Imagine visiting one of your favorite retail stores. After walking down several aisles, you ask a cashier for help. Expecting them to call someone to the front to help, you’re confused when they hand you a questionnaire and ask that you fill it out. But you shrug it off, fill it out, and hand it back. You wait for an available associate to arrive.
After 30 minutes of waiting, you’re irritated, thinking that all you wanted to know is what aisle you could find a product in. You approach the cashier once more to ask for assistance, and they again hand you a questionnaire, asking you to fill it out, and wait. After waiting another 30 minutes, you simply ask the cashier if they can answer a quick question. Like an episode from The Outer Limits, the cashier merely repeats the same routine as before.
The above scenario sounds utterly insane for any business to put a potential customer through. But thousands of businesses put their customers through similar ordeals virtually. Prevent giving your customers an “Outer Limits” experience by outsourcing a US-based inbound call center. This article covers in short some important things you should know before deciding to invest money in outsourcing inbound, call center services.
Inbound Call Center or Contact Center: Is There a Difference?
In the traditional sense, call centers primarily focus on a single communication channel which is the telephone. With the proliferation of digital technology, call centers began evolving into contact centers that provide multi-channel support or omnichannel support. Contact center support agents typically possess additional skill sets such as communication, creative writing, top-notch organizational skills, customer care, and how to make connections, among other things.
Most modern call centers acknowledge that telephone support simply isn’t enough for today’s scaling business. Hence, the terms “call center” and “contact center” are more or less used interchangeably. Choosing one or the other is no longer a viable option for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Even single merchants selling on e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay utilize omnichannel support software to help create a better buyer experience.
The Importance of Outsourcing a US-Based Call Center
Consumers in the post-COVID-19 era have much higher customer service expectations than before the pandemic. Customers in 2022 are more likely to choose and continue doing business with brands that quickly and efficiently address their issues. This means your business must be available when customers contact you for support and/or service. Having one or two points of contact (email, text message, social media) may no longer be adequate enough.
In terms of customer phone calls, their value goes far beyond customer service. Depending on the products and/or services you provide, the telephone could be the best way to interact with customers. Connecting with them personally allows you to clarify things easier. In particular, high-quality US-based call centers are capable of providing clients with agents that specialize in specific areas of expertise.
Outsourcing a Call Center Overseas: Outweighing the Pros and Cons
Outsourcing an overseas call center is counterintuitive to most US-based companies’ objectives. Many organizations that outsource overseas call centers do so not only to save time but money as well. But is it more cost effective when you look at the big picture? Oneshould take into account some major considerations before partnering with an overseas contact center:
A Lack of Control and Oversight
Controlling call center operations is a lot tougher when the geographical distance exceeds the U.S. borders. Presuming one was to partner with a call center in India, for example, scheduling an international flight each time you want to meet with your CS team is an unrealistic expectation.. Some of the bigger challenges with these distance barriers include building a strong rapport with agents, designing and implementing training programs, and finally, finding ways to strengthen the connection between the U.S. based customer and overseas culture. With inbound call centers being so deeply tied to the perception of who your company is, why take the chance?
Few To No Regulations
It goes without saying that overseas contact centers aren’t obliged to adhere to state or federal guidelines regulating call centers. In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) govern Call center companies in the USA. And while they don’t have jurisdiction to hold overseas call centers accountable, your company can.
With no legal incentive to follow FCC and FTC guidelines, hiring a call center in a place like India, Thailand, Malaysia, or elsewhere is like playing with fire. This doesn’t just apply to consumer rights but includes something even worse: data breaches involving customers’ personal information.
Language and Cultural Barriers
As a business person or upper management, you want to reach a broad range of customers. Any loyal customer is a good customer unless you’re operating an interest-based nonprofit organization (NPO). Therefore, you want your current and potential customers to feel at ease when contacting your service and/or support team.
Partnering with US-based agents that speak English as a first language will go a lot further, especially if the customer service team is using any English based backend systems to assist customers. Imagine trying to use your CRM in a foreign language. These culture barriers can create hidden costs and problems that make offshoring more expensive in the long run than using a US based team in the first place.
Build Trust by Outsourcing to US-Based Call Center Providers
To successfully grow a business in today’s digital environment, certain things must be in place: an attractive, well-functioning SEO-optimized website; a well-managed social media presence; extended hours for support through digital channels, and an effective email marketing campaign. However, outsourcing to a US-based, inbound call center services company is also becoming a critical component of omnichannel platforms. And omnichannel platforms are a critical aspect of maintaining customer retention.