By Megan Hottman, Operations Manager and Brand Evangelist
I’ve lived in the land of call center outsourcing for over 17 years. I’ve been on the client side as well as in the supplier corner. I’d like to think that I have a pretty good perspective and understand the landscape of the call center outsourcing industry on each side. To be honest, I’ve had a few not so great experiences with different call center outsourcing organizations that I’ve worked with as a client throughout my time. The opposite of that is also true, there have been partners that I’ve worked with that clearly stood out and were great to work with. But I’ve often wondered, why are there such big differences in these organizations and what sets them apart?
Recently I had a thought hit me out of the blue. Specifically of how a particular book I’ve read before applied to the question of differences in call center outsourcing companies and it was crystal clear to me why. Let me briefly explain.
Over the course of my professional career, it’s fair to say that I’ve read the Jim Collins book, Good to Great a handful of times. The past two years has been extremely transformative for me, on both a personal and professional level. While I won’t go into the nitty gritty details of what has led to what I believe is a genuinely positive outcome, I will share that on a high level, I can fully understand why good is considered the enemy of great as I reflected and dug into the challenges and opportunities that have been presented. I have seen and experienced first-hand how mediocrity and how the mindset of it’s fine, it’s good enough or just being satisfied can impact all aspects of life. It wasn’t until I deliberately made the choice and decided that satisfaction or just being satisfied just wasn’t good enough going forward.
I’d like to believe that this concept or mindset is the same for all call center outsourcing organizations who want to differentiate themselves from their competitors and push towards being the very best at what they do. Perhaps they’ve gone through a transformative period and therefore have deliberately differentiated themselves from their competition because they didn’t want their customers to feel satisfied, perhaps they wanted them to have a greater experience? Expanding on that thought, I have to wonder though, why isn’t there more of this type of shift in organizations? Why is satisfaction considered ok to some call center outsourcing organizations and potential clients?
There are two different ways to dissect this; an introspective view of a call center itself and then from a prospective buyer who is looking at call center outsourcing options to assist with potential business needs. This article will review a couple of critical elements to consider from a perspective client’s lens looking at call center outsourcing. Part two will dive in and explore if satisfaction is inhibiting potential performance as a call center organization.
When considering call center outsourcing, the company is key
There are companies in all industries that settle for good because it’s easier. We have all heard of, and likely experienced autopilot in our organization. This type of cruise control doesn’t necessarily foster and encourage an environment of creativity. There are companies that choose to not be relentless in refining their processes, people, etc. They are not striving to be the best in the industry which opens the door to competitors. Being the best means there is absolutely no room for mediocre thinking.
A prospective call center outsourcing partner will have deep industry knowledge and experience in their industry and yours as well. This helps in quickly addressing any issues you may encounter and provide the best experience for you and your clients. This experience and knowledge don’t happen overnight. A great call center outsourcing partner will have dedicated the time to become an expert at what they do in the industries they serve. They have referenceable partners that can also speak to their experience and their capabilities as an organization.
When considering call center outsourcing, the team is key
Being able to get and keep enough of the right people, especially the management team, to help your company be the best it can be. A good organization will keep good enough or mediocre team members just to fill seats or requirements of a project. This type of decision can impede and limit the attainment of both internal and external goals. The management team, project managers, and other team members who will be working with you should likewise display outstanding qualifications and extensive experience in implementing and achieving your goals.
One of the most important attributes in building a successful call center outsourcing team is passion. How do you enable or develop that passion which leads to success? I’d say it’s all about organizational culture and people and it starts at the top.
The management team serves as both an example and a teacher to the entire team and to prospective clients. They must have a big picture organizational view of program operations and have the ability to accurately assess individual and team performance, gauge and improve morale, and measure against industry benchmarks. Many of these attributes are developed through years of experience.
When looking at potential call center outsourcing partners, it’s important to understand if they believe that being satisfied is ok or if they have or are moving the needle towards excellence in their respective areas of expertise. Are the call center outsourcing organizations you’re looking at able to show examples of introducing new technologies and/or solutions over time? Are the technologies designed to scale or integrate with other potential technologies?
A great call center partner will not settle with just being ok. They will look at you as a partner and will help you scale, strengthen your brand and providing the best service to you and your customers. They understand why good is considered the enemy of great.
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Megan Hottman is an Operations Manager and Brand Evangelist for Quality Contact Solutions. Megan’s experience includes working as an outbound telemarketing manager for a Fortune 100 company for many years. Megan has been both a client and an employee of QCS, so she knows first-hand the quality, productivity and passion the team brings to work on a daily basis. As Brand Evangelist, Megan is a freelance contributor to our website. You can reach Megan at https://www.linkedin.com/in/meganehottman/