Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bartender for the Call Center Manager

Sometimes I feel like I am a bartender or a hair stylist for Call Center and IT Managers. I ahve heard stories from these managers about their switch or WFM or service provider that I probably should not be hearing. I guess being a vendor with no horse in that race the manager feels it's ok to tell me about their experiences and why they are pulling out a vendor in favor of another.
This got me thinking about why these call centers are moving to another vendor at what will be an extremely costly change. No one in their right mind wants to spend that amount of time and money to change vendors for the heck of it.
1. The vendor has over promised and under delivered. There are times when a vendor and customer are not on the same page which can lead to this occurring. There are times when the vendor is not able to hold up their end of the project. Rereading the SOW and its fine print are a quick way to find missing or misleading vendor tasks.
2. Total cost of ownership. Customers must read the details of the solution coverage and ask lots of what if questions when it comes to warranty, maintenance, licensing and support. Digging deep to understand what is really covered and assuming that something is covered are two different things.
3. Misstated, misapplied or misused ROI calculations. The adage of too good to be true applies to ROI calculations. I have heard ROI calculations for million dollar plus projects of 5 - 6 months. If you vendor has invented time travel then this might be possible. If not then the ROI calculations are probably off. One quick ROI check is to look for improved efficiencies. No product is used 100% of the time so a multiplier that is applied 100% of the time is not appropriate. For example a new phone might make the agent more efficient but only when they are actually using the phone not when they are idle or simply talking and not using the phones features.
4. Not staying current. The vendor has not made any product changes, added new features, done any development on the product since the purchase. If this is accurate then there is cause for concern. Any vendor with long term plans for a product will continue to develop the solution and try to make it better. Ask the vendor for a list of product updates made in the last 3 - 5 years and then ask about future development on the product.
5. Arrogance and attitude. If the arrogance and attitude of the vendor have gotten in the way of the vendors ability to provide a solution that works then it is time to move on. It is one thing to be sure of your solution it is another thing to ignore the customer or as a vendor to believe the customer cannot go anywhere else. As a customer it is not wise to cut off your nose to spite your face. It is possible to request new representation from the vendor and talk frankly with the vendor management about the attitude and arrogance coming from the vendor.
There are other reasons why customers leave vendors but these came to mind quickly. As a vendor to the call center industry being vigilant and not falling into the rut of any of these issues listed above is a key part of being a responsible vendor.

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