Outsourcing Your Customer Support? Points to Consider
Okay, so youíve made the controversial and often contentious decision to outsource your customer support operations to an external call center. Before closing this all-important deal, there are a few steps you should take to ensure that your business is getting the quality and flexibility it deserves.
First of all, itís important to ask where your support calls will be handled. Just because a call center has offices in your area doesnít necessarily mean that calls will be sent there; in fact, many customer support firms outsource their business to other countries or even continents. Before signing a contract, its best to be clear on this issue, and ask yourself whether you (and more importantly your customers) are happy with support calls being dealt with from half a world away.
Secondly, you should ask exactly how much of the vendorís business your company will account for. Ideally, its best that your business account for at least 5% of the call volume at your call center of choice, so as to allow agents to become familiar with your products and services. This isnít always possible for very small businesses, but itís still a good thing to look in to.
Another thing to remember is that most call centers will try to set up their own in-house phone number(s) specifically for your business. This is an offer your should flatly refused, as the vendor can later use it to their unfair advantage in keeping your business. Itís much better to own your own 1-800 number so you can switch providers at any time without changing your marketing material.
Finally, itís always a good idea to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement with any vendor that you use for call center services. This will prevent the company from learning about how your business works, then taking that information to one of your competitors. This step is especially important if your call center of choice specializes in your industry.
About the Author: Jeremy Maddock is a professional web-based entrepreneur who owns and operates over 20 sites, including one about corporate marketing.