Read This Before You Outsource

Jan 01, 2006 10:30 PM  By

We take contact center outsourcing almost for granted these days, but the process is far more complex than it seems at first glance. Elizabeth Herrell, an analyst at Cambridge, MA-based Forrester Research, offers the following guidelines to help you decide whether outsourcing — domestic or overseas — is appropriate for your operation:

Review the impact of geographical changes

If you plan to go offshore, prior to choosing a new location make sure that you evaluate market conditions, cultural factors, the political climate, regulatory policies, and training requirements for offshore employees.

Segment transaction types

Not every type of transaction is suited for outsourced customer support — some functions are best kept in-house. For example, you might want skilled company employees handling high-value interactions, while an offshore facility could provide basic account management services.

Address morale issues

Be sensitive as to how you communicate the news about outsourcing to your employees; gain the support of the various departments involved. Outsourcing/offshoring can depress morale and result in an exodus of good workers.

Consider your customers’ preferences

For some customers, the agent’s location is not as important as the quality of service they receive. For others, offshore locations may equate to poor service. For that reason, evaluate your customers’ expectations early in the process.

Set up a management team

You’ll need management teams to be in place to direct operations and ensure quality control at remote contact centers. Unless your company already has offices in other locations, this process will require site selections and personnel relocation.

Determine availability of qualified labor

This includes assessing cultural affinity as well as making sure that the workforce is educated and proficient in the languages required.