Call Center Service
This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to Call Center technology including software and products.
Since the Company's inception in 1978, DSC has specialized in the development of communications software and systems. Beginning with our CRM and call center applications, DSC has developed computer telephony integration software and PC based phone systems. These products have been developed to run on a wide variety of telecom computer systems and environments.
Contact DSC today. to learn more about our call center outsourcing services.
Making the Right Call
The following is an extract from the article "Making the Right Call" by Jason Compton from CRM Magazine:
"Call center outsourcing has grown from the channel of choice for high-volume telemarketers to big business. Some consider its value proposition too powerful to ignore, others consider the resource too politically and emotionally controversial to handle. The political uproar can make it difficult for companies trying to rationally evaluate call center outsourcing strategies to make a clear, informed decision. The fact is, call center outsourcing can provide value to an organization, but not by walking away from responsibility. We examine the people, process, and technology issues managers should consider when making their decision.
According to telecommunications giant Sprint, the cost of owning and operating a business-grade, high-speed data line has fallen more than 90 percent in just 10 years. Lowering those barriers allows companies even of modest size to seamlessly hand off customer interactions to an external provider, while allowing relatively small or distributed customer care specialists to handle calls as though these companies were a large installation. The cheaper, wider information pipes also make it more practical to outsource higher-value customer contacts.
"Five years ago our members ventured out into outsourcing to do things they didn't want to do, for legacy products they didn't want to support themselves, or off-hours [calls]," says Bill Rose, founder of the Service and Support Professionals Association (SSPA).
Outsourcers started creating more real value as they discovered they had to sing a more complex tune for their supper, facing increased competition from new entrants and some pullback from client companies coming under fire from employee, consumer, and government groups. "Over time, outsourcers are winning people over to the idea that they can do a better job identifying and managing knowledge," Rose says.
Like any customer relationship tool, however, outsourced customer care can be employed intelligently, or haphazardly. Those selling outsourcing services often promise impressive per-interaction costs, driven largely by lower unit labor costs, but the reality of modern customer care is, whether the phone is answered two floors or two continents away from the executive boardroom, cost is not king. "Companies focus too much on price," says Marc McCluskey, research director at AMR Research. "You have to look at tangential issues, such as how you actually decide what percentage of the work is going to the outsourcer, and whether you still need second-level support."
Sizing Up Outsourcers
Companies looking to engage with call center outsourcers should learn a lesson from many of the early adopters, who rushed into decisions with little or no input from the functional leaders who own the customer experience. "[Outsourcing] was not brought about by the VP of customer service, but brought about by the CFO, who said 'I heard we can cut the cost of support' by some ridiculous number," Rose says.
Offsite call centers need to be evaluated by the same customer care architects and implementers who are responsible for the ongoing operations inside the company. "It's a combination of three groups: IT, marketing, and sales definitely would have a huge vested interest, and probably the CFO," says Ross Garrity, vice president in BearingPoint's global technology services group.
While outsourcers will try to paint rosy pictures in the aggregate about the resources and expertise at their disposal, potential clients still bear a responsibility to do their own checking. Ask to speak with both current and former clients, preferably those who use the service provider in the same mode you plan to outsource (tech support, inbound sales, outbound sales, etc.). And don't be shy about asking for HR records to back up the bold proclamations made about the proficiency of the agent staff. "You want to see resumes if [outsourcers] are touting that they have thirteen to fifteen years of experience," Garrity says.
Remember that outsourcers face the same challenges as an in-house call center, including imperfect availability of resources. Not all their agents may be perfectly suited to the task on day one, but the executive team evaluating call centers needs to be able to make an informed judgment about the provider's ability to supply enough agents to scale with need. Unless instructed otherwise, outsourcers will improvise. "If it's a brand-new industry, assuming we would have enough time, we would go out and try to hire somebody with industry experience, but if nobody comes through we always have somebody waiting in the wings who can think on their feet," says Jeff Kostermans, CEO of outsourcing firm LeadGenesys.
Most call center outsourcing firms will have their own internal suite of CRM tools, but depending on the size of the engagement and the sophistication of your own software environment, it may be more sensible to include the remote site in your application, rather than integrate the outsourcer's applications with yours. Web-based applications can make inclusion easier, but terminal services suites from companies like Citrix and Microsoft are also popular. If the outsourcer's systems are chosen, learn from their example. "You expect your outsourced call center to be up to par technologically, or hopefully a little more advanced than you are, but you then need to understand how the process of handling customer calls is facilitated using that technology," AMR's McCluskey says.
After selecting an outsource partner, appoint a key point person to manage the day-to-day relationship with the outsourcer. Although not literally responsible for the floor activities, this executive must intimately understand both the outsourcer's operations and the company's own customer care strategies. "The ideal person is a manager who runs the particular program on the floor [in an existing call center]," says Norman DePalantino, COO of Epixtar International Call Center Group.
If the selection process sounds like real work, that is because it is. "It should be a minimum of three to four months if you've done your due diligence and written transition plans," Garrity says....."
To view the entire article, please visit www.destinationcrm.com.