while delivering an experience your customers find highly satisfying. Although efficiency is reflected in cost, it’s more about the people they put in place and the processes and workflows developed to support them with the provision of precise and accurate technical assistance.
3.) Cultural Alignment. A call center vendor will be representing your brand to your customers every time they pick up the phone, send an email, or login to a chat session. It’s critically important that the vendor you select aligns with your company’s cultural orientation. One way to judge this is by the vendor’s willingness to show you how their methodology and work flows would adapt to handle a sample situation you pose to them during the selection process.
4.) Range of Expertise. The selection criteria you have today may evolve over time as markets shift, customer preferences change, and new products are launched. It’s important to assess all the vendor’s capabilities in addition to the expertise that satisfies immediate needs. A vendor who has capabilities to service additional channels and who can help you incorporate analytics as customer data grows in volume can save you from vendor sprawl over the longer term.
5.) A Visionary Approach. You hire a call center vendor to bring expertise to the table that your company does not possess, or is better off not internalizing. Challenge vendors to explain their vision for your technical support and customer service more fully, and then to dig down and propose how the concept can be made to work.
6.) Personable Communications. The way a vendor communicates with you can be indicative of the type of relationship you’ll have with them. Sterile communications that leave a lot to the interpretation can be an indicator that misunderstandings could occur—or that they’re hesitant to tell you what they really think. Effusive communications are at the opposite end of the spectrum and may indicate that a lot of effort will be required to when working with them. If the vendor only communicates via email, this can be efficient, but also can leave much left unsaid. A call center vendor is a 24/7 role that involves customer relationships. A vendor who takes a collaborative approach and initiates communications that help you—and them—perform at the highest levels is the right choice.
As you can see, there are many things to consider beyond the scope of work and the price point. Review your RFP process to see where you have the opportunity to incorporate some of these selection criteria. After all, the selection you make can have impacts to your business for years to come. You want to make sure that they’re good ones.