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Making Good Outsourcing Decisions.

Rhonda Rohtstein's picture
Head of Managed Services Quantanite

Rhonda Rohtstein is a contact center /BPO professional with 20 years of consultative outsourcing experience. Currently at Quantanite, as Head of Managed Services, a leading provider of data...

  • Member since 2019
  • 2 items added with 356 views
  • May 13, 2020

There are many factors that go into deciding if you should outsource your customer service and/or back office functions, keep them in-house, or employ a blend. What are some of the main bullet points to consider.

  • Space: Do you have the office space to house your representatives affordably or will your fixed costs suffer to make room for them?
  • Management: Do you want to hire and supervise the customer service and back office teams or would you rather someone else carry that burden?
  • Human Resources: Can you get the best talent at the best price in your area or are there other geographic areas that can save you money with the same quality of representative?
  • Technology: Do you want to purchase and manage the contact center, CRM technology and equipment needed or would you rather enjoy economies of scale and utilize products already in place?
  • Managing Spikes: Do you have significant spikes and increased workloads at different times of the year, or during certain events?
  • Quality: Can you match or supersede the quality a Contact Center and BPO can provide?
  • Experience: Do you have customer service experience or are you better off letting industry professionals navigate the service?
  • Back office backlogs: Legacy systems bogging down your team? Data entry, document review, CRM updates, billing and invoice management can be expensive, mundane and laborious for your employees and their skills are likely better utilized on more complex and urgent tasks.

Business Process Outsourcers and Call Centers can be a great place to delegate many of these functions.

Once you have a realistic view of the items listed above for your considerations you can decide what strategy is best for your utility company. In many cases having a small in-house core team for escalations and high-level inquiries can be productive. However; most often a contact center/BPO can save you money and deliver a much better customer experience along with greater competency in performance with minimum expenditure of time and effort. . Why is that? A few plusses to outsourcing:

If you are experiencing large spikes your customers will not be sitting on hold, causing frustration and lowering CSAT scores; a contact center can rapidly scale to meet the need. Back office overload can be scaled according to volume and moved through the workflow process efficiently.  And:

The management is educated on soft skills, training methodologies, technology, hiring needs, workforce scheduling, and more. This is their core competency so you can focus on your utility delivery.

Contact centers and BPOs can offer great economies of scale on technology, equipment, space, supervisors, and industry knowledge.

Many contact centers and BPOs, domestic and elsewhere, often are located in areas where there are intrinsic financial savings on real estate and rich talent pools of well-educated, highly competent, low cost representatives. And, today, most outsourcer technology offers full transparency. You can see reports, real-time dashboards and even listen in on live calls - or, hear recordings within seconds of calls wrapping up.

The best long-term advantage is to determine what price point you need to be at, the most strategic functions to outsource,  and your comfort level if you decide to go outside the country. Then, based on reputation, years in business and other relevant factors you can put together a request for a proposal, decide which providers you would like to have respond,  and then you can understand how each vendor might best meet your needs.  

You will likely be pleasantly surprised how outsourcing can free you up for focusing on other key business needs and keep your customers happy at a superior level – all while offering significant bottom line savings.

Rhonda Rohtstein's picture
Thank Rhonda for the Post!
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Paul Korzeniowski's picture
Paul Korzeniowski on May 19, 2020

Good points raised. With technology increasing in complexity and utilities being pressured to deliver services at lower prices, options, like outsourcing, are becoming more common. In many cases, they let energy companies offload mundane tasks and concentrate on their core business. 

Rhonda Rohtstein's picture
Rhonda Rohtstein on May 29, 2020

Thanks for the comment Paul, you are exactly right. 

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