3. NEW VENDOR SELECTION PROCESS BEGINS With a finalized RFP in hand, your company is ready to start the selection process. The universe of vendors is quite large. There are niche BPOs that specialize in a certain industry silo. There are boutique BPOs, small in headcount and spread across multiple industries. Some are U.S.-based. Some near shore. Some offshore. Many are hybrid in terms of geography. There are in-office call centers, WFH call centers, and even AI call centers. Then there are the behemoth companies that cater to every conceivable contact center configuration imaginable. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages.
Be methodical and very careful as you weed out undesirables and narrow down to a shortlist of good fits. Additional research and capability models are required to vet contenders.
Here's an example. A firm comes in with an appealing cost structure and claims a ready base of qualified agents from their local area. Can they pull this off and maintain the CSAT goals you need? Hopefully so. But suppose you research their market and find that a huge retail organization routinely fills hundreds of positions at an hourly rate $1.50 higher than your vendor pays. In that case, their guarantee probably doesn't hold water. There are disruption concerns like weather, natural disaster, and government. There are health issues to consider. Can the vendor flex staff levels up and down to match your demand? What percentage of their client base, and therefore your company's level of importance, would you represent to the vendor? What's their corporate culture like? What do their clients say? Once a potential list of candidates has been cut down to a very short list, a current state evaluation of these firms should commence. It covers all the same areas mentioned above for your existing vendor. These reports can be invaluable tools when tweaking the new vendor as you integrate them into your company. They also help enormously when a final choice has been made, and you're at the contracting stage. 4. DRAFT A BINDING AGREEMENT And speaking of contracts, drafting a binding agreement that covers everything you need is one of the most critical steps in this process. Be sure to enlist qualified expertise to help you craft it. Certainly, contract attorneys play a role here, but we recommend leveraging the wisdom of your trusted contact center partners as well. They can help lock in the performance and cost levels you seek. You can avoid the omissions and wording nuances that can lead to nightmare scenarios down the road. And they can share industry pricing benchmarks to make sure negotiations are fair. As the contract is being negotiated, thought should be given to vendor standup so that before the ink has dried, your team can begin the transition from your old BPO. Identify which platforms, processes, and departments need to be changed or finetuned to integrate seamlessly into your success plan. The research and capability model of the new vendor comes into play. Key players and systems have already been identified. Your implementation team will now use this information as they proceed with standup. KPI and other measurements during this phase, and after operations fully begin, will provide a clear view of whether or not goals are achieved.
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