Started over two decades ago, offshore call center outsourcing refuses to die down in popularity. Decision-makers seeking efficient, cost-effective solutions end up outsourcing non-core business processes such as administrative, customer service and back-end functions to offshore call centers in India and other affordable destinations.
When done right, offshore customer service outsourcing helps enterprises implement strategic objectives such as cost-cutting and providing comprehensive high-quality service to customers. However, this isn’t the case always. Offshore call center outsourcing, in many instances, leads to dissatisfied, frustrated customers resulting in a considerable loss of revenue.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the top challenges businesses face while outsourcing key processes to offshore BPO partners. So, let’s discuss them one by one.
When you outsource a process to an offshore partner, chances are their customer support agents don’t have adequate knowledge of your company’s practices, needs and objectives. In some instances, these may not be properly communicated to the outsourcing partner. As a result, the agents may compromise company practices and deliver a sub-par customer service.
When hiring a call center outsourcing company based overseas, you’re essentially entrusting a stranger with key processes of your company. In most of the cases, it’s difficult, if not impossible to monitor customer support interactions. If the call center offshore partner fail to follow your company’s practices or don’t have access to the right kind of information, it can result in an unfavorable outcome that can tarnish your reputation.
While offshore call center outsourcing, many companies assume that labor arbitrage will help them reduce operating costs by over 40%. They tend to overlook the differences in operating models. Outsourcing entails an array of hidden costs which these companies fail to take into account. If your outsourcing partner creates new overheads for any modification made during the service period, your expenses are bound to skyrocket. In addition to this, unexpected legal hassles and losing customers on account of subpar service can also cost you heavily, defeating the very purpose of outsourcing.
In order to carry out their job successfully, call center agents need access to all the necessary data. In many cases, the data shared may be sensitive in nature such as credit card details or bank account information. Providing this data to a third-party comes with an inherent risk. Unless the offshore customer service center properly screens the employees while hiring them, there’s a high probability some agents may try to use this data for personal gains. Besides, this practice increases the likelihood of the data being tampered by malicious parties. Now that cybersecurity breaches are commonplace, this is a genuine concern.
Outsourcing to overseas call centers in India often involves a language barrier. When the support agents are not native speakers of your language, they are unable to understand the nuances of your language or culture. Even regional dialects can pose a challenge. Plus, many call center workers have a thick accent despite having undergone voice and accent neutralization training. Your customers may experience frustration if the agent fails to comprehend their issue fully.
Many offshore call center companies are inconsistent when it comes to meeting Service Level Agreement (SLA) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Unless your call center outsourcing partner has a system to evaluate important KPIs (e.g. First Call Resolution and response time), they can’t be entrusted with delivering a consistent quality of service.
Now that we have discussed the issues companies face while outsourcing services to offshore call centers in India and other South-Asian countries, let’s see what all can you do to minimize them. The following tips will stand you in good stead:
Before you set out to choose your outsourcing vendor, be crystal-clear with respect to your outsourcing goals. What do you want to accomplish by delegating your business process? You may want to create a 24*7 support system, cut costs or focus purely on your core business. Decide what kind of call center offshore company will help you attain your objectives. For instance, if you want to create additional channels for telemarketing, choose a vendor with expertise in outbound call center services.
Because you are handling over an entire process to a third-party in an overseas location, carrying out adequate due diligence is vital. The vendor should have adequate training and monitoring procedures to ensure all quality standards are adhered to. They should comply with common industry standards and certifications. Question the vendor on how customer data will be stored and accessed and how systems will be maintained. Also, identify if the vendor has provision for ensuring business continuity.
Clear communication is imperative to make your offshore partner understand your objectives, policies, procedures, desired skill sets and training needs. It’s essential that you proactively inform your vendor about any modifications in your product, service and operating procedures. The vendor should also have systems in place to apprise you of the challenges they face in handling your process. Open communication is critical to ensuring consistency in the quality of service delivered.
If you feel accent and cultural barriers will adversely affect your customer service, choose an onshore vendor that appreciates your cultural and language nuances. If you are still keen on seeking offshore services, look for vendors that offer training in voice and accent neutralization, language proficiency and culture.
While offshore call center outsourcing does involve certain challenges, properly planning your vendor selection and maintaining open communication can mitigate them to a considerable extent. The key lies in forging a relationship that goes beyond a contractual agreement. A true partnership is a mutually beneficial association wherein your partner endeavors to transform your organization into a best-in-industry service provider.
If you are seeking top-of-the-line call center outsourcing solutions, get in touch with our outsourcing experts. We are just a call away.