CRM Magazine, whose tagline is, “Customer Relationship Management,” features “5 elements to consider after you’ve outsourced” on the cover of its July 2005 issue. (I can’t find the link online, but the magazine is located here. It should show up eventually. Just choose the “CRM Magazine” link in the left menu.
It’s a touchy business to outsource CRM functions. After all, this is the face you’ll be putting on to your customers who need direct contact in some fashion — whether they’re buying, complaining or hearing from you. When you screw that up, you rarely get a second chance.
A key point author Coreen Bailor makes that I consider especially important in that environment is this:
“Pull up a chair,” but don’t micro-manage. In other words, stay in close contact with your service provider, but make sure you understand what they can do best.
For example, plan visits to the provider regularly. One consultant advises monthly meetings; one client cited does on-site visits every six months. The purpose of these meetings is to show appreciation to the people delivering the services and to get feedback from the agents, which can give you “deeper insight into how to improve the business.”
As a counterpoint, don’t undermine your provider relationship by meddling into processes that they know best. One company said it takes a hands-off approach to the training of employees on a particular CRM system that ties customer data with appropriate offers. The provider handles that. As a result, returns have dropped from about 16% or 17% to 10%. The same company has reduced its call volume but increased its cross-sell rates.
There’s other advice. Worth a quick read if you’re involved in CRM outsourcing.