Why Startups Need to Look at US Boutique Call Centers


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!


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.



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.

Continue reading

In-house or Outsource, What to do?

in out

Post 5: In or out?

Keeping call center operations in-house or outsourcing call center operations and customer service is a topic that many organizations struggle with.  While you are giving up control of your customer experience to a 3rd party,  the perception that in-house facilities are ALWAYS better is in my opinion, false.  Just like post 3 in this series on “Self-Service”…if you are looking to outsource strictly to save money then you are doing it for the wrong reasons.  Yes that is an ancillary benefit but one that will bite you in the long run if you choose the wrong partner.

Continue reading

The Self-Service Conundrum


Self-service is a volatile topic in customer service circles. Everyone believes there is a place for it but that’s where people’s agreement stops. The implementation and use of self-service is what I would like to discuss in the third post in our seven post customer service series.

How a company implements Self-Service is a direct correlation to how they view their customers. There is no better measuring tool to see how a brand measures the importance of their customers from service model.

Continue reading

How Video will Revolutionize Your Customer Experience

future of customer service

Post three of our 7 post Customer Service topics takes us to the untapped world of how video can revolutionize  your call center.  Video for customer service and sales is not a channel for tomorrow.(Thank you Kindle Mayday Button!) In my mind it is an opportunity for companies to differentiate themselves to their customers, have a unique one on one experience and present a WOW factor.

Continue reading

To Go Multi-Channel or Not

customer serivce

I would like to spend some time over the next week or so discussing some of the topics that I believe are at the fore front of customer service professionals.  I would love to be able to get a discussion going on these topics.  Over the next week I would like to try to give my opinion and start a discussion on the following:

  • Should Organization Embrace a Multi-Channel Philosophy or Stick with Channels They are “Good” At?
  • Should/How We Implement Social Media
  • How/Should Video Come Into Play in a Service Model
  • What Service Metrics are Important
  • Should We Outsource or Grow Our In-house Facility
  • To go to the Cloud or Stay on Land
  • Properly Handling Self-Service

If there are other topics that you would like to tackle shoot me an email and I will add them to the list.

With the first installment lets talk about if companies should multi-channel or stay in certain more time-tested channels:

Continue reading

10 Customer Service Stats and What They Mean for Your Contact Center

customer service


This article was taken from the www.desk.com blog and written by Tim Pickard.  I thought it was so well done and interesting that I wanted my readers to check it out.

Businesses can pour money into elaborate advertising campaigns, but bad customer service can undo all that hard work instantly.

Excellent customer service can be as good (and often better) for your brand than a well-orchestrated PR campaign: get your customers to do the talking for you! Great service also determines whether your existing customers shop with you again and whether your potential customers get beyond just that –potential.

There are plenty of statistics that can give you an insight into the power of good (or bad) customer service. Here are ten facts and what they mean for your contact center.

Continue reading

Multi-Channel Customer Service is The Only Option for Today


Is your organization telling your customers how they are to interact with your company? Seems backwards doesn’t it? So many organizations make customers go through long drawn out IVRs, have no mobile strategy, Facebook pages with only company updates (thinking that’s a social media strategy). Worse of all though are organizations that hide their phone number on their website to try to force non-voice options because it’s cheaper (so they think)! I don’t understand this; your customers should be telling you how they want to interact with your company. We should want to talk to our customers if they want to talk to us, why are we pushing them away or funneling them to one or two channels when that is not what they want?

Continue reading

The Customer Experience is the Next Competitive Battleground…How to Start Winning the Battle Today!


“The customer experience is the next competitive battleground.”

We are at a crossroads when it comes to how organizations are beginning to handle customer interactions and service. I will go so far as to say that the way we handle these interactions now (chat, email, texting and voice) will actually start to be the old way in about a year from now… that’s right I said a year. This scares a lot of companies as well whom have done customer service one way for decades. Companies that embrace these changes will thrive when it comes to customer interaction and engagement. With 2015 here let’s take a look at where your service and sales should be heading.

Continue reading