Switching calls over to a new outsourcing call vendor for the first time is a major endeavor — one that should only happen after a lot of planning and communication. This is true whether you’re routing calls for the first time from your own offices or you’re switching from an existing provider. Communication plays a critical role in the success of any third-party vendor implementation, so check out the types of things you should communicate — and to whom — to help ensure a satisfactory rollout.
Things to Communicate to Your Existing Outsourcing Company
Communication should begin with your existing outsourcing company. It should actually be a heavy part of your relationship with this business partner from the beginning of the contract, but if you’re not seeing the results and service levels you need from the outsourcing provider, communicate that as soon as possible. Start with questions about service levels, why they aren’t being met and how the outsourcing vendor is planning to fix the problem in the future. You may find that with some constructive criticism and a solid partnership, your outsourcing company may be able to make changes to better serve your needs. While you never want to stick with a telecommunications company that isn’t able to fully serve you just to avoid the potential hassle of a change, giving the contract a chance to work in your favor isn’t always a bad idea. If it becomes clear that the third-party provider is simply not able to serve your needs or meet quality requirements — especially if they haven’t made appropriate changes after you communicated issues — it’s probably time to move on. Work with your legal team or lawyer to understand your contract with the third-party service provider, and communicate your desire to end the arrangement as the contract dictates it’s appropriate. You may want to ensure you have a new third-party call center lined up before you communicate your intent to sever ties with an existing one. You’ll also need to communicate:
- What type of business you plan to move (if you aren’t moving all of your calls)
- When you intend to make the switch
- Whether you need the call vendor to take any action, such as returning proprietary materials or informing their staff about the change
What to Communicate to Your New Third-Party Service Provider
Start out strong with your new third-party service provider by communicating your business needs and expectations clearly. Work together to create a contract that includes appropriate service-level agreements so you can rest assured your customer service needs are met. You’ll also need to communicate:
- When you would like to switch calls to the new third-party provider
- What type of call volumes the center can expect — the more information you can give about when call volumes may trend up or down or the types of calls that come in, the better the third-party provider is able to staff for your needs
- What types of issues you hope to solve by switching call vendors
- Whether you hope to integrate call center processes directly into your existing systems
Make sure to allow time for the call vendor to communicate as well. Listen to their sales pitch and what they have to offer so you know if they’re right for you before you move further into the decision-making process. Ask them to be as clear as possible about their processes and how they will work to meet your needs. You may want to ask questions such as:
- Where are the telecommunication centers located?
- What type of disaster planning does the third-party provider do?
- Who is in charge of the employees?
- How are hiring and training accomplished?
- How does the center plan to scale up for seasonal or sudden needs?
- What type of reporting will be available to you about call center metrics and SLAs?
What to Communicate to Your Employees
While the C-Suite might see a change in call center providers as a seamless move for most of the staff, it’s often appropriate to be at least somewhat transparent with your in-house employees. For example, if communications quality has been a known issue and has led to in-house staff dealing with complaints or issues, letting everyone know the company is making a change can help boost morale and let staff know the issues aren’t being ignored. When communicating with in-house staff about third-party provider changes, it’s typically best to take the high road and remain as positive as possible. Avoid disparaging an outsourcing vendor or dwelling on the negatives and simply highlight how the change is going to provide new or better benefits for customers and employees. If a change is simply a matter of numbers or other such factors, be honest about it. You might let staff know, for example, that ABC Call Center could not handle the growth you’re experiencing, so you’re switching to a larger provider.
Should You Communicate to Your Customers?
Whether or not you communicate a telecommunications switch to your customers depends on numerous factors. For consumers, the switch should be seamless. Optimally, consumers should never realize they’re speaking with a third-party service provider because your call center should do such a great job of representing your brand that it’s never an issue. In cases where everyone is doing their job appropriately, a switch would be unnoticeable and unlikely to require specific communication. Some unique situations can arise where it’s important to communicate a switch to consumers. Make sure you discuss this type of communication with your legal, compliance and marketing departments to ensure messaging is appropriate. You might consider letting consumers know about a change when:
- Consumers are generally aware that they are dealing with a call handling provider and a switch would be obvious to some; in this case, communicating the change ahead of time and assuring customers of continued quality can reduce customer anxiety. This is especially true if you’re dealing with confidential information such as health records.
- A compliance or regulatory rule requires that you inform consumers when a new entity may be handling their accounts or information.
- The previous outsourcing company has not lived up to customer service expectations and that has caused a reduction in calls or sales; communicating the change could help address customer complaints.
The bottom line is that communication during an outsourcing partner switch is not optional, and you do need to put some thought and planning into this aspect of any switch. If you are ready to communicate to your existing provider that you want to change, call Ameridial today at 888-480-8700 for more information on how we can step up to provide the high-level telecommunication services you need.