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Grow Your Business Technology

Outsourcing Your Call Center Services Overseas? 5 Things to Consider

Outsourcing Your Call Center Services Overseas? 5 Things to Consider
Credit: Aaron Amat/Shutterstock

Need a call center service to handle your customer inquiries? While some businesses have the resources to support an in-house call center or hand it off to a U.S.-based call-center provider, an offshore contact center is generally a more cost-effective option.

Keep in mind, however, that organizations considering outsourcing their call center overseas will be faced with several obstacles that come with doing business in foreign countries. If a company is not prepared to deal with these challenges, moving a call center overseas may actually result in higher costs than anticipated.

Bryce Maddock, CEO of TaskUs, a California-based outsourced customer support provider with four offices in the Philippines, warned that cost is not the only factor businesses need to consider. Maddock — whose clients include Tinder, Eventbrite and Hootsuite — said that businesses also need to make sure the provider they choose won't compromise their brand and, most important, the customer experience.

"The most common mistake companies make when choosing a call center is focusing exclusively on price," Maddock said. "Service, reliability and cultural fit should never be discounted. Choose the call center that fits your brand and company culture, not just your price point."

To help businesses navigate the waters of overseas call centers, Maddock advised considering the following factors when choosing an offshore provider. [See Related Story: How to Choose a Customer Service Call Center for Your Business]

Location is incredibly important because it will affect many other aspects of your decision. Some countries can offer extremely cheap rates because wages are low. However, poor government infrastructure often accompanies low wages, and that could affect your call center's quality of service in the long term. Other things to consider include the exchange rate, economy, culture and environmental issues (e.g., whether the country is prone to natural disasters).

Editor's note: If you're looking for information to help you choose the call center that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site BuyerZone provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free.

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Although many global call centers employ workers who speak English well, you'll want to ensure that your customers can easily understand the telephone operators. For example, people in the Philippines speak a westernized English that Americans also speak, whereas India uses a colonized English, which is closer to what's spoken in the United Kingdom. So, it's important to select a provider that best supports your customers' native language and dialect. If you provide support in Spanish, you'll want to also consider whether your customers are from Mexico, South America or Spain to help you make the best call center selection. It is recommended that you make a few test calls to get a better idea of what your customers might experience.

Call centers vary greatly in specialization. For example, a call center that specializes in providing technical support is typically not a great fit for an online shoe retailer. Call centers invest heavily in providing industry-specific training. Ask to see relevant case studies that demonstrate their proficiency in your industry and determine how they have positioned their call center to become industry experts. Go with the call center that specializes in businesses like yours.

It is imperative that the call center you choose is both physically and technologically secure. Utilizing a call center should never jeopardize any of your proprietary data. To reduce the need to implement your redundancy and disaster plans, the center you use should have security guards on-duty 24/7, provide a safe workplace for employees and have the technical measures to protect your data. You should also ask if the call center is willing to sign a nondisclosure agreement. Extensive security measures are incredibly important to your business and your peace of mind.

Before wrapping up your decision, you should look at the roster of companies the call center works with. Doing so will help you identify if the call center is a good fit for your business. If the call center works with mostly large-scale corporate companies and you're a newly funded startup, that particular provider is likely not a good fit. Examining the call center's clients can help you get a better understanding of what its offerings are and what companies it best suits. Ask providers who their top clients are, if they work with any of your competitors and if you'll be one of their largest or smallest clients.

Not sure where to start looking for call center providers? Check out Business News Daily's best picks page here.

Editor's note: If you're looking for information to help you choose the call center that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site BuyerZone provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free.

buyerzone widget

Additional reporting by Sara Angeles.

Pamela S. Stevens

Pamela has one personal business motto: "If I ever lose money, I quit." And that has not happened yet through the past 20 years and five small businesses. Pamela is a California transplant who now resides in Ogden, Utah, where Business News Daily's parent company, Purch, is headquartered. She started with Purch in 2005 as one of the first writers for Top Ten Reviews (TTR), where she reviewed all types of products including business, security and financial software and services. Now she writes and develops content for all Purch B2B properties, covering a broad range of small business and IT topics. Her formal education includes a degree in Creative Writing and Geography, with a special interest in smart planning and urban development.