In my last blog I highlighted some points that you as a buyer might consider when you first assess outsourcing as an option. So let us suppose you make the strategic decision that outsourced telemarketing is the right choice for you. Your company has put out requests for information, proposals or quotes to suppliers you think best match your needs– what next? Due Diligence is now key: this is where you and your prospects explore and evaluate each other’s capabilities before formalising a Service Level Agreement. Here are some tips to guide your due diligence work:
1) Get your marketers to screen the outsourced telemarketing provider themselves
Do not hand the task to the purchasing department to evaluate on cost criteria alone. In outsourced telemarketing, researching the background of the company to verify their expertise, track record and credibility is extremely important because you are placing the reputation of your company in their hands.
2) Ensure the provider is a good match for your company
The prospect may not have sufficient capacity both in terms of technology and staffing. The outsource provider may be better at stand-alone campaigns, whereas your marketing strategy calls for outsourced telemarketing that sustains leads across multiple campaigns. Or they may have a strong business-to-consumer history, while you want long standing business-to-business expertise.
3) Evaluate the provider’s staff forecasting and scheduling model for outbound calling campaigns
Service Level Agreements will set out a staffing budget for the provider to deliver a targeted number of calls for the outsourced telemarketing campaign, but call centres should not be handed complete control over what calls can or should be made. Determining the best days of week and times of day to place certain types of calls and then planning staffing needs around carefully scheduled workloads can make a tremendous difference to the bottom line. A call centre that overspends on staff during times of the day when customers typically do not answer calls, or understaff when response rates are usually high can in just one hour cost your company £1000s. So you have a stake in a careful analysis of the staff forecasting process offered by your provider so that the effectiveness of your campaign is maximized.
4) Take a close look at the outsourced telemarketing provider’s recruitment policy
Screen out companies where a high percentage of callers are temporaries. You need to know who is calling on your behalf and that they are trained and competent to do so. The more permanent callers are employed the greater the likelihood that outsourced telemarketing will deliver successful campaigns and projects. Also learn about the educational base of the labour market they recruit from, and the turnover rates of their staff. You want motivated telemarketers that pitch calls at the right level for the kind of customers you need to reach.
5) Look to maintain on-going high-level management of the business relationship
As mentioned earlier your reputation is in the hands of the provider and customer satisfaction should be a high priority for your company. The right management relationship with your outsource provider will enable you to monitor the quality of calls made by their telemarketers, and also continually measure performance against the metrics agreed in your Service Level Agreement.
6) Cost is not the only criterion
Yes, outsourced telemarketing is there to serve your marketing needs, but your provider is also a business that needs to turn a profit. Undervalue their services and you will end up paying the price.
Thinking of outsourced telemarketing for your business? Then contact us to see how we can help with your project.
Authored by John Drury, Sales Director at Interaction Europe.