By Dan Berthiaume
Making sure a call center outsourcing provider has the proper certification and including the right stipulations in the services contract are two of the most important steps a company can take when engaging in call center BPO in India, according to Bhagesh Nair, proprietor at Plan B Enterprise Consultants, a Mumbai-based firm specializing in offshore call center services.
“A quality call center will have certifications from governmental bodies including the DOT (Department of Telecommunications), STPI (Software Technology Parks of India, a governing body for BPO), and NASSCOM (Indian Chamber of Commerce),” says Nair.
Contract Should Include Confidentiality, Commission
Naturally, each individual call center BPO contract will reflect the unique nature of what the client is seeking and the services provider is delivering. “A contract may have one page, or it may have 20 pages,” comments Nair.
Nevertheless, Nair advises that any call center outsourcing contract include at least a few key ingredients to help ensure quality service delivery and protection of the client’s needs. Foremost, the contract should include a clear and strict confidentiality agreement, so that all information disclosed between the client and the provider remains protected. Unless otherwise specified, all information exchanged between client and provider should be considered confidential.
The other most important aspect of the contract is specifying exactly what type of commission the provider will receive. Nair says this can vary depending on the service the client is obtaining.
“Call center services may be inbound, which means the center takes calls from the US, or outbound, which means VOIP (voice-over internet protocol) calls are placed from India to the US,” explains Nair. “For inbound services, the criteria is average handling time, with each agent expected to handle a minimum number of calls per hour and per day. Pay is hourly.
“For outbound calls, there are no set criteria,” he continues. “Money is paid per lead or sale generated.”
Do Your Homework
As with any business relationship, companies evaluating call center outsourcing providers should perform thorough research before making a selection or signing a contract. And since dealing with an overseas provider means a site visit is likely difficult or even impossible, due diligence becomes even more important.
Nair first advises companies to work with call center outsourcing providers they have previously used. If that is not possible, he says there are companies who collect information on call centers that maintain databases which can be accessed.
In addition, he says any reputable call center outsourcing provider should have a company profile, which mentions all the campaigns they have performed, available.
According to Nair, following up on the data in a BPO provider’s profile can help spot companies to avoid.
“Obtain references from the call center and then cross-check the details in the profile,” he states. “If they don’t match up, that’s a warning sign.”