BPA Featured Article

Improving Quality in Offshore Call Center Outsourcing with Third-party Monitoring

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
December 14, 2012

While the reports in the industry press about the demise of offshore call center outsourcing are plentiful, most industry insiders and analyst agree the issue is overblown. Yes, there have been some notable returns to U.S. shores of formerly offshored call center business. But offshore outsourcing is here to stay, even if the locations change from decade to decade. (See InformationWeek’s recent article, “Five Reasons Outsourcing Is Here to Stay.”)

There are a number of reasons for this. Offshore outsourcing can simply save companies money. While they may not have the expertise to perform the work in-house themselves, they may not have the budget for a U.S.-based BPO operation. Other companies choose to distribute contact centers all over the world so they can maintain a 24-7 customer service preferences (and doing that with U.S. BPO companies would involve running second- and third-shift workers, which gets expensive).

It’s true that many companies have experienced problems with offshore outsourcing: in many cases, the quality simply hasn’t been there, which has damaged customer relationships. Many Americans dislike the language and cultural barriers between themselves and foreign agents.

For companies that still intend to pursue the offshore outsourcing model but want to maintain high customer satisfaction and loyalty levels, the choice is clear: ensure your offshore call center work is of the highest possible quality. While this was a tricky prospect a few decades ago, when you weren’t sure what was going on in the foreign facility unless you physically traveled there, technology has made quality monitoring of offshore operations much easier. But while the technology is there, many call centers find it difficult to find the time to even listen to calls that have previously been recorded.

One of the most prominent tools to assist in maintaining control of foreign operations has been third-party call monitoring services.

“Ensuring consistent, high levels of service doesn’t have to make managements’ heads spin. In fact, with third-party remote call monitoring, it’s more like cruising on auto-pilot,” wrote TMCnet’s Susan Campbell in a recent article.

Third-party call monitoring services listen to calls for you, but they do more than that. They can score calls by an experienced team of researchers and provide the client with results in near real-time over the Internet. They can ensure that calls made or taken by foreign agents live up to the company’s pre-set quality standards, and they can identify problems quickly before they have a chance to spiral out of control, potentially damaging customer relationships. They can identify places where more extensive training is required, and quickly spot incidences of agents being out of compliance with either client standards or legal requirements.

In essence, third-party call monitoring can allow companies to reap all the benefits of offshore call center outsourcing and at the same time dodge the pitfalls.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman