How to Ease the Pain of Scaling Your Contact Center
Business is booming? Great! There’s nothing we love more than a good growth story. Your revenue is skyrocketing, which usually means your customers are buying more and you’re gaining more customers. Of course, growth spurts often go hand-in-hand with growing pains. Have you also noticed more customers calling or messaging with questions and concerns? Higher call volumes leading to longer wait times for your customers and higher stress for your agents? Maybe it’s time to consider the benefits of outsourcing some or all of that customer care volume.
Let’s break down some of the factors to consider when scalability becomes a pressing issue.
At its most basic level, growing your in-house contact center means you’ll need more space. More specifically, you’ll need office space that keeps your agents engaged (we find natural lighting is key!) and workstations that optimize their productivity.
There are two big challenges to doing this all in-house. First, quite simply, there’s the expense. This is particularly true if you’re located in a major metro area where real estate prices are sky-high. There’s also the cost of upkeep, both to the facility itself and of your technical infrastructure, where regular upgrades will be necessary to keep your contact center ahead of the curve.
Secondly, if you experience peaks and valleys in your contact volume – especially on a seasonal basis – there’s the simple truth that much of your facility may be sitting vacant during those valleys. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that vacant space has a negative impact on ROI.
On the other hand, when you choose to outsource, the cost of the facilities and supporting infrastructure is built into the cost of the agent hour. Plus, the right outsourced partner will be an expert in scaling – both alongside your business growth and in accordance with your peaks and valleys. That means you’re no longer paying for empty office space, unused equipment, or underutilized agents.
Scaling your workforce to meet higher contact volumes puts strain on multiple functional areas – most especially your talent acquisition and training teams. If your requirement to scale is for seasonal peaks, your internal teams (and their budgets) are bearing the brunt of both onboarding and offboarding those seasonal employees.
Unsurprisingly, there’s also the sheer HR burden to support that workforce – payroll and paperwork, taxes and benefits administration, reviews and engagement strategies, and more.
This is yet another element your outsourcer takes off your shoulders – and is once again built into the cost of an agent hour. While your input is critical when hiring and training the initial team before launch, the long-term effort of managing your contact center workforce including attracting, recruiting, and onboarding new agents can officially be out of your hands.
Scaling up doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing to all businesses. Maybe it is seasonal peaks that are causing you the most pain. Or perhaps your growth trajectory took a steeper than predicted upward turn. Maybe you need to support new markets with a new customer demographic, hours of operation, or language requirements. An outsourcer with a world-class workforce management team and a deeply experienced operations team, can bring creativity and capabilities to the table that you may not have considered within the parameters of your own ecosystem.
For sustainable growth and associated increased customer contact volume, you can add capacity through your channel mix as well as through simply expanding your available workforce. For instance, if you’re not using chat – adding a chat channel will gain you an advantage immediately, one agent can handle multiple concurrent contacts. Add a chatbot that can handle your least complex transactions and you’ve got an exponential gain. The same can be said with social support – an effective social customer care strategy lets you not only provide resolutions one-to-one with your customers, but you can proactively reach hundreds, thousands, millions of customers at once – the way Netflix alerts customers to a system outage, for instance. With multiple channels or an omnichannel design, seamlessly being able to transition from channel to channel, from self-service to live agent service quickly, easily, painlessly is key.
Finally, when you’re in growth mode and it’s an all-out battle just to try to make service levels and hit those mission-critical KPIs, strategic initiatives and continual improvement can end up in the back seat. How are you staying on top of trends and preparing for the future of the contact center? How are you being innovative as the space and your business evolve?
These are questions that the right outsourcer should be asking every day – and reporting back to you on a regular basis. They should be a strategic partner who pursues a mutually beneficial relationship to optimize your program and always be asking how they can be a better partner.
Scalability is one of the primary reasons many of our clients considered outsourcing in the first place. We know that alleviating the cost and complications associated with growing your contact center operations is just a good starting point – from there, it’s up to us to add value as a strategic partner year after year.