Continuous improvement drives lean businesses. This core principle helps companies succeed in challenging markets and thrive in times of prosperity. Often, when businesses turn to outsource providers, they’re looking for a better way to do things while controlling their costs. By choosing a partner that uses continuous improvement methods, the results can exceed your expectations. Lean business concepts originated in automotive manufacturing, but they apply to every aspect of call center outsourcing, whether you manage a car dealership, an e-commerce website or a nonprofit. Here are four ways that an outsourcing provider can optimize your business processes.
1. Reduced Wait Times and Increased Efficiency
Speed is one of the most obvious and important forms of efficiency, especially since every business owner knows that time is money. On the surface, an outsourcing provider can reduce hold and handle times, which increases customer satisfaction, but the benefits of outsourcing go much deeper. For many businesses, operating an in-house call center isn’t an option due to the initial investment and ongoing cost. However, outsourcing completely eliminates the need to recruit, train and develop a dedicated workforce, which saves you time and money. An Accenture study found that most new representatives don’t make meaningful contributions to the company’s sales goals during their first 10 months on the job. With an outsourced call center, an experienced workforce is already in place. Another aspect of efficiency relates to workflow and call routing. Lean principles state that wait times between steps are responsible for some of the largest inefficiencies. In a call center, this plays out in two ways. First, customers experience frustration when they have to call several times or explain their issue to multiple agents. Second, phone representatives and salespeople often spend more time documenting their work and completing menial administrative tasks than they do helping customers or contacting leads. By implementing effective workflow procedures, an outsourced call center can increase the number of first-call resolutions while boosting internal productivity. At Ameridial, we optimize business processes by shortening the gaps between each step.
2. Workforce Productivity
Outsourcing has the potential to dramatically increase your organization’s efficiency while reducing your costs. Using a third-party provider helps you work smarter, not harder. This is especially true in customer service and tech support. A well-designed phone system that uses responsive routing and interactive voice response technology can handle a large number of customer inquiries while ensuring that more complex issues are directed to the correct department. Outsourcing to a third-party is particularly cost-effective for companies that use a tiered customer service model. An outsourcing provider can substantially reduce the cost of handling tier one and two calls while transferring tier three tickets to your in-house specialists. This way, your most experienced agents can focus on your most challenging support requests. This productivity concept also applies to sales calls and telemarketing. Outsourcing makes it very easy for companies to have a third-party company conduct lead generation and qualification calls. Then, your top-performing agents can target the most promising prospects. From a financial perspective, outsourcing is most effective when it uses a prioritization hierarchy to streamline business procedures.
3. Integrated Workflow Patterns
In a detail-oriented industry, streamlining business procedures is essential for efficiency. Outbound and inbound call provider are finely tuned machines with many moving parts that are powered by people and technology. From automated menus and intelligent call routing systems to follow-up emails and customer satisfaction surveys, each step along the path must be carefully planned and assessed. The first fundamental of the 5S methodology is sorting. By eliminating unnecessary links in the chain, a company can minimize downtime and delays. In the call center industry, this can be a challenging balancing act due to regulations that apply to health care information, payment data and personally identifiable information. As a side note, outsourcing can help companies sort by eliminating redundant employees and transitioning to a shared workforce model that can substantially reduce operating costs. The fourth S of standardization is also critical for outsourcers. One of the most important jobs we do is documenting internal processes and procedures. We also conduct compliance audits to ensure we’re following our own rules. The beauty of a standardized system is that it’s easy to follow. It creates a framework that’s flexible enough to be customized, and it serves as a foundation for a process that’s infinitely repeatable. Standardization also allows outsourcing providers to integrate seamlessly with the client’s CRM platform, which goes back to the first S and the concept of eliminating unnecessary items or conversion processes.
4. Analytics and Reporting
Last but not least, data gathering is a key part of the workflow process because this information can be mined to plan future improvements. To evolve, you need to understand where you are now and where you want to be. Then, you can create a road map that connects the dots. Analytics are critical for improving business processes and optimizing workflow patterns, so it’s important to select an outsourcing provider that has robust reporting systems. Continuous improvement relies on a fourfold process. Whether you’re working to control your costs, reduce hold times or prepare for a seasonal spike in call volume, the same process can apply to any situation.
- The first step is to identify key trends or problems that can be improved. In the call center industry, metrics related to hold times and first-call resolutions have the most meaningful impact on your bottom line.
- Once you’ve identified challenges, you can create a targeted plan for overcoming these obstacles. At Ameridial, we listen to our customers and our employees to develop well-thought-out improvement plans.
- Implementing changes is the most powerful part of the process. Lean principles suggest focusing on small, sustainable and low-cost changes because they tend to deliver the largest ongoing returns.
- Reviewing your performance and reassessing your objectives is equally important because continuous improvement is an iterative process. Kaizen methodologies recognize that sustained efforts are essential for long-term success, which is why to sustain is the fifth S.
The best thing about improvement is that there’s no limit to the possibilities. The process continues indefinitely as your organization finds new ways to provide increased value and quality at a faster pace. By working with a provider that understands the tenets of continuous improvement, your customers can enjoy shorter hold times, and your company can benefit from happier customers and bigger profits. To see if an inbound or outbound provider is right for your business, call us today. We’ll be happy to discuss your company’s goals or provide a customized quote.