As a way to save on costs and focus on core competencies, some companies outsource their call center operations. While replacing an in-house call center staff with an outside vendor often saves money, there are disadvantages associated with the practice.
Because outsourcing involves moving your call center operations outside of your home base, you may have less control over the operation. You must rely on the managerial abilities of the vendor company, while doing your best to ensure that it can adapt to your business and uphold your quality of service standards.
It may create a hardship for your customers -- or at least the perception of reduced quality of service -- when you outsource to a foreign country. Customers may become frustrated if the call center representatives do not speak fluent English or speak with a heavy accent that is difficult to understand. This might cause them to seek other providers who they feel are better at meeting their customer service needs.
Companies that deal with sensitive information may run the risk of the breaching of customer confidentiality when they outsource their call center operations. A company that handles medical patient information, for example, needs to be certain the operating procedures used by the new company are secure. This requires the outsourcing company to be highly selective when choosing a company to handle its calls.
Companies that outsource their call center operations likely need to eliminate the jobs of their existing representatives. While this saves in labor costs, it can also mean jeopardizing the livelihood of many long-term, loyal employees and cause a loss of morale among the remaining staff. It also can harm companies from a public relations standpoint if the local population resents the jobs being sent elsewhere.
Whether you outsource to a native or foreign company, you may run the risk of a lack of focus. While an in-house call center is totally centered on your business, an outside vendor's representatives may work with several companies. As a result, they may not deliver the same level of customer service that you've been accustomed to with your own operation.
Chris Joseph writes for websites and online publications, covering business and technology. He holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing from York College of Pennsylvania.