Making the decision to outsource your call center is a difficult and daunting task, but you've decided it’s the right path for your company. So, now what?
The decision to move ahead was only the beginning of your journey to find the perfect-fit inbound or outbound outsourced call center. Now it’s time to search for the partner that will make this transition a raving success.
The best way to begin the process of selecting the right outsource partner for your organization is to create a detailed request for proposal to which potential partners can respond. Getting the RFP right will drive your potential partners to provide thorough and detailed information in a consistent manner. This will ensure that the information you receive can easily be compared across vendors. That will enable you to objectively weed out the less suitable candidates.
Every RFP should include sections addressing the following:
- instruction for responding to the RFP;
- an introduction to your organization and its key requirements;
- a vendor organizational description;
- program management;
- tracking and systems; and
- pricing and general.
The first two sections of your RFP should be designed in a prescriptive manner. This is where you are introducing your organization to the vendors, expressing exactly what services you want them to bid on providing, and laying out your expectations for the RFP process.
At the beginning of your RFP it is a good idea to include a section that provides an overview of the process you intend to use, important contacts, and a clear timeline including due dates. This will provide potential vendors with the information they need to enter the process and answer any questions that arise along the way.
Next, you need to introduce both your organization and service requirements in great detail. This information is critical i to get good information and reliable bids from your potential vendors. They will be relying on the information provided in this section to formulate their responses. What you put in will directly influence what you get back.
Be sure to include information about why you decided to move to an outsourced solution, your call center outsourcing objectives, and service level expectations. List in detail everything you expect them to deliver in terms of call types, call volume, training, quality, processes that you expect them to manage, and the associated key performance requirements needed. Using a mix of descriptive text and graphical representations of how the vendor will fit into your overall process will help ensure clear understanding of the program scope.
The next several sections of your RFP should be designed as a questionnaire. This provides potential call center outsourcing vendors with a framework for providing you information in a consistent, easily comparable manner. This is your opportunity to layout exactly what you want them to tell you.
Also ask for a detailed description of the vendor’s organization. The idea here is to understand as much as possible about them as a potential partner –how they do business, their core philosophy and approach, locations, etc. Ask them to provide information on similar work that they have done, and how they manage the work including standard procedures, project staffing plans, and training procedures.
Understanding each vendor’s method of program management will help you find a partner who is well aligned with your expectations. Items to consider here include oversight of workflow and quality, staffing, problem resolution, and change management.
Meanwhile, the tracking and systems section is your opportunity to explore tracking capabilities, scripting, call monitoring, reporting, systems used, and data management/transfer processes. This section should include a statement of your minimum expectations and allow the vendors to respond with information on how they will deliver.
Finally, the pricing and general section captures details of what the service will cost, contract-related information, references, and any additional information not covered in previous sections.
We have created a Call Center Request for Proposal Template to help guide you through the critical questions to ask as you solicit bids from potential call center vendors. Outsource Consultants also can write a customized call center outsourcing RFP on your behalf.
Now that you've written the RFP, it’s time to send it to your potential call center outsourcing vendors with an invitation to participate. Send the RFP to as many suppliers as you like, but we recommend doing a first round audit of potential vendors to narrow the field a bit.
Edited by Alicia Young