Friday, 16 September 2011


With so many risks and compliance commitments to employ staff, it's no wonder that outsourcing appeals to Australian business and government. For Gen Y people with an incredible 40%+ engaged in some kind of independent business activities aside from their day job, it must seem a way of life.

You specify what you want, you negotiate a price, and hire a contractor to take responsibility for a task or area. However, outsourcing contact centre services can be a bit different to engaging a marketing consultant or skilled trasdesperson.

When you engage a simple message or reception service with us at Well Done, depending on the service level, there may be a monthly fee plus rates for the calls we actually handle on your behalf. You're generally not tied to providing a set volume of calls beyond this commitment. We effectively supply you with support on a 'standby' basis, and it's our responsibility to ensure that sufficient trained staff are available to take your calls.

When you outsource in this way, you are generally outsourcing defined tasks with clear protocols to respond to a call or event. It needs to be straightforward enough for someone, with good systems and links to more information behind them, to answer in your organisation's name on the fly and follow your instructions without warning, at any time. In other words, while operators will be trained to handle your calls, they won't know when these calls will come next as opposed to the calls of other clients on the same skills-based queue. This is harder than just answering for one business and knowing it inside out, and we look for resilience, common sense and flair in the generalist staff that we employ to do this work.

Alternatively, when you engage dedicated staff within a contact centre to handle your service, this is usually contracted with a time line, known average call lengths and task schedules, and call or work volumes and incidences. You may also specify people with particular skill sets; for instance, at our International Customer Service Centre in Manila, we can recruit qualified sales people, accountants, web designers, IT or general Help Desk staff for your services. 

It's a bigger commitment on your part, but you can still outsource the management of these staff to us and secure service delivery at known rates. It will normally involve some specific training in your processes or CRM software, and because particular staff become familiar with your work. It's reasonable to expect much more detailed handling and facility in your systems.

Depending on volumes, complexity and your service requirements, we may supply a general supervisor for your service, or a dedicated Team Leader on the spot who can ensure KPI compliances and train and guide staff on the team. 

Whether you decide to outsource a simple service on 'standby' or contract a dedicated team, either way, you still have to manage your own business. You can outsource particular work, but you make the decisions that structure your business and ensure that everything is working well together.

Once you realise this and think it through, outsourcing can be a great way to closely review all the procedures in your business. It requires and offers more discipline and control because, fundamentally, you can't outcource what you can't define.

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