The call centre: Could outsourcing be the answer?
Richard Woods asks if it’s your secret weapon on the rocky road to success
It’s a fact that new businesses have it harder than ever before. Not only is the economy in a precarious state, but the explosion of e-commerce means competition is fiercer than ever.
In order to survive, companies have to adapt. Products are becoming more and more targeted, websites whizzier, marketing strategies cleverer…But so too are the consumers and therein lies the challenge.
A recent report from Accenture suggested more than half of UK customers feel let down by customer services. So much so that a whopping 58% have taken their custom elsewhere. When you consider that nearly 90% of consumers still use the phone as their primary means of contact, the need for an effective call handling strategy suddenly becomes crucial.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how innovative or well-priced your product is; if you’re not answering the telephone you’re doomed to failure.
People want to talk to people. Hiring additional staff is an inevitable and vital step for any business owner in their quest for world domination. But it needs careful consideration. For example, a 9 to 5 receptionist would cost you in the region of £1,400 per month. And that’s before you’ve taken into account the recruitment and training costs, equipment hire, sick pay, holiday pay and maternity cover … It’s a lot to worry about, especially in the early days of your business.
Is a DIY approach the answer? This is a tricky one: on the one hand, you don’t want to miss a lucrative sales lead. But on the other hand, you need to be able to focus on your core business. As much as you wish it was possible, you simply can’t be in two places at once.
There are many reasons why a small business might balk at the idea of outsourcing their calls: Too expensive. Too complicated. A loss of control. Bad publicity. Yet it’s easy to forget that thousands of the world’s most successful corporations use live call handling services for one good reason: they work. In spite of the bad publicity they often get, call centres do the job in a cost effective and efficient way.
As more and more people take advantage of the convenience of shopping via the internet, it becomes more and more important that you give yourself the competitive edge by remaining accessible 24/7. Consumers aren’t as patient as they used to be. They expect and demand more. And if at first they don’t succeed (because no one has answered their call) the chances are that they won’t try again.
Richard Woods of telecommunications specialists RocketUK