If you’re a growing company, it’s likely that at some point you will consider the strategic decision to partner with a customer service outsourcer. This process often begins with some informal conversations and then the more formal call center RFP process. Whether you’ve already chosen your customer service outsourcing partner or are in the process of evaluating partners, it’s critical that you nail the implementation.
Understanding the realities around go-live dates, knowledge transfer, and agent recruiting will prepare you for a successful customer service outsourcing implementation.
1. The launch date isn’t really the launch date.
The first day of agent training is your real launch date. You need to be rock solid with the right people and processes. This includes having a well-trained trainer, effective training materials, established processes including call center quality monitoring, and call center technology for your first day of training.
The first 90 days of a new program will be as strong – or as weak – as the training of that first group of new agents. Build the key milestones of your implementation plan around training for the best outcome on the go-live date.
2. You don’t really know what you know.
Effective knowledge transfer between client and your outsourced contact center partner is going to be your primary mission whether you are moving from an in-house model to an outsourced program or moving from an incumbent vendor to a new partner. In either case, there are vital elements of your current program that are so engrained that they are easy to overlook. Examine every aspect of your existing program with fresh eyes.
A long-tenured agent will “just know” where to look for answers. Your tech team has a sixth sense about the idiosyncrasies of your CRM. Your recruiting coordinator has a knack for identifying the right kind of person for your program… You’re going to need to first identify all that innate knowledge and then make a plan for the effective transfer of that knowledge.
Establish the team-to-team relationships as soon as the contract has been awarded. Put your tech teams in each other’s pocket for a couple of weeks. Get your reporting teams working together. Budget for key people like HR directors, program managers, and trainers to spend time at both sites. It is one of the best investments you can make for a seamless transition.
3. Speed is not your friend.
Speed, in fact, is the enemy of a great program transition. But “how fast can we implement this program?” is one of the first questions that gets asked in the purchasing cycle. Our advice: do not compromise on the people process – this takes time.
Spend the upfront time to build an accurate agent profile. And make sure you give your new partner the time they need to recruit the right agents for that profile. Nothing is more important than making sure you understand the attributes of a successful agent (and the attributes of underperformers) then attracting and recruiting the candidates who are naturally-suited for the role. That is the ground floor for a productive, efficient, program that meets your goals for the service experience and supports your brand promise.
And finally, if you have to make haste, choose wisely where the hurrying should happen. Something has to give when you condense the timeline so make sure you aren’t going to end up compromising a key deliverable in the burn-in period for the sake of saving time.
Customer service outsourcing is like flying a plane – the risks are highest at the beginning of the journey and the end. You want seasoned experts at the controls of your implementation process. We’ve seen what works and what doesn’t over the past two decades we’ve been servicing some of the world’s best brands and their customers. If you’re in the RFP process or are looking into a customer service outsourcing program, we’re here to help. Request a callback here.