On our last episode, we weighed the pros and cons of outsourcing your security dispatch center. On today’s episode, part three of our four part series on running a dispatch center, we discuss how to find the right vendor and set yourself up for success. We'll start by considering the customer's experience, then we'll talk about the questions you should ask a potential vendor, and then we'll finish by giving you a few tips to kick things off successfully.
Consider The Customer Experience
First and foremost, you want to make sure that your customers continue to get a good experience with the call center you outsource to. Part of that involves assessing your needs and figuring out why you need to outsource in the first place. Do you have too high a volume of calls? Are your officers struggling to give quality customer service? Or are your costs just too high?
Then, do the necessary work to find out what level of service the call center can provide. Researching them online and learning about their experience handling customer calls can help, but ultimately you need a more direct insight.
“Make sure you get some references to speak to,” says Johnny. “They should have some companies that you can talk to, find out about some of the headaches that they had to go through when coming on board.”
Getting this firsthand insight helps you to make the best decision, as every call center is different and runs their operation in a unique manner.
Researching Potential Vendors
Even if a call center provides good customer service, you have to make sure their processes are compatible with your company on the back end. That means ensuring they can use your software, and that they have the flexibility to report incoming calls and submit daily activity reports that fit your needs. Tracking calls is important so that, if they charge per call, they don’t charge for wrong numbers.
You also want to know how they handle unusual situations. Do they have enough lines to deal with peak volume? Is there a set process to deal with emergency situations?
“Can you set up a specific chain of escalation? What type of documentation do they need to have?” says Johnny.
Other details to cover ahead of time include:
- Do you have an assigned account manager?
- Are there quality assurance policies in place?
- Are calls recorded?
- Will a variety of agents be taking calls or will it be a dedicated group or individual?
- What level of turnover does this call center have?
Establishing all these details ensures that, when you do chose a vendor, you know they have the resources and processes in place to give your customers the service they need.
Setting Up the Call Center For Success
As you prepare to outsource, start internally creating a detailed record of call requests. By recording the most common types of calls and having good details on volume and timing, you can develop some best practices and create clear expectations for the call center.
In addition, consider creating some sample scripts for agents to follow. This helps ensure a consistent customer experience and sets clear expectations for agents to know what they need to be covering on each call.
Finally, consider ways to reduce the volume of calls that the call center has to deal with. This will help them be more effective and reduce your costs if they charge on a per call basis.
“Find ways to encourage people to go to the web,” I tell Johnny. “You should try to reduce those calls as much as possible so that the calls they do get are as quality and short as possible.”
Part Three of Four
Episode 42: The Ultimate Guide to Running Your Dispatch Center
Episode 43: The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing a Dispatch Center
Episode 44: How to Outsource Your Dispatch Center (you are here)
Episode 45: How to Launch an In-House Dispatch Center