Contemporizing Call Center Techniques

  • July 26, 2011
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By Sherwin Lucky C. Santiago

Call center outsourcing is not a new phenomenon, but then it has emerged and come a long way from its roots?and is, in a sense, introducing itself into a modernized, more collaborative era, which accounts the call center as a very valuable competitive weapon. As call center outsourcing has become more popular and more important to customer relationships, companies and vendors have learned a number of lessons in terms of how to best undertake the practice. These include:

Constituting rigorous governance techniques. Arrangements should be made detailed enough so that both parties could have an absolutely understandable idea about their duties and responsibilities, as well as working with the same expectations regarding performance and results. But at the same time, nevertheless, such agreements should help providing the flexibility needed to cope with unexpected changes and new challenges and chances that are more than likely to come out over the life of the arrangement.

Balancing cost-control with the customer’s experience requirements. Usually call center outsourcing has concentrated on cost savings. But at most companies, about 70% or more of the customers will likely contact the company through the call center, making the center a strategic means in the effort to set up customer relationships.

Approaching offshoring with caution. Locating call centers to overseas facilities can clearly discount per-call costs. But then when it comes to inbound cutomer care centers, offshoring has the capacity to generate problems because of some differences in language, culture, training, and escalation processes.

Thinking long term. Business is marked with planned and unplanned transitions, and it is important to make sure that the call center infrastructure supplies the needed flexibility to meet business needs over time. Companies demand time to think about whether how their call center-related needs are likely to emerge in the months and years to come and be ready for that.

Focusing on employees as well as the customers. The interrelation between satisfied customers and employees should be well established, and that the connection is especially string when it comes to call center operations. Unhappy reps, after all, will find it challenging to produce a positive customer experience.

These are some general guidelines, and in practice has no single definite right answer for each and every outsourcing arrangement. But companies though can accessorize these guidelines with an own understanding of their objectives and strategies, by patterning other companies’ outsorced call centers, and by discovering other possibilities with potential outsourcing dealers.

Outsourcing and Logistics: Early Beginnings
Outsourcing is a term oftenly used but often misconcepted. The article focuses on the main idea of outsourcing and its interrelation to logistics given the following “offical” definition:

Outsourcing is the transfer of an action priorily performed in-house to an outside service provider.

Outsourced providers are often called to as contractors or “third parties.” When “outsourced” work is contracted out, the outsourcing business or agency still provides the corresponding oversight.
The disorientation emerges when the term “privatization” is put into a confabulation of contracted out government functions. Privatization is a subdivision of outsourcing and includes the transfer or sale of government assets to the private sectors.

Privatization is marked by a sudden shift from public to private capital for long-term investment in the privatized activity. When an activity is privatized, the government abnegates investment and control.
Such distinctions may seem of no importance. However, the suggestions of giving up control over assets, especially those belonging to the military services and important to wartime readiness, keep back the idea of privatization. In such instances, the objective of outsourcing might still be allowed for.
Roots. Contracting out logistics activities is by far, not new, though the thing is there is a developing trend in both private and public sectors to identify and elaborate functions that are important but not “core capabilities” as outsourcing possibilities

In 1919, the General Sales Manager and then eventually later CEO of Proctor and Gamble, Richard “Red” Dupree identified the need for a “fast, rapid response to inventory replenishment.” This need, controlled by the manufacturers and retailers of that era produced contract logistics.

Much earlier, the federal government outsourced very important projects. From the Revolutionary War to Desert Storm, private establishments produced significant logistics support.
Companies such as Brown and Root of Houston and Dynacorp of Reston, Virginia, provided military bases for U.S. forces in Vietnam. Brown and Root also made large-scale logistics services in Somalia and Bosnia.

In the past few years, nevertheless, outsourcing has made its way in the private sector and then in some state and local governments. This trend has incited the federal government to readdress outsourcing and to start its own pilot programs.

Logistics outsourcing must be cautiously planned for a long-term relationship with the service provider. Functions that are difficult to execute or “out of control” should be carefully examined for fundamental causes. Outsourcing will not necessarily improve the situation.

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