How to effectively outsource a call center.

I have heard many stories of companies that have outsourced to a call center with dismal results, claiming that they did not engage the customers the right way, the sales were low, expectations were not met and more.  In my experience when a company decides to outsource to a call center instead of keeping it in house this is what happens many times:  The decision has been made and a company starts interviewing call centers, they find the one they like and after a few conversations and negotiating price they make the decision to pull the trigger and the call center starts to handle either their inbound or outbound calls or both.  They discuss the various types of customers they have and the various products that are being sold or the customer service that needs to be done in respect to those products or services and then they back out of the picture leaving the call center to do what they do best, after all they are pro’s at this.

A little time goes by and the company comes to realize that what they expected is not what has happened, sales are down, customers are complaining about the level of service.  The company doesn’t understand this was such a professional call center with great references, what went wrong?  What went wrong is this company put their customers in the hands of strangers and walked away.  It doesn’t matter how good they are, they are not you.  Does this mean that a company should not outsource to a call center?  No not at all, but it does means that they still need to be actively involved, they need to make sure that agents are being properly trained, some companies even send reps to the call center to spend some time with them in the beginning and assist in the training of the agents to ensure that they are being trained the right way, your way.  Even after the training phase, you need to be involved each and every day, you need to look at stats; you need to request individual agent stats, recordings if necessary so that you know what’s going on.  It is okay to outsource but it’s not okay to just walk away, outsourcing is a partnership between a company and a call center and the company needs to be actively involved in order to have a successful call center operation on their behalf.  When outsourcing you need to be sure that the call center is training the agents the way you trained your agents, if you have a successful script don’t stop using it because your are outsourcing, be sure the call center agents are using the same script and processes. It’s still your business, and while the agents may not work directly for you, in essence they are still your agents, they are representing your company and you need to be involved in every aspect of your business regardless where the calls are being answered or dialed from.  Outsourcing is not walking away and putting it in someone else’s hands and hoping it works out.  A successful outsourcing operation requires the participation of both the company and the call center.