If you’re looking to drive your business into the future and want to dramatically improve both your customer service and the overall customer experience of your brand, entering a new strategic partnership with an outsourced contact center is a significant decision for your business.
By outsourcing your call center to a third party, you will be putting the reputation of your brand, as well as your customers, in the hands of contact center professionals. This means it’s essential that you trust them, and that they are able to have a direct impact on your business - meeting appropriate KPIs and offering a great return on investment (ROI).
These business decisions are often managed through a formal request for proposal (RFP) process.
What is an RFP?
An RFP is a document that an organization - often a large enterprise or government agency - uses to elicit bids from potential vendors in order to procure a product or service through the responding business proposals.
The RFP specifies what the business is looking for and describes each evaluation criterion on which the vendor’s proposals will be assessed. The RFP is designed to bring structure and transparency to the procurement decision, while reducing risk through open requirements and discussion.
An RFP will generally include:
- Background on the company and its lines of business.
- Specifications that describe the sought-after solution.
- The scope of work and deliverables.
- Technical requirements and the technologies that will be needed.
- The budget.
- Evaluation criteria that describe how proposales will be graded.
This document will allow your business to compare vendors, empowering you to make an informed and objective decision that will help you find the perfect outsourced call center for your company’s unique needs.
How can my business create an RFP for an outsourced contact center?
Many people are familiar with the term request for proposal, and many people have even contributed to one in some way, but the vast majority of people do not truly know how to create an RFP.
To help your business create an RFP for an outsourced contact center, Advantage Communications Inc. (ACI) has created an overview of what you should include here:
1 - Start with an RFI
If you have the luxury of time on your side, the RFP process is best started with a request for information (RFI).
An RFI is a business process which aims to collect written information about the capabilities of various suppliers. The format of an RFI allows the document to be used to compare a large number vendors that could provide your company with an outsourced call center solution.
The RFI is sent to a broader pool of vendors than an RFP, allowing your company to narrow the list of contenders and proceed to the RFP process with more knowledge and a better idea of what you are looking for.
2 - Introduce your company to the vendor
The first two steps of creating your RFP should be focused on introducing your company to the vendor, explaining what services you are looking for and what you are expecting the outsourced contact center to achieve.
It’s first important to lay out your instructions for responding to the RFP, giving vendors an overview of the RFP process and showing them a clear timeline of when you expect to complete that process.
Secondly, you should introduce your company and the service requirements that you are looking for. This will include information about your business and target audience, as well as laying out everything you expect the contact center to do on your company’s behalf, how they will fit into your company’s overall processes and what you expect them to achieve.
3 - Make sure you get comparable data
The rest of your RFP should be designed as a questionnaire, allowing you to receive data and information in a consistent and easy-to-compare format. This is where you will get them to tell you everything you want to know, and will allow you to compare each vendor side by side.
The rest of your RFP should be made up of:
Vendor organizational description: This will include a detailed description of the vendor’s business, allowing you to determine if they will make a good partner. This should include how they do business, where they are located, their core philosophies and what other similar projects that they have done in the past.
Program management: This is a detailed description of how they will manage the overall project, including issue resolution, their use of employees, workflow and much more.
Tracking and systems: Want to set some minimum expectations to ensure your outsourced contact center is performing to its optimum level? This section will allow you to ask some questions on the contact centers tracking abilities - helping you to understand how they use call monitoring, data management and other reporting capabilities to track overall project and agent performance.
Pricing and general: What will the service cost, how long will the project last, what are the contract details and are there any additional pieces of information not covered in the previous questions? This last section of your RFP is the time to ask!
4 - Send out your RFP
Once your RFP is finished, it’s now time to send it out to potential contact centers with an invitation to participate. You can send the RFP to as many, or as few, outsourced contact centers as you’d like - but remember, your RFI should have helped you to narrow the field to a few select companies that are better suited to your needs.
Looking for more tips on creating the perfect RFP for an outsourced call center or simply want to know how Advantage Communications can help your company? Contact us today for more information.