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!

Managing Associate and Supervisor Confrontation in a Call Center

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Confrontation in the work place is going to happen. How we manage it is a trained skill that all managers must have. Since I have run call centers for most of my life this is the example that I will use. These are some of the tactics that we cover in our management trainee program at my company Expivia Interaction Marketing. These can be very easily transferred to any manager who leads a team.

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

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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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Good Morning!!! Why You Need to Control the First 30 Minutes in Your Call Center Every Day!

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We teach all our middle management that the first 30 minutes of an associates day must be totally controlled by the supervisor.  We believe it is one of the most important tips that we can give any call center manager. If you know what to do during this time and your supervisors are trained in this aspect it will allow every day get off to a great start and solve many problems before they even have a chance to start!

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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

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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!

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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!

In-house or Outsource, What to do?

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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.

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To Go Multi-Channel or Not

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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:

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