It’s time to relook at the Contact Centre Outsourcer relationship

As pressure to deliver a better Customer experience increases, more Organizations are relooking at their  Contact Centre Outsourcer relationship.

And their hands are often tied by ineffective, outdated outsourcing agreements signed years earlier.

The serious Client – can you help us look at our Contact Centre Outsourcer?

Over the past year we’ve had about 1 – 2 inquiries per month along the lines of –

“Hey Dan, can you help us relook at our Contact Centre Outsourcer contract or Outsourcer performance?”

Most came from Organizations who wanted to up the game of their Outsourcer.

But they found their hands tied by poorly designed outsourcing contracts.

It’s tough to be locked into an existing outsourcing contract that was designed and executed years earlier.  

And by colleagues who are long gone or in different roles.

Some of these folks told me that when they approached their Contact Centre Outsourcer to ask questions, the Outsourcer replied – That’s not in the contract.”

Oh dear.

These Contact Centre Outsourcers shouldn’t be surprised that when the contract is up, the Client finds a new provider.

Some Organizations don’t want to be in the Contact Centre business

A few of these inquiries came from organizations where the folks in charge of the outsourcing relationship don’t seem to be happy about it.

The common thread to their situation was that ‘handling the Contact Centre Outsourcer’ was just one of their overall job responsibilities.

And likely the one that caused the most headaches and for which they were the least equipped.

I’d worry if I worked somewhere where Contact Centre or Customer Experience was seen as so simple that it could just be one of my responsibilities.

That’s a big barrier to working effectively with the Contact Centre Outsourcer.

Sometimes the Outsource relationship looks to be an afterthought

Early this year, I was invited in to discuss a Contact Centre Outsourcer vendor evaluation for a major brand.

Their existing Outsourcer contract ran into the millions of dollars.

I had expected a senior level audience and prepared accordingly.

After arriving at the meeting place, I was greeted by 2 mid-level executives who were nominally in charge of the Outsourcer relationship.

Neither had any Contact Centre or Customer experience credentials nor did they want any.

They simply wanted a quick and dirty report card on the performance of their outsourcer – and they wanted it to be done fast and cheap.

The risk of not stepping up to the plate in an Outsourcer relationship

Aside from the obvious financial implications and the impact on Customer experience, there is an additional risk when organizations fail to step up to the plate and partner fully in their outsourcing relationships.

Customer care, Customer experience, Contact Centres & Service delivery – whatever you choose to call it – is a complex business discipline.

It’s a lot more than ‘being nice’ while on you’re on the phone.

It takes time and mastery to build up what I call your ‘Customer chops’. 

For some people it is a life-long calling.

By not stepping up to the plate, these folks on the Client side – by design or circumstance – fail to build up their Customer chops.

So when the time comes when someone finally says – “Hey, why are we getting so many complaints?” or

“Hey, does anybody understand our outsourcing contract?” or

“Hey, how are we doing with successful implementation of self-care/human-care strategies?” no one is going to have a robust answer.

And that’s going to be a problem.

Build your chops

One of the biggest decisions your organization will ever make is who will manage your Customer outsourcing and how it will be done.

And the only way to get this right is to take it seriously.

Learn the industry, build your chops, partner closely with your Outsourcer.

You might learn a thing or two.

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