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Why Call Centers Fail: 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Outsourcing Customer Service

The trend of outsourcing customer service is catching on, primarily because organizations can save precious human and financial resources in the process. But some call centers are shooting themselves in the foot by neglecting the very benefits that consumers count on. Here are five common call center mistakes and how to avoid them.

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A smartly run call center can build a brand and grow a customer base. Call centers that ignore the basic tenets of good customer service can do irreparable damage. For those organizations considering outsourcing customer service, here are the five mistakes to avoid during the strategic planning stage.

1. Outsourcing Customer Service to the Wrong Vendor

Perhaps the single biggest mistake a call center can make. Call centers have become industry-specific, and businesses should use the expert knowledge to their advantage when choosing a vendor. A specialized call center knows ahead of time the desires of the customer and the compliance demands of the industry. Not to mention the fact that the business and the vendor speak the same professional jargon.

2. Not Paying Attention to Analytics

Data is everything. If an organization is outsourcing customer service, then the business should make sure that (1) their vendor is collecting data, and (2) that the business itself is analyzing that data to find opportunities for improvement. Its data that can reveal profit potential and in-roads to new markets. Some businesses have entire departments devoted to managing and interpreting call center data.

3. Ignoring the Value of Call Center CRM

This goes along with analytics. Customer relationship management (CRM) is more than an industry buzzword--its what makes it possible to create an avatar of the target client. Marketing messages become personal and focused--communication attempts become increasingly meaningful. CRM has become increasingly pertinent on the heels of new social network technologies that feature user-generated content (UGC).

4. Failing to Create a Sound Script Strategy

According to Inside CRM, turning a natural exchange into a robotic one is one of the fastest ways to turn off potential prospects. Long paragraphs that promote mechanical reading are akin to audio SPAM. Customers will turn away and the call center operators will become frustrated at the lack of interest. Instead, work with operators on a natural, conversation-like rapport that includes pertinent sales information without sounding stuffed.

5. Neglecting the Follow-up

A timely, succinct follow-up can be the piece of the puzzle that seals the deal. Particularly in situations where a customer is unhappy, the call center that follows-up can smooth rough feathers and turn a frequent customer into a lifelong customer. Also, avoid the automated follow-up. Studies have repeatedly shown that customers prefer to speak with a live person to resolve issues.

Keep in mind that making the transition from in-house operation to outsourced call center isnt without its growing pains. But the mistakes call centers make should be new ones, not those that other businesses have made in the past.

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