Internal Call Center Operations vs. Outsourcing: Which is Better?
The business world seems to sway back and forth between its preference for call center outsourcing and internal call center operations. In the 1990s, major cost savings drove many companies to shut the doors on their internal customer service operations and outsource their call centers outside of the United States. A push for improved customer service shifted the trend back toward internal call centers. Today, companies have the additional option of a hybrid approach, in which an external call center can support a company’s internal call center at high-volume times.
Even with increased quality in outsourcing options today, many companies reviewing their customer service options believe that an internal call center still provides the best option for supporting the overall customer experience. The truth is that the best approach will vary from company to company based on a range of factors.
To help you better understand which option may best address your company’s and customers’ needs, Eventus has put together a short list of the benefits of outsourced versus internal call centers.
Benefits of Call Center Outsourcing
Call center outsourcing can mean moving part or all of your call center outside of your company. This can include offshoring, or contracting with a call center located outside of the United States, or nearshoring, which means contracting with a call center located in a low-cost country near the United States. In relation to an internal call center, outsourcing offers a number of potential benefits.
- Cost Savings: This has long been the draw for many companies. Outsourcing a call center can be a much cheaper option than building and maintaining an internal call center, although this will vary based on the country, type of call center and services offered. Shared call centers, for example, can be more cost-effective than a dedicated call center. Scalability may mean a professional call center can offer a broader range of tech-based solutions than a company might invest in themselves, as well as the necessary agent training. However, the increase in work-from-home models is making internal call centers more cost-competitive.
- Customer Service on a Global Scale: Outsourcing call center operations can allow companies to better connect with customers on a global scale. Companies serving international customers may find it beneficial to outsource international call center operations to a service provider that specializes in or is located within a targeted region. Not only will they be able to provide higher quality of service and cultural connections, but this process allows your company to provide customer service around-the-clock globally.
- Agile Capacity Management: Some companies opt to support an internal call center by outsourcing overflow capacity. For example, in high call volume seasons, call center outsourcing can help a company to quickly ramp up and ramp down operations with little to no interruption.
- Staffing Flexibility: Outsourcing your call center to a service provider means not worrying about the day-to-day business of actually running a call center or making the investment in training or recruitment. The 24/7 demand of call response means that call centers can carry high turnover costs for companies that don’t have proven hiring and retention practices in place. What’s more, the more competitive costs of outsourcing may make critical continuous support more affordable for smaller companies.
Benefits of Internal Call Center Operations
Keeping your call center within the walls of your company may be more expensive to maintain. However, it can provide a number of benefits that are often missed when utilizing a call center outsourcing provider.
- Increased Control: One of the main advantages of maintaining internal call center operations is the ability to control every aspect of customer service, from the interviewing and vetting of new hires to the training of agents to the technology used to the implementation of new techniques and processes. While you may still have a say in some of these areas when working with an outsourced service provider, this can all be controlled much more easily internally.
- Greater Data Security: Call centers are now high-risk areas when it comes to data security due to the increasingly large amounts of personal data handled through these channels. While many outsourced call centers prioritize up-to-date data security practices, some industries may not be able to take the risk of sharing this information off-site.
- More Seamless Customer Experience: Today, customers expect not just a rapid response but a personalized encounter and seamless experience between digital and phone-based customer service interactions. Companies that want to create an overarching contact center using a wide range of technology solutions may find it challenging to integrate an outsourced call center’s siloed data into the mix.
- Stronger Understanding of Brand Values: Utilizing your own agents to provide customer service within an internal call center can increase customer satisfaction because your employees are able to better internalize your company’s practices, brands, values and overall culture than employees of an outsourced vendor. Your employees are also likely to have a greater knowledge of your company and products compared to an outsourced agent with basic product and service training.
The next step on your customers’ journey
As you can see, both of these options have major benefits in today’s world. Whether you want to save money while increasing your global reach or maintain control of your brand messaging and sensitive data, both call center outsourcing and internal call centers bring value to the table. With either option, the key to success will be to incorporate your call center within your broader, strategic customer experience approach.
If you are ready to dive deeper into these benefits and tailor an approach that might best meet your company’s customer service goals, contact Eventus and speak with an expert with experience in utilizing both of these processes to find out which approach may be right for you.
It can be hard to fathom a life without customer service in it. Before remote desktop support, live chat and other contact center solutions, there were complex phone trees and outsourced call centers and before that there were buggy IVR systems and telephone switchboards connecting you to the store you purchased the product from.
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