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How to choose a contact centre partner

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Finding the best outsourced contact centre for your needs isn’t just about finding a vendor with attractive pricing. It’s about finding a ‘Partner’ that will align with both your short and long term business goals, and your vision for customer experience.

Define your outsourcing goals

Let’s start with your goals. Historically, the golden triangle for contact centre outsourcing was:

1. reduce costs

2. increase revenues, and

3. deliver a high level of customer service.

However, the world of customer experience is changing. We’re witnessing the ‘customer first’ agenda becoming one of the most important boardroom conversations because it’s been proven that looking after your customer above anything else is the best way to retain and earn customers – and profits!

The goal of delighting customers in order to drive loyalty and retention has to hit the right balance with the balance sheet.  Sometimes that prompts people to look at offshore locations, and increasingly it means looking for a contact centre partner innovating with technology.

Technology changes everything

Look for contact centre vendors committed to reducing rather than producing demand, true partners who come to the table with suggestions for new technology or processes to make it easier and faster for your customers.  Sometimes it’s simple suggestions, such as at the end of a call, educating the customer on online self-service options so they will have no need to call next time with the same basic account query.

Contact centre vendors who understand customer experience will almost certainly have a multi-channel platform enabling you to offer not only phone and email, but web chat, SMS, social media and even video interaction with your customers. Channel and device-hopping customers are today’s reality. This brings both great opportunity as well as challenges for contact centres to make sure they keep up. According to a recent survey, providing an omnichannel customer experience nearly triples customer retention, so look for contact centre partners who understand how to string it all together.

Running a contact centre requires many support functions, data gathering and reporting, and some of these functions can be automated – automation of repetitive back-end tasks increases workforce efficiency which ultimately reflects back in better value for money to you, the client.

The Location Solution

The best contact centre partner for most companies will be the one who can provide the best solution in combination with the best cost to serve.

When it comes to the solution, location is one of the first things to focus on. In the UK, there is a wide choice of onshore delivery locations well suited to delivering sales and service, collections and support, with the decision often coming down to the talent pool, regional accents, 
industry experience and multilingual capability.

Offshore is another alternative - despite the sometimes negative perception of offshoring a contact centre, there are a number of smart solution options that can deliver the customer experience needed while reducing costs by between 30 - 60%. South Africa is one example of a popular overseas location for UK contact centre outsourcing. 

Multi-site contact centre providers can make recommendations on which location is suited for which type of activity – this is known as “right-shoring”. For example, certain countries might be better for a help desk, others for sales, and others for customer service. Where accent is an issue, it may still be viable and in fact desirable for a particular country to manage digital channels, where the customer never hears a voice.

Culture: the elephant in the room

There are always a number of intangible factors when selecting a contact centre partner. For example, will you be a valued client receiving the attention you deserve, or will you be a goldfish in the ocean? Ask yourself, “Can I work with these people? Are they culturally aligned to my organisation? Do they have the same ethics and values?”

How do I find a contact centre partner?

There are hundreds of outsourced contact centres in the UK alone, but fortunately it doesn’t need to be a time consuming task to identify a shortlist of contact centre providers who meet all the tangible requirements. (You can then focus on assessing pricing and cultural fit with just a short shortlist!) While it takes hours if not days to sift through search engine results, it takes just 60 seconds to enter your needs via 10 quick questions on AboutMatch – which is why we are the world’s number 1 trusted, independent online service dedicated to helping companies find their ‘perfect match’ supplier.

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