Location is incredibly important because it will affect many other aspects of your decision. Some countries can offer cheap rates because wages are low; however, poor government infrastructure often accompanies low wages and that often negatively affects the quality of your call center's service.
Questions to answer: What is the exchange rate currently? Is the government infrastructure stable? What is the culture like? Have you ever been to that country? Is that area prone to natural disasters? Is that country's economy improving?
Finding a call center that employs people with accents that are easy for your customers to understand is incredibly important for two reasons: 1. Customer Service - You want the transition from in-house to call center to be as seamless and undetectable to your customers as possible. 2. Brand Preservation - Utilizing a call center with minimal or undetectable accents allows you to streamline your business without harming your established brand image.
Questions to answer: Ask to hear voice samples. Speak with their employees via a Skype video conference. Can you detect any type of accent? Is accent important to you? Are their employees easy to understand?
3. Redundancy & Disaster Planning
Every call center should have comprehensive redundancy and disaster plans. Companies like American Express have extremely thorough audits that determine whether a call center has adequate planning for emergencies. If they can pass an audit from American Express, they are ready to provide uninterrupted service to your company in any emergency situation.
Questions to answer: Do they have a backup generator for power failures? How do their employees get to work? Are there frequent internet outages in their location? Do they provide meals and transportation to their employees during storms? What happens when an employee is sick? Who fills in for absent employees?
It is imperative that the call center you choose is both physically secure and technologically secure. Utilizing a call center should never jeopardize any of your proprietary data. Moreover, the center you use should have security guards on duty at all times to reduce the need for implementing your redundancy and disaster plans. Extensive security measures are incredibly important to your business and your peace of mind.
Questions to answer: Does their call center have 24/7 security guards? Are the call center's employees safe in and around the center? What technical measures does the call center utilize to protect your data? Is the call center willing to sign an NDA?
It is extremely important that you examine the technology capabilities of a call center before working with them. Because of SaaS companies like ZenDesk, it is no longer necessary that the call center has the physical technology in place, but it is important that the center you choose is capable of handling the technological needs of your company.
Questions to answer: Is this center capable of handling the type of outsourcing services you need? Do they have experience working with the software and technology you currently utilize? Are there technical consultants onsite to handle troubleshooting and coaching?
6. Their Portfolio of Clients
Before finalizing your decision, you should look at the roster of companies the call center works with. Doing so will help you identify if they're a good fit for your business. If they work with mostly large-scale corporate companies and you're a newly funded startup, that particular option is likely not a good fit. Examining the call center's clients can help you get a better understanding of what their offerings are and what companies they best suit.
Questions to answer: Who are their top clients? How large are their clients? Is your business similar to their other clients? Do they work with any of your competitors? Would you be one of their largest or smallest clients?