Popular contact center services to consider (and why you should outsource)

Contact center outsourcing

Call centers are still a great way to handle customer service. However, as different communication channels become increasingly popular, customers now look for easier ways to contact a business. They reach out through email, social media, or live chat about a product inquiry.

Some websites even use SMS to track updates and get customer feedback. All of these so they can have a great experience that they can get.

Outdated customer service can hurt a business badly, in terms of sales and customer satisfaction. According to a report from Oracle, 89% of customers leave a business due to a bad experience. And a single bad review can have a huge impact on any business.

What is a contact center

A contact center is a business division that manages customer interaction. Unlike a traditional call center, they are more flexible in handling concerns and inquiries aside from calls. They use different communication channels such as email, voice over internet phone (VoIP), live chat, etc. 

A contact center can be hired in three ways: in-house, virtual, or outsourced. An in-house contact center, aside from the usual call center equipment, need hosting infrastructures to access different communication platforms.

Virtual contact centers, meanwhile, are teams of remote workers that handle customer queries and are usually located in different locations. While this can bring great savings, managing them can be difficult.

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Outsourced contact centers are hired through business process outsourcing companies. The company covers everything needed to put up a dedicated team for their clients and takes care of the employees’ salaries, benefits, 13th month, and other bonuses.

What is a contact center
What is a contact center?

Popular contact center services

As different ways of communication increases, contact centers update its channels as well. They take advantage of the increasing demand for customer service to upgrade their systems to give their clients the best service possible.

Some of their popular services include call centers, emails, and chat. 

Call center

The call center is still one of the most popular services in a contact center. They handle inbound, outbound, or mixed services depending on client needs. When hiring a call center, businesses must predict the volume of calls they handle to determine the right service for them. 

Inbound 

Inbound services refer to handling incoming calls from customers. They usually deal with 

  • Customer inquiries and concerns
  • Technical support
  • Helpdesk 
  • Website navigation

Inbound call centers aim to attend to customer concerns as quickly as possible, whether it’s a simple inquiry or a product replacement. This service usually measures how quickly an agent answers a call, the number of minutes a customer is on hold, the total duration of their call, and how quickly the agent resolved an issue.

Outbound 

Outbound services, meanwhile, deals more with sales and marketing, lead generation, and billing. Their services include:

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  • Telemarketing
  • Appointment confirmation
  • Billing reminder
  • Customer survey
  • Market research

The main purpose of outbound services is to convert leads into potential sales opportunities, remind existing customers of billing and appointment dates, measure their satisfaction on the given service, and gather information for marketing plans and strategies.

Email 

Next to calls, email is the most used communication service by customers. There are cases that it can be difficult for them to reach a company with phone calls, especially when they’re overseas. With this, they resort to email for a more formal and paper trailed approach. Unlike call or live chat, email support usually takes up to a few days to be responded to. 

Email communications can also be inbound, outbound, or both. Inbound is for inquiries, concerns, troubleshooting, and feedback. Outbound service, meanwhile, is for sending of newsletters, promo updates, billing, due date reminders, appointment confirmation, and customer satisfaction surveys. 

Chat 

Contact centers are the ones that handle live chat. Websites nowadays have built-in chat support to attend to customers who are currently navigating it. They manage chatbots for concerns that may or may not require pulling up customer information

A live agent, meanwhile, attends to most inquiries and concerns beyond the capability of a chatbot. This involves updating customer data, account activation and deactivation, and other technical concerns.

Social media

Nowadays, most customers are found on social media. This is why new and emerging small businesses bank on these platforms to reach a larger audience and improve customer experience.

With its popularity, contact centers use the platform to interact with customers. Its private messaging features allow customers to ask about delivery tracking and repair status, device troubleshooting, and inquiries on their accounts. Live web and social media chats are considered the easiest way to instantly contact a business. 

Pros and cons of a contact center

Outsourcing a contact center has a lot of benefits compared to hiring an in-house team. Though it has its disadvantages as well, businesses come up with strategies to avoid these pitfalls.

Pros 

  • Omnichannel or multichannel advantage. A contact center uses different channels aside from traditional calls. This gives advantages to businesses that want to upgrade their customer support and open more ways for customers to reach out to them.
  • More traffic balance. Especially during peak seasons, contact centers can balance the traffic more in case of increased traffic in different channels. No need to hire seasonal employees to keep up with the volume and traffic changes when needed.
  • Save on costs. Outsourcing contact centers help businesses cut on labor and equipment costs. Third-party companies already include these expenses in their offers.
  • 24/7 service. Offshore contact centers offer 24/7 services to their clients. With this, they can guarantee business continuity even after office hours.
  • More focus on core duties. There’s no need to worry about handling customer service themselves. Outsourcing enables them to delegate these tasks to their team while they focus on the core management and strategies on business growth.

Cons 

  • Risks on security. Contact centers are the front liners in customer interaction. With this, they might be exposed to sensitive data such as customer records and business information while doing a transaction.
  • Lack of complete control. When a business outsources their contact center, they give the outsourcing company majority of control of the operation. With the wrong company, they might sacrifice the quality of service they give to their customers.
  • Slight off-branding and company disconnection. Outsourced contact centers may have a little knowledge of the branding and culture of the business they’re representing. With this, customers may experience culture shock with the service of the contact center. 
  • Language barriers. Offshore teams may have a different accent which the customers won’t understand. This can bring confusion and misunderstanding about resolving an issue from a customer.
Popular contact center services
Popular contact center services

Contact center outsourcing

Instead of hiring in-house, you can outsource locally or internationally instead. Outsourcing your contact center can ease your burden of additional resources and legal requirements needed for your new employees. Offshore companies can also help you cut labor costs by 70% while getting the best quality for your customers.

Best countries to outsource your contact center

Tholons has listed the top countries to outsource business processes, including the contact center. They base their rankings into different criteria such as English proficiency, equipment used, and the population of the workforce. The two Asian countries, India and the Philippines are the current top outsourcing destinations in the world.

Below are the best countries you can choose to outsource your contact center:

  • India. It is still the leading country in the world when it comes to the outsourcing of call center and tech support services, which most outsourcing companies here offer. The country boasts its cheap labor cost, top-of-the-line equipment, high-quality service, and 24/7 support to its clients.
  • The Philippines. Leading next to India, the country highlights its strong English proficiency, hospitality, and westernized culture that makes it more compatible with countries in the West. The Philippines ranks 5th in all Southeast Asian countries with the most holidays in a year (21 Philippine holidays). 
  • Poland. A humble country in Eastern Europe, Poland gains popularity as the top country to outsource IT and IT-related services to their customers. Most of their security services have guaranteed EU compliance, one of the reasons Western countries outsource their cybersecurity services to them.
  • Brazil. The amended outsourcing law of 2017 made it easier for Brazilians to work on primary services, such as office work. The country has become increasingly popular when it comes to tech support and IT-related services. 
  • Ukraine. Last but not least, Ukraine is becoming popular when it comes to outsourcing IT services. The country boasts its cheap costs and the increasing rise of professionals enough to cater to outsourcing duties.

Contact center services FAQ

What does a contact center do?

A contact center manages customer interactions through an omnichannel approach. It usually involves a lot of call centers and other customer contact services centralised through a single CRM system. They aim to provide efficient customer service, sales assistance, and technical support in the most accessible way. 

The concept of a contact center arises due to the demand for availability to an increasing number of channels other than calls. BPO companies provide this along with a 24/7 service, the flexibility to reach a wider range of customers, and improvement of offerings according to customer’s behavior and needs. This also works as well in marketing and sales, since most customers use social media for interactions. 

What is the difference between call center and contact center?

Call centers and contact centers have the same purpose of serving customers for their concerns. However, call centers only service customers through inbound and outbound calls. Contact centers, meanwhile, use chats, instant messaging, and social media to reach out to their clients and help them with their concerns.

The two also have distinctions when it comes to operational costs and processes. Contact center KPIs have a wider range of measurement since they also track engagement with customers, responses and non-responses, volume of messages received, and number of customers repeatedly using a specific channel. Having a contact center also decreases telecom costs while maintaining customer satisfaction.

What are the different types of contact centers?

Contact centers are classified according to the channel they specialise to. This includes social media, chatbots, email, and SMS messaging. They also have different types such as inbound, outbound, cloud, multichannel, and omnichannel.

Inbound contact centers deal with incoming customer interactions such as resolving issues and navigation assistance. Outbound services, meanwhile, utilise a lot of platforms especially for lead generation, billing reminders, updates, and delivery status. 

Depending on a client’s needs, contact centers can also use select platforms (multichannel) or all channels (omnichannel) for both inbound and outbound services. Multichannel approach only uses two or three platforms, mostly voice calls and non-voice communications.

How to find contact centers?

Finding a contact center for your business is similar to hiring a call center or an agency for your projects. You need to define your objectives and KPIs, your target customers, tasks to delegate, and the processes for your staff.

A lot of these companies are available in India, the Philippines, and Eastern Europe, assuring you a low cost, 24/7 service. However, a single website can only guarantee you basic information about them. You should also research your preferred company through review sites, check their customer and employee reviews, compare their costs to other contact centers, and if they charge extra fees.

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