Outsourcing of the Customer Dialogue

 

How do you find the ideal call centre service provider?

The second part in the new three part series looks at the search and selection of a call centre service provider

Businesses often criticize the lacking comparability of bids from different service providers. In these cases service providers often did not provide all relevant information and often not the same information either. The client often omits the necessary criteria that asks the relevant questions, as outlined in Part 1. In the following we look at service provider selection criteria and the actual search and selection process.

Information in offers from Call Centre Service Providers

  • Business information on the service provider: background, activities, information on service sectors, size, capacities and sub-contractors, if necessary
  • Illustration of available project information: did the service provider understand starting points and challenges
  • Illustration of client’s goal scenarios: did the service provider understand what the client wants to achieve
  • Illustration of available project information: potential call volume and its distribution, call and handling duration, project start, service times, service numbers and requirements for IT and telephony systems
  • Outline of the approach of the demands and management of the project.
  • Illustration of management of services and cost as controlling tools for the client: with which criteria and methods does the service provider measure services and cost? How is billing structured?
  • Illustration of all required service for the implementation and running of services, any additional services, their standard prices, mainly in the following categories:
  • Initiation costs/project implementation: concept, briefing, staff training, technical facilities, pilot
  • Project management: quality management/ supervision, administration, service and cost measurement (reporting, monitoring etc), continuous call optimization and interface management
  • Handling and administration: Inbound price per call, Fax, e-mail, cost per agent by minute or hour, outbound cost per successful contact (decision maker), commission in relation to targets (turnover, profits, appointments). Third party costs for service numbers, postage and other service costs, as well as additional service such as mailings of marketing and information material (letter shop and fulfilment)

The image of the service provider should be checked, having regard to the reputation and neutrality of the information provider. Real experiences of previous service users are always best. Size alone is not a quality criterion, but it can become an important factor with regard to capacity requirements in a single agency. The importance of the project for the service provider compared to others, including in terms of volume, is an indication of the motivation of the service provider. Neither party should on the other, due to the volume of the contract. A creative approach and ideas for improvement should be expected from any service provider. The more or less important, depending on the need for continuous information exchange of possibly sensitive data. The technical systems, including functionality and capacity, should be checked on experts from both parties. The service provider should demonstrate any systems with regard to the specific project requirements. Capacities and functionality should be inspected. It is worthwhile to have a conversation directly with the person in charge of technology. Are the agents used to dealing with the technical equipment? Can the system give instant data and evaluations on project activities and results? Consider running a pilot and test technology and connected processes.

 

Graphic 1: Search and Selection

 

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Graphic 2: Approach for Selection of Call Centre Service Provider up to the Invitation to Tender

 

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Graphic 3: Approach for Selection of a Call Centre Service Provider

 

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