Outsourcing has been, and still is for many companies, a popular way to help reduce the cost of doing business. While there are many benefits to outsourcing, as a recent post in Huffpost Business points out, beware outsourcing an area or function that is core to your business. Deciding exactly what are core and non-core functions can be complicated and takes serious consideration. However, one area no business can afford to lose is its customers.
Insourcing is the new outsourcing: 3 steps to setting up an in-house contact center
At the core of any business are its customers, so why jeopardize customer service by outsourcing your customer service or contact center? The good news is, you don’t have to. Here are three steps to help insource your call center.
Step 1: Set up the right infrastructure.
Having the right infrastructure and number of phone lines is essential for any contact center to function effectively and cost-efficiently. A unified communications platform like the Wave IP communications system that integrates with your CRM and other business systems and databases, can provide the foundation for a fully-functioning contact center. These systems support needed intelligent call routing and other key features to maximize your staff’s efficiency and simplify call management.
You can make a solid business case for moving your contact center in-house by taking advantage of the cost savings available through SIP trunking. With SIP trunking, you don’t need a separate phone line for each seat in your center. Instead, you save money by planning for peak capacity (a key KPI in contact centers) and basing the number of lines on that. SIP trunking moves phone calls from regular phone lines over your WAN onto your data network, eliminating old-school carrier services and reducing expenses by centralizing all of your carrier trunking services and voice applications such as auto-attendants, IVRs and call center capabilities in your data center.
Step 2: Select the right software.
With the right infrastructure in place, you can choose from a variety of comprehensive call center packages, like Vertical’s Contact Center application, to quickly get your reps up and running. Basic features and functionality should include:
- Simple administration via a single interface to easily create queues, and manage and monitor all aspects of your call center
- Skills-based routing to direct callers to the most appropriate agent
- Live and silent coaching capabilities to provide training and enhance customer service
- On-hold options such as enabling callers to leave a call-back number to reduce wait times and better manage peak call loads
- Per-agent licensing to reduce costs
- Queue-specific agent statuses like “On Break” and “Available for Queue Calls Only”
- Access to mobile and remote agents
- Real-time reporting to analyze data and make adjustments on the fly to improve your center’s performance
- Marketing campaign tracking by identifying incoming calls from an assigned PIN
Step 3: Build your own knowledge base.
You can have the latest systems and software, but you have to have a professional, knowledgeable team on the end of the line who understands your customers’ needs and your company. One of the key advantages to bringing the call center function back in-house is that your customers are now being taken care of by people who have a vested interest in them, because they have a vested interest in the success of your company. When insourcing a contact center, companies need to tap their in-house knowledge base to establish the job requirements and training needed to staff it based on a detailed understanding of the standards, tools and processes critical to your business.
After things are up and running, ongoing training is needed to ensure your business development and contact center teams are always in sync with your company’s goals. The use of coaching and training tools such as those mentioned in Step 2 can keep everyone performing and providing customers with the most accurate and up-to-date information about your company and its products and services.
Bringing it back home
To outsource or not to outsource. That is the question. Determining what your core and non-core business functions are is paramount in the decision-making process here. Nobody wants to put their core business in the hands of other people if they don’t have to. And now you don’t. With a well-trained, knowledgeable team and the right infrastructure and software in place, you can turn your in-house contact center into a real profit center.
Have you had a bad experience outsourcing some of your business functions? Tell us about it in the comments below and let us know how we can help.