I have a confession to make. The call center industry has a dirty secret.
Like most, you might think that all call centers offer the same services. If you search for a call center partner to handle some or all your customer service volume, you’re met with similar sounding pitches, similar pricing, and similar business models. On-brand support! Omnichannel coverage! White-gloved service!
If that's the case, then what’s the factor you’re most likely to rely on when picking a call center vendor?
“Do you work with companies in our industry? Have you worked with a company just like ours before?”
It is natural to try and separate similar options based on an intimate understanding of your industry, your business, and your products.
But the dirty little secret is that a call center is a call center. If it’s run well, then it doesn’t matter if your potential partner has a laundry list of industry-specific case studies. Even if a great call center doesn’t already have experience in supporting transactions of luxury handbags, wind turbines, or last minute flights, a top tier call center should be able to ramp up on your industry and inventory almost overnight.
Not only that, but a well-oiled call center will even perform at parity with another partner who has worked in your industry for years.
How is this possible? The truth is, a great call center is a machine built on great processes. From hiring and training, to goal-setting and measurement, to team morale, to scalability, the process makes a top-tier call center. If there are great processes in place, then a call center’s performance for a new client will be identical to that of existing clients, regardless of the industry.
And the biggest differentiator that businesses should be using to determine which call center partner they select is flexibility.
Are you talking to a partner, or just a supplier? Will your call center team be flexible when it comes to contract terms, training, and schedule changes? Now that’s a great partner!
But these true differentiators take a little bit of digging to find. If you don’t look for them, then all you see is a field of similar call center partners.
And call centers know that this is a natural reaction to perceived parity. They play up the fact that they’ve worked with companies in your industry, selling products that may be exactly like your products. When, in reality, that fact won't impact your bottom line.
Here's the key thing that you already know: your company is unique. Even if a partner has experience within your industry, that doesn’t mean that they will perform better based on your unique products, services, and business operations.
You're either working with a great call center who will measure themselves against the metrics that matter - like customer satisfaction, Net Promoter Score, and up-sell/cross-sell revenue - or they won't. It's that simple.
I know, it’s hard to believe. But I’m sharing this secret with you so that you can make better decisions for your customer support team in the future.
So remember, when you are comparing call center outsourcing vendors, look beyond the case studies. Try to dig into the call center’s processes, how they hire, how they train, and how they measure success. And try to gauge how flexible they’ll be with your team. In this business, flexibility builds trust, and trust ensures a successful partnership.
Now it’s your turn! What do you look for in a call center partner?