There are many ways to field inbound and outbound communications from your customers. Regardless of which option you choose, the ultimate goal is always to provide great customer service to your inbound constituents, and to foster relationships and spread information in the case of your outbound efforts. Two of the most popular options for handling these services are choosing to host your own call center software or outsourcing it to another company. Here’s a quick rundown of the major differences between both options.
The pros and cons of call center software
One of the biggest benefits of using hosted call center software is the power and flexibility it offers you and your business. When utilizing call center software, you have control over a powerful suite of features, including integration with a variety of CRM platforms and call transcription. Many options for call center software are also able to be controlled fully from the user interface in a web browser, making it simple for your employees to learn, regardless of whether or not the calls are being taken with a softphone or WebRTC. The omnichannel features afforded to you through call center are also unparalleled, as you can field customer interactions through — and switch between — a variety of mediums, including web chat, text message, phone, and video.
The biggest hurdle that businesses might consider about call center software is that hosting it yourself does present a few extra challenges from a staffing perspective. Depending on the hours worked, you will incur additional employee costs such as health insurance fees, just like any other employees at your business. You’ll also need to spend time training your call agents, and you’ll need to hire managers to oversee all of their work. Some call center software developers are able to provide IT maintenance and support; however, some businesses still hire someone on to monitor their IT, too. Despite some business owners viewing this is a negative, the simple fact that you have so much more control and oversight over your customer support is a major boon for most companies. After all, a negative customer service experience can lead to a decrease in customer satisfaction as well as income, and it can be incredibly frustrating if you don’t have a full understanding of why you’re losing customers when you’re using a BPO company.
The pros and cons of Business Process Outsourcing
As the acronym suggests, a BPO company outsources your business’ support to another company that specifically fields your inbound or outbound calls for you. Since a third-party service provider is handling an aspect of your business, a major benefit of using a BPO is that your staff can use their time efficiently on other tasks. This could save you money, but that partially depends on which BPO services you’re choosing and how you increase income in other areas by allocating your staff’s time to non-customer service tasks.
While using a BPO doesn’t require you to manage your customer service staff as closely, there is definitely a sacrifice in terms of how much customization you can get from a BPO, since they perform services for a range of clients and not just your company. Using a third-party service may make sense for your company when it comes to payroll or accounting; however, for many businesses, it is important to be able to have a bigger say over the sorts of customer service interactions your company has. This is definitely something your business must weigh when choosing between a BPO company or hosting your call center operations internally. Using a BPO is also riskier from a cybersecurity perspective, as your customer data is being shared with a third-party provider. Additionally, you may underestimate the cost of these kinds of service and become over reliant on the provider, which could set yourself up for a catch-22 if you ever feel like you need to move on.
An “out of sight; out of mind” philosophy may work for some businesses, but for others, it is important to be able to have a more tangible approach to customer service. If you are willing to be a bit more risky in your customer service strategy, a BPO will help you get the job done. However, for companies that really look to provide exceptional and consistent customer service, it’s hard to make a strong case against using self-hosted call center software.