Regardless of your business and its model, in order to grow, an emphasis on your customers needs to be a priority. Top customer engagement ranges from inbound/outbound calling to text and social media messaging--all of which your business needs to have a hand in.
After all...the better you engage with your current clients, the happier they’ll be and the likelihood of them returning (and even referring a friend!) increase immensely.
Importance of Call Centers
Call centers are so important to helping a business grow because they are the middlemen between the business and the clients. While the call center team doesn’t determine the company’s culture and how they handle customer service, they are on the front-lines and represent what your company stands for, so how they handle customer support calls is key.
Being an outsourced call center partner for companies that put customer relationships and engagement at the forefront, we come across the same question time and time again.
And that question is:
“What’s the difference between and in-house call center and working with an outsourced partner?”
While there are many differences and a variety of pros and cons, let’s first discuss what both of these types of call centers are.
In-House Call Center
An in-house call center is one that is within the company. The company itself employs all team members as well as servicing all equipment. An in-house call center involves hiring a dedicated team to manage, run, and perform call center activities.
Outsourced Call Center
An outsourced call center is a business model in which works with a call center partner outside of the organization to perform specific call center functions. They can either outsource all of their call center or one-off programs, however they see best fit.
Now that the definitions of both types of call centers are out of the way, let’s go over the perceived pros and cons of each.
In-House Call Center Pros and Cons
1. Direct control over call center activities
Just like anything else, when the business entity is under your roof, you are able to make immediate decisions on any issues that might come up.
2. Personal Touch
When the call center is within the organization, and essentially working on one brand, the worry of misaligned branding and conversations goes out the door. When taking calls for one business, call center agents can receive extensive training on how to handle any and all situations that come up.
3. Increased Security
Having an in-house call center means that security of data and client information in minimized because it’s not being shared with and outsourced call center.
1. High setup cost
It’s no secret that call centers are expensive to get started. From infrastructure to compliance certification to staffing, the in-house is responsible for it all.
2. Maintenance costs
The costs for a call center don’t stop at setup. You’ll need to invest in management and coaches to continue to improve your customer service, as well as setting contingency funds aside in case of any issues that could arise.You’ll also need to consider staffing. Call centers naturally have a higher turnover, so not only will you be in charge of training new hires, but you’ll also need recruiters continuously searching for qualified agents to hire.
3. More non-productive time
Non-productive time can also be viewed as “non-billable” time. Since the organization is in charge of all the extensive training and coaching, they are required to pay their agents during this time, even though they aren’t actually performing calls with customers. On top of that, if there is a low call volume at any given time, the organization still needs to pay their agents, even during wait times
4. Loss of focus on core business activities
Not every business’ core focus is on customer service--and that’s okay! Whether the company’s focus is on production, sales, or any other goal, an in-house call center has the ability to take away from the business’ core goals. Taking business dollars to implement a successful call center can also have a negative impact on other departments, from spending actual dollars or supplying more man power, rather than using those resources for core business activities.
Outsourced Call Center Partner Pros and Cons
1. Ability to financially plan more accurately
If you choose to partner with an outsourced call center, you’ll know the expense from the beginning and are better able to budget accordingly. Therefore, you won’t need a contingency plan or funds set aside in the event that an issue arises in the call center. What you agree on in your contract is what you can expect to pay
2. Reduced cost
Outsourcing your call center means that your company doesn’t need to foot all the bills that go along with starting and running a call center. Your business won’t be required to manage any fees outside of those agreed upon in the original contract.
3. Reduced risk
With reduced cost, comes reduced risk. Adding a call center to your business is a big risk financially. When you outsource to an outside call center, you’re leaving the financial risk to someone else.
4. Increased productivity
With an outsourced call center partner, your internal team can focus on what they’re best at, such as production, sales, and distribution. An internal call center would only add more responsibilities to your team’s plate, causing them to lose focus on their primary job function. And ultimately, an increase in productivity could lead to more money, right?
1. Less control
Because the call center is located outside of your business, you’ll automatically have less control over the agents working on your programs. One key way to prevent this decreased control is to partner with a call center that values transparency with their clients to keep an open line of communication.
2. Potential confidentiality concerns
Along with the loss of control comes potential confidentiality concerns. Since you are outsourcing, another business will have your clients’ information, increasing the risk of sensitive information being exposed. Your business can prevent this by scheduling regular meetings to check in on the call center’s processes and ensure all of their questions on handling various calls get answered too.
3. Potential language barriers
Depending on where your business is or where the outsourced call center is located, there is a potential for language barriers. When considering an outsourced call center partner, you’ll want to ask questions about the breadth of languages they can support along with whether or not they are able to hire agents proficient in a specific language.
4. Geographical constraints
We always hear in real estate. “LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION,” and most of the time this holds true. Because you’ll want open communication with your outsourced call center, it’s location in relation to your business is important.
Are you okay with a substantial time difference and a long flight if you choose to hire an off-shore call center? Or would you rather hire within the United States? For some, a call center within driving distance is best for them. Whatever your preference, keep that in mind when looking into a business partner.
Now that you have a better understanding of the two different types of call centers, it’s time to choose the one that works best for your business. Depending on business needs, one could be more beneficial than the other, and someone on our team can help you map that out.
If you’re wondering what’s the best call center strategy, schedule a free 30 minute strategy call with our team! We’re experts in customer support and have over 25+ years of knowledge to best help you.