Call center services are one of the most widely outsourced business operations.
Outsourcing call center services has many benefits that can make managing your customer support cost-effective and convenient.
Usually, businesses that opt for call center outsourcing services see an improvement in customer retention. They also observe a steady increase in brand loyalty.
In this article, we’ll explore what call center outsourcing services are and the top three call center service providers. We’ll also discuss the pros and cons of outsourcing a call center service and five tips to keep in mind while outsourcing.
This article contains:
(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- What are Call Center Outsourcing Services?
- Cost of Outsourcing Call Center Services
- Call Center Outsourcing Services: Pros vs. Cons
- Top 3 Call Center Outsourcing Service Providers
- 5 Key Call Center Outsourcing Tips
Let’s get started.
What are call center outsourcing services?
Call center outsourcing services refer to the customer support services that your company can outsource to a third-party service provider.
Lead generation, answering service, telemarketing, customer acquisition, market research, etc., are some of the different call center services you can outsource.
Call center outsourcing service providers are sometimes a part of a larger business process outsourcing (BPO) company. While call centers only handle customer calls, BPO companies take care of several other business operations for a company.
If customer service is a non-core business process for your business, outsourcing allows your in-house team to focus their time and resources on core aspects of the business.
For example, if you own an app development company, you can outsource non-core operations like marketing and customer support services. Your in-house team can focus on the core tasks such as product development, finance, etc.
Read more on how you can use call center outsourcing to your benefit in 2021.
2 types of call center services
There are two different types of call center services, namely inbound and outbound.
Each one has a different purpose, and you may need one or both of these services for your business.
1. Inbound call center service
Inbound call center services handle the incoming calls of a company. These inbound calls may be from an existing or a prospective customer looking for information.
Businesses require inbound services to offer customer support, technical support, handle queries, address customer issues, and so on.
2. Outbound call center service
Outbound call center services handle the outgoing customer service calls of a company.
Here, call center agents usually reach out to an existing customer or a potential customer to sell products or services.
Businesses use outbound calls for cold-calling, up-selling, cross-selling, telemarketing, lead generation, etc.
Read more on how inbound and outbound call centers differ from one another.
Note: A call center isn’t the same as a contact center. In addition to attending calls, contact center outsourcing includes omnichannel support for customers through live chat, email, social media, etc.
Read our detailed guide on contact center vs. call center for more info.
2 types of call center outsourcing
Apart from the type of call center outsourcing services, businesses can also choose where they outsource these services.
1. Domestic call center outsourcing
You can outsource to a call center within the same country as your business operations. Locally outsourced customer service can get rid of challenges like language and cultural barriers.
2. Offshore call center outsourcing
You can also outsource your call center services to another country.
Businesses opt for this solution as it’s cost-effective. Call center outsourcing services can be budget-friendly in South American and South-East Asian countries.
Explore the nine pros and cons of offshore outsourcing in 2021 to determine if it’s right for you.
Let’s now discuss the cost of outsourcing a company’s call center services.
Cost of outsourcing call center services
Between an in-house call center team and an outsourced one, the latter is more cost-effective. You can save costs on office space, hiring, training, employee benefits, software, and more by outsourcing customer service.
But how much does it cost to outsource a call center service?
To give you an idea, here are some factors the influence your outsourcing expense:
The cost of outsourcing call center services differs from one part of the world to the other. That’s why the location of your call center service provider is the most crucial cost variable.
Here’s a look at the average pricing of outsourcing call center services across different regions worldwide.
|Region||Average Cost of Call Center Outsourcing Services|
|The United States/Canada||$22 – $35 per hour|
|Western Europe||$40+ per hour|
|Australia||$35 – $55 per hour|
|Africa/Middle East||$15 – $20 per hour|
|Latin America||$8 – $18 per hour|
|The Philippines||$8 – $14 per hour|
|India||$5 – $9 per hour|
Source: Worldwide Call Centers
2. Type of call center service
We’ve talked about inbound and outbound call center services.
Each of these services comes at a different cost. And even within these service types, your outsourcing costs can depend on the specific combination of services you choose.
For instance, a company outsourcing its customer support will be charged much less than a company outsourcing its lead generation and customer support. This is because lead generation is a high-value and high-effort service.
3. Shared or dedicated call center agents
Outsourced call center service providers allow you to work with shared call center agents who work with multiple clients simultaneously.
However, you can also choose to work with dedicated agents who only serve your business. Generally, dedicated agents are more expensive than shared agents.
4. Call volume
Call volume refers to the number of phone calls your outsourced call center receives from customers.
A higher call volume will require more call center agents to work for your business. With the increase in human resources, your costs will naturally go up.
Call center outsourcing services: Pros vs. cons
If you’re still on the fence about outsourcing call center services, our breakdown of its pros and cons can help you make a decision.
A. 5 pros of call center outsourcing services
Here’s how outsourcing call center services can benefit your business:
Outsourcing your call center needs can help you save on infrastructure costs.
Additionally, call center service providers let you choose between shared and dedicated call center agents. Partnering with shared agents can help you save money spent on human resources.
2. Solve staffing issues
You can significantly reduce your company’s time and money on vetting potential call center hires through call center services outsourcing.
An outsourced call center service provider takes care of your staffing needs for you. They hire, train, and assign tasks to call center agents on your behalf.
3. Provide 24/7 customer service
Your customers may live in different parts of the world. The time zone difference can make it challenging to serve them 24/7.
However, with the help of an outsourced call center provider, you’ll have access to call center agents who work in different shifts to provide 24/7 customer support.
4. Specialized industry knowledge
Outsourced call center service providers have a technical understanding of the call center needs of different industries.
Executives and managers from these companies can give you proven strategies for better customer service.
5. Manage large call volume
You can avoid overwhelming your in-house team with a heavy call volume by outsourcing to a service provider. An outsourced provider has qualified agents and the necessary bandwidth to handle a heavy call volume.
While outsourcing call center services has its benefits, certain disadvantages may make it unsuitable for some companies.
B. 5 cons of call center outsourcing services
Let’s look at a few disadvantages of call center outsourcing services:
1. Lack of control
Outsourcing can make it challenging to control your operations and monitor if your outsourced team completes its KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
Fortunately, one way of keeping track of your call center’s performance metrics is by introducing employee productivity management software like Time Doctor.
2. Language barriers
When you outsource to foreign countries, your outsourced call center agents’ first language may differ from yours. This can cause communication barriers between the agents and your customers.
3. Cultural barriers
An understanding of a country’s culture is crucial to forming healthy working relationships.
If you choose to outsource your call center internationally, embracing a new culture and forming efficient work dynamics can be challenging.
4. Can be difficult to collaborate efficiently
Compared to an in-house team, it isn’t easy to establish seamless collaboration with your outsourced call center team.
With different leadership and working styles involved, there may be a loss of information or even a lack of motivation to collaborate.
5. Data security concerns
While outsourcing customer service, you’ll probably share sensitive customer data with your outsourced team.
In this scenario, you’ll depend on your outsourcing service provider to protect your data. And while your outsourcing partner may have certain security measures in place, there’s no way for you to regulate these measures.
Top 3 call center outsourcing service providers
We’ve discussed the average cost of outsourcing call center services and the key factors affecting it. You may now be wondering which service provider to choose.
Here are the top three call center service providers to help you make a choice.
TeleDirect is a top call center outsourcing company that provides inbound and outbound services. The USA-based call center company offers bilingual services in English and Spanish.
Some of their key services include:
- Live call answering service by over 400 call center agents.
- Find leads and follow up with them through an appointment setting.
- 24/7 client portal to track key performance metrics and data like phone numbers and contact names.
2. WNS Global Services
WNS is a global BPO management company headquartered in Mumbai, India. The outsourcing company has over twenty years of experience in the industry.
Some of their key services include:
- Offers call center services in 16 different countries and can help boost your global presence.
- Has a unique customer experience solution called WNS EXPIRIUS. The software combines call center services with artificial intelligence to enhance customer satisfaction.
- Provides call center solutions such as customer service, customer issues management, help desk, tech support, and so on.
3. Signius Communications
Signius Communications is a leading US-based call center service provider best suited for businesses with a lower budget.
Some of their key services include:
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR) for automation of a customer call.
- Specializes in answering services for healthcare services. Provides HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) compliant medical answering services.
- A 24/7 virtual assistant service to assist your customers during after hours.
You can choose the service provider that best suits your business needs. But before that, let’s discuss five key tips that can help you outsource successfully.
5 key call center outsourcing tips
When done right, outsourcing call center services can benefit your business in several ways.
Here are five actionable tips to help you out here:
1. Research your outsourcing service provider
Your call center service provider must customize their services according to your business needs. One way to ensure they’re a good fit for your business is by looking at their clientele.
It’s advisable to choose a call center provider that has worked with businesses similar to yours.
2. Choose a flexible outsourcing partner
Your business will most likely grow or expand in the future. It’s smarter to partner with a call center provider who can accommodate your company’s future growth.
A flexible outsourcing partner will also allow you to outsource larger portions of the customer lifecycle and scale your business.
3. Prioritize customer satisfaction
The ultimate goal of outsourcing call center services is to ensure a good customer experience.
Your customers may not know about your call center outsourcing solution. But they can easily point out any lapses in your customer relationship management (CRM) process.
It’s advisable to prioritize your end customer’s needs while making any outsourcing decision.
4. Sign a clear contract
Your outsourcing contract must clearly outline the service level you expect from your call center provider.
The service level agreement will include details on deliverables and key performance metrics. It helps you hold your service provider accountable.
Most inbound call centers will charge you by the minute. However, certain outbound call center services like lead generation may involve an additional commission. Tie this payment structure to clear the deliverables.
5. Use an employee productivity management tool
An outsourced call center provider will mostly bill you by the time spent on your project.
That’s why it’s important to ensure that they’re productive during this time.
How can you achieve this?
All you need is a powerful time and productivity management software like Time Doctor.
What’s Time Doctor?
Time Doctor is a robust employee productivity management software used by large companies as well as small businesses to efficiently manage in-house employees and outsourced professionals.
Time Doctor can help you:
- Track time to calculate your outsourced team’s billable hours accurately.
- Pay your outsourced employees directly using payment methods like PayPal, Gusto, etc.
- Analyze the performance of your outsourced agent in real-time with detailed, comprehensive reports.
- Track your call center agents’ productivity across various platforms through integrations with apps like Trello and Asana.
Read more about the complete list of Time Doctor’s features and benefits.
Setting up an in-house call center can be expensive because of the costs involved in infrastructure, hiring, and training.
Outsourced call centers, on the other hand, can be very economical for your business.
Beyond cost-savings, however, the success of your outsourced call center depends on factors such as choosing the right call center service and the best call center provider.
You can go through the details we’ve discussed in this article to understand how you can successfully outsource call center services.
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.