By Angela Garfinkel, President
In early 2020, the biggest problem facing top telemarketing companies in the U.S. was a lack of readily available staff. A booming stock market, rising minimum wages and competition for staff made 2020 look like it would be a year filled with staffing challenges.
Now, at the end of March 2020, we are facing an unprecedented dramatic shift in the SWOT analysis of the top telemarketing companies in the U.S. (SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). With COVID-19 and the virtual shut-down of the U.S. economy, here is my current SWOT analysis for our industry.
The telemarketing and call center industry was an early adopter of the work from home (WFH) business model. Software in the cloud, internet-based telephony and USB headsets eliminate the need for telemarketing and call center agents and their managers to be sitting in a physical call center. Culturally, many companies have successfully shifted their teams to a WFH model and have found that productivity is just as high (and higher in some cases). In addition, attendance is better, and morale is higher.
Here at Quality Contact Solutions, we have had a WFH team from day one. All of our management team and support staff have always worked from home and a portion of our front-line telemarketing agent team is also WFH.
On the management side and leadership side, we’ve found that it makes us more productive and more flexible to meet the continuously changing needs of our clients. And when we do go to an “office”, we typically travel to one of our 15 different owner-operated call centers to spend quality time with a team or a client.
In addition, having a WFH team also allows us to successfully recruit from all 50 states and if a team member moves to a new location, their job goes with them.
Telemarketing companies that have never implemented a WFH operation may struggle with “how” to do training, coaching, employee development, and process development. There are certainly lessons that are learned during every implementation of WFH and a potential weakness for our industry is the large number of companies that will be going WFH in a very compressed time span.
Another potential weakness of WFH as it relates to our industry is the need to implement policies, procedures and training which meet the requirements for data privacy and security, credit card data security and health information privacy and security. We think that there will be innovation born out of necessity where these compliance issues are at stake. Businesses and consumers do not want key information compromised – even in a crisis.
Here at QCS, we’ve successfully tackled all the data security and privacy requirements for our clients – including in our WFH teams. We have even implemented an innovative process for capturing credit card payments in a PCI Level 1 secure manner.
We project that the top telemarketing companies in the U.S. will experience significant growth in the second half of 2020. From now through the next few months, many companies will work to minimize the disruption of COVID-19 to their business. After the initial triage is completed and after identifying what their go-forward business looks like, we believe that a significant portion of future sales and marketing contacts will be outsourced. Outsourcing will enable savvy business executives to have the advantage of speed to market before their competitors.
With the downturn of the economy in general, top telemarketing companies in the U.S. will once again have access to a highly educated, skilled workforce at a moderate cost. The performance that will be generated will be difficult to match in organizations that lack the process, technology, and people that highly specialized telemarketing companies employ.
The biggest threat to the outsourcing industry is a failure to right-size the management team and overhead costs to sustain the business through the short-term downturn that every company is experiencing. Top telemarketing companies in the U.S. with a bloated management overhead may not have the financial resources to sustain the organization throughout the trough in the economy.
It will be more important than ever to maintain a healthy balance sheet to ensure the organization will sustain for the long term.
Angela Garfinkel is the President and Founder of Quality Contact Solutions, a leading outsourced telemarketing services organization. Angela has the pleasure of leading a talented team that runs thousands of outbound telemarketing program hours on a daily basis. Angela can be reached at [email protected] or 516.656.5118.