Managing a call centre with a blended onshore-offshore team

Aug 30
managing a call centre

Managing a call centre with a blended onshore-offshore team

When it comes to managing a call centre with a blended onshore-offshore team, what does it take to get everyone working as one? How can you get Chris from Croydon and Mary from Manila sharing the same call centre memes and campaigns?

What’s the special glue to bind them together, so they understand they’re all on the same die-hard mission? Where they’ll take a hit for the team, open up a new phone line when someone’s down, do the night shift while others are sleeping, pass vital customer along the chain of command, and wade into battle to help a dying lead no matter their location?

Sadly, sharing drink bottles and tapping out Morse code no longer cuts the mustard these days. The agents of today are a whole new breed of warrior wanting, not only a strong central command, but also powerful call centre software to help build team rapport.

Look at blended before offshore

Before looking offshore, first look at blending your local inbound and outbound call centre teams. This will increase team productivity and may mean you no longer have to look elsewhere.

Using the blended feature of call centre software, agents can work on both inbound and outbound calls, without having to change queues. With a dynamic agent interface, they can also view live customer information that refreshes with every call.

This kind of blended approach can transform the way call centres perform as a whole. Agents are utilised to their full capacity, helping to minimise downtime and increase work productivity. They also take on more responsibility for the full lifecycle of a campaign, with more knowledge and insight to solve complex customer enquiries and avoid double handling.

Resolve any team animosity

If blending isn’t enough and you decide to take a portion of your call centre services offshore, it’s a good idea to let your onshore team know so they can prepare for this change.

While their first reaction may be fear or hesitation, if you can show the real benefits offshoring will have – from assisting with queue overflows to helping expand their service reach – they may start warming to the idea.

As well as this, you can also get your onshore team excited about having international colleagues with regular VoIP catch-ups and video sessions to help build team rapport and celebrate cultural differences.

Make every agent an expert in call centre software

Managing a call centre of today is not just about managing people but also the work tools they’re using. And one of the biggest equalisers for a blended onshore-offshore and inbound-outbound call centre team is having powerful call centre software and VoIP to keep them humming at the same speed and rhythm.

With a cloud-based system, managing a call centre has never been easier; no matter where anyone is located in the world, they can essentially have the same online experience, with agents using the same central login, viewing the same agent interface, taking or receiving calls with the same automated system, automatically saving and storing customer data to the cloud, and more.

There is no complicated set up or prepping before handling customers. Everything is live and ready to go as soon as an agent has logged in. Agents can also track their own performance, plus the performance of a whole team, so they can feel part of something more collaborative and social, to spur on better individual agent performance.

Play to the strengths of both teams

When managing a call centre and combining onshore with offshore, it’s also a good idea to play to the strengths of both teams. Get each to work on specific areas you know they are more equipped and prepared for.

For example, perhaps customers making complaints don’t like talking to offshore agents, perceiving them as not close enough to understand their local problems. Here you can automate incoming calls to only go through to onshore agents, to this kind of scenario. On the other side, you can set your roster up so offshore teams, from different time zones, can hep you deliver 24hr customer support, picking up the out of business hours, from the graveyard shift to the early morning hours.

As you can see, having access to onshore and offshore at the same time can be a powerful thing, where you can mix and match to find the best sales and customer service solution.

Use games to strengthen the alliance

Gamification is the icing on the cake when it comes to managing a call centre and unifying your team so the all salute the same company flag.

As any keen gamer would know, the world of gaming no longer has borders. People play with gamers from all over the world and, despite the distance, can form just as satisfying a relationship as with their colleagues in the flesh. It’s one of those funny tricks of the brain.

For this to work, what’s really important is that a game allows good communication, interaction and collaboration. It also needs to be FUN. If it feels too much like work or a tedious OH&S video, you can forget about it catching on. If, however, you find your team engrossed in the action then you know you’re on the right track to building better team cohesion.

Managing a call centre the blended way

There are many ways you can get all your teams working seamlessly together and enjoying the experience of being blended.

With more hands on deck, in more time zones around the world, you can expand your service delivery and supercharge your call centre’s productivity. This means more agents on calls, fewer customers in queues and less downtime to drag whole team performance down.

It’s a win-win situation and everyone benefits. So what’s not to love about a blended onshore-offshore team?

Love the blended concept and want to find out more?

call centre offshoring

Flickr cc: Mark Chadwick