Why Startups Need to Look at US Boutique Call Centers

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Why Startups Need to Look at US Boutique Call Centers

So many huge call centers dominate the landscape. Thousand seat centers with locations that span the globe. When startup companies think of a call center or call center outsourcing, for many, these large companies are the first to come to mind. For many larger clients they do serve a great service. They offer high volume service and sales to major companies that need hundreds or even thousands to seats filled that they could never do in-house without incurring massive expense and management. I will say though, for startups there are other more relevant options.

Imagine a high end call center with all American associates, best in class client services and lower costs and more flexibility that utilize the newest in Omni channel communication channels and cater to companies that have the need to outsource 5-50 seats. These are your US Boutique Contact Centers.

I have operated in both environments and love the hands on attitude, quality and flexibility of the smaller center especially for youthful growing organizations that are looking to outsource for the first time. The ability to grow with smaller outsourcing clients and really have an impact on their customers and their bottom line is something that really drives the operators of smaller high quality centers and provides a great service to startup companies.

Some of the great qualities of a Flexible US Call Center partner:

1.Quality- When you go offshore or a large call center agrees to take a smaller program are you comfortable with your program being in a room with hundreds if not thousands of other seats that are catering to many other clients? When you are the small fish in the pond, the time and care for your program gets treated as such.

If you place that same 10-50 seat program in a 150-300 seat center the level of quality and care rises as the importance of your program to the outsourcer rises. I really believe that you should only outsource to a Contact Center where your program will take up at least of 3-5% of their seats. You know they are going to really work day in and day out for your business. When you are only .00001% of a large centers business do you really think they are maximizing your program….human and business nature tells a different story.

You get to focus on your core business while a professional US call center handles your sales and customer needs.

2. Pricing- This is one of the largest differences and most misunderstood pieces of outsourcing. For the most part (and speaking from my experience) smaller call centers are more entrepreneurial just like a startup. Their setup costs are less stringent. Their cost per hour or by the minute for the most part as well is very negotiable. They do not have the high overhead of other departments to have to bill to. I know at my center we can undercut all the big boys because of how lean we are, most of the smaller US centers think the same.When you are a smaller client you are at the will of the larger call center. They will charge you for everything because they can. You will pay setup fees, IT fees, and fees to setup reporting fees for scripting. The larger call center’s per hour or per minute rate will be set for you. Don’t even ask about changing a report or a script or god forbid the screen after the initial setup…you will be charged.

3. Client Service- This in my opinion is the biggest difference between the large and smaller centers. Many of the larger call centers have you call the operations person on the floor to have a production problem taken care of. They make you put in a trouble ticket for an IT change or call “creative” to have a scripting change done. I personally think that shows a lack of caring and empathy for a client. If the call center can’t show that to you, how are you to trust them with your customers!?

Most of the smaller call centers give you access to 24/7 client support with one person who understands your program inside and out. When you have a problem you get one point of contact for all you issues. You cannot put a price on that kind of peace of mind.

4. Partnership- Smaller call centers lend themselves to really partner with a client, something that cannot be undersold when dealing with startup partners. Try telling a large center you want to AB test a new product with just a couple associates next week. That would never happen and if it did would come with exorbitant costs. With a smaller center not only would it happen, they would bend over backwards to make its success.  these centers cater to the needs of a startup.

Smaller centers don’t just “work” a program and go home. They monitor, find improvements, scour reports to make every program a client brings a success. You get so much more then human making or answering calls.  I personally never stop thinking about my clients and their programs.

There are so many reasons why outsourcing to the right partner makes sense for your startup. There are call centers out there that cater to all companies no matter the size or budget. Do not think that the big boys are the only game in town.  Rethink how outsourcing is done, your customers will appreciate it!

Thomas Laird is a customer service and contact center consultant and operations professional with over 25 year of experience. Thomas is currently the CEO of Expivia Interaction Marketing Group, Inc.  and usacallcenter.net A 100% onshore multichannel contact center and lead writer for the Contact Center Muse Blog.

For More information on how we at Expivia Interaction Marketing Group May be able to help your startup, please fill out the form below for more details!

Think You are too Small to Outsource Your Customer Service or Sales…Think again!

www.usacallcenter.net

So you started your in-house call center with a couple of office workers sitting the back with a phone.  It now has grown to the point where you are not servicing customers and your customer service department is inefficient, expensive and not providing the quality that your product or service demands.  Plus you are tired of handling call-offs and turnover. What do you do?

You have looked into outsourcing but every consultant or call center has told you that no one will take anything less than 25 seats and the setup and cost structure is outrageous. All you are looking for is to outsource 10 maybe 12 seats…I have heard this story time and time again.  The alternative is here.

usacallcenter.net at Expivia is a contact center whose niche is high quality USA customer service support and sales that excels in the “small program” that the mega centers won’t even consider.  Located in Erie, Pennsylvania, we have built our business of servicing programs that are less than 50 seat and most of them are less than 10.  We have the processes for quality and pricing in place to make outsourcing your program an easy adjustment.

In our 30 years’ experience in the outsourcing business we have seen more and more how smaller type programs had gotten the squeeze and are very difficult to place. Mega call centers have Mega budgets and overhead that makes taking projects under 40 seats not a profitable venture for them.  Sad thing is these companies looking for help with 5, 10 or 20 seats are the companies that may really need the service yet not one will help.  We have shifted our business model to help these organizations.

At Expivia you will get all the technology and processes that the “big boys” have (inbound, outbound, chat, email, video) with the quality of American associates.  Expivia has partners as well in the near-shore and offshore markets so we can help you even if you are looking for a hybrid model.  Companies are using our American agents for voice buffered with an offshore partner for chat and email making is a truly cost effective process.  We at Expivia would run your program so you would have one point of contact for all your call center needs no matter what type of model you are looking to utilize.

We have or are working with some of the largest brands in the USA, startups, retailers and small businesses.  We do not discriminate.  We take the burden away from you running your customer service, inbound/outbound sales programs.  Let us handle your customers while you handle your core business.  It’s time to give your customers a world class service and sales experience, let us help. No program or company is “small” at Expivia.

For more information:

Thomas Laird is a customer service and contact center consultant and operations professional with over 25 year of experience. Thomas is currently the CEO of Expivia Interaction Marketing Group, Inc.  and usacallcenter.net A 100% onshore multichannel contact center and lead writer for the Contact Center Muse Blog.

 

 

The “TONE” is the Message…Enhancing the Quality of Customer Service

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Most companies put all their education (Notice I sad Education…When we worked for MBNA before the BOA merger they always said you TRAIN animals and EDUCATED people…that always stuck with me) in how to run a specific program, skill or channel. What to look for, what screen do you have to be on, who button do you have to click. They do NOT do a great job in facilitating tone and delight in their calls. Most companies want to educate as fast as they can so they can have reps producing as quickly as possible even to the detriment to their client or customer. Remember you need to understand in the age of social media your customers will talk to others. We want them to be evangelists for our brand. We need to understand that as we train.

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The 5 Absolutes for an Amazing Call Center and Customer Service Culture

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You learn some things after running contact centers for 20+ years. The following are 5 tips or to take that a step further, absolutes on changing or creating a great contact center culture in your customer service center.

“You can’t expect your employees to exceed the expectations of your customers if you don’t exceed the employees’ expectations of management.” -Howard Shultz CEO Starbucks

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Ongoing Agent Analysis- The Most Effective Way to Improve Quality in Your Call Center

quality

Do all your contact center/customer service agents have a current, up to date improvement plan? Do they understand their goals for quality, sales, conversion or net promotion? There are a lot of centers that just do a quick morning meeting and then get on with their day. If that is the basis for your reps improvement/goal setting then let’s look at something very easy to do that I think can benefit all centers.

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What Customer Service Metrics Really Stand Out and Actually Benefit Customers?

call center metrics

Lets actually take some time and talk about customer service and call center metrics. I do not think that you should base a world-class customer experience on metrics that companies seem to be constantly changing to try to “fix” service issues. These metrics are also constantly being argued over to which one is of the most “importance”. Not a great way to define service.

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Leadership Training for Call Center Supervision

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You can’t expect your employees to exceed the expectations of your customers if you don’t exceed the employees’ expectations of management.” -Howard Shultz CEO Starbucks

How do you educate the supervision in your customer service center? Do you have a training plan at all or do you just take long tenured associates and make them supervisors/team leads when a supervisor leaves? If you hire a supervisor off the street what training do you give them?

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Case Study- How Expivia Helped a Credit Union Overhaul Their Customer Experience

case study

Expivia was recently asked to help a regional Credit Union that was looking to enhance their customer experience, raise their quality and net promoter scores while at the same time turning their customer service center operations into a profit center. The following is a quick break down of how the overhaul of their customer experience took place. Continue reading

Call Center Technology is NOT Customer Service!

customer service

Multi-Channel, Omni-channel, VOIP, Cloud Based Telephony, Speech recognition, Apps for Self-Service, Chat software…all things we are told we need to have a world class customer experience. Buy these and INSTANTLY you will raise your customer sat scores, key KPI’s and net promoter scoring. MAGIC!

What people forget is that these are tools. They are the facilitators to service not of service. The call center technology of today is amazing, but it only works when you understand the priorities of what customers want.

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#askExpivia for Any Questions or Topics You Would Like Addressed on the Muse!

I have had a lot of people ask us for specific topics or questions to be answered that come from LinkedIn, Facebook or right to my email.  Let me say I LOVE THOSE questions!!!  Keep them coming.  I wanted to give an option on Twitter as well…

For the next 10 Days if you have any Call Center, Customer Service, Education, Call Center Leadership, Turnover questions or thoughts or anything Customer Service or Call Center…post them to #askExpivia  I will take most if not all of the requests and either me or my team will reply directly to you and on the blog.

Go ahead #askExpivia away!