At some point, most organizations wonder: Should we operate our own internal contact center or should we outsource? Which is the best for our bottom line, best for our customers, and best for the morale and culture of our organization? Here are some of the questions our clients ask us:
Which is more expensive to start up?
While outsource contact centers face the same startup investments that you would (all of which they pass along to you), hiring an outsourcer allows you to defer an upfront investment in favor of a monthly expense. The outsourcers control capital expenses and labor costs. If they are efficient, they might actually save you money. If they are inefficient (or greedy), they will certainly cost you money. If an outsourcer operates out of a fancy facility, it may make for a great brochure, but you can be sure that clients like you will ultimately pay for their image. Bottom line: If you do outsource, you need to carefully choose the provider.
Building your own physical contact center can be expensive in the short term (with labor, facilities, furniture, hardware and software) but can have some great long-term financial benefits. If you plan on operating your facility for ten years or longer, it could be a good investment. The depreciation looks good on your P&L, plus there may be some government incentives. The main considerations are: how much capacity do you need, and what financial benefits will you gain.
Is there such a thing as a cost-free contact center? Almost. In many cases, the least-expensive alternative is a “distributed” or “virtual” contact center. You may already have a PBX system that supports inter-office call routing. If not, there are inexpensive, hosted services that can deliver calls to your own, select employees, even if they are located in different offices or different cities. If you already use a service like CallSource for your call tracking and recording, the virtual contact center may, indeed, be free, in the sense that you can create one without hiring additional employees or acquiring additional workspace, computer or telephone systems.
Which is more expensive to operate?
Here, we are really talking about labor costs, which include more than just hourly wages and productivity incentives. It also includes taxes, health benefits, retirement plans, paid time off, and costs associated with each employee. And there are other indirect costs like human resource managers, trainers, supervisors, and the stress of bringing a new group into your culture.
Outsourcers face the same costs you do. Again, they will pass those costs on to you, plus charge a premium so that they can make a profit.
You might expect that utilizing an outsource team would be less expensive than creating and maintaining your own contact center team. But, when you also consider results, it may not be true. No-one, not even a great outsource contact center, cares as much about your business as you do. With great quality assurance, and consistent and ongoing training, your in-house reps can actually outperform almost any outsourced rep. Your own people bring consistency, loyalty, and caring that can make a difference on each and every call.
As we have discussed, utilizing your own employees in a “virtual” contact center may be virtually cost free. You direct all incoming contacts to people you already employ, specifically, those who are your most effective appointment setters. While responding to customer contacts is their number one priority, when they are not busy setting appointments, they can perform other duties for you. All they need is excellent training, proper incentive, and ongoing performance review. Your existing PBX or call routing service won’t add any new expenses, either.
About Call Center Today
Want to talk to Dan Coen about boosting your inside sales numbers and remaking your call center? To contact Dan about speaking, workshops, training and consulting: DCoen@CallCenterToday.com or 888-835-5326 x111. Follow us on twitter at www.twitter.com/callcentertoday
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