The risks of outsourcing call center operations, like concerns over data breaches or poor customer service, are certainly valid reasons to give anyone pause. After all, poor customer service costs U.S. businesses more than $75 billion a year.
In the lending industry, it’s even more concerning, as you stand the risk of violating regulations on data security and customer privacy that can damage your reputation and result in fines and penalties. However, this isn’t an insurmountable problem. There are ways you can minimize the risk and still enjoy streamlined efficiency—they all center on knowing what to look for as you vet potential providers.
Common Risks of Outsourcing Call Center Auto Loan Servicing
Many auto lenders want to outsource call center operations but are afraid to do so because of possible risks. Most commonly cited concerns include:
- Poor customer service: One of the first problems you may run into when outsourcing a call center is a lack of control over the customer service experience. The call center will have a culture different from your own and a different approach to managing inquiries. The wrong choice could detrimentally impact your relationship with customers.
- Lack of industry experience: Many call center operations handle a wide range of customer support responsibilities. They’ll handle everything from telemarketing to medical billing and beyond. While this works for some businesses, it’s unsuitable for an industry as complex as auto finance.
- Potential data breaches: There were 1,001 major data breaches in the U.S. in 2020, compromising the records of more than 155 million people. Not only can these breaches result in fines and penalties, but they also damage consumers’ trust. Working with the wrong vendor can open your business up to this risk, even if your internal processes are above reproach.
- Loss of brand control: One reason companies choose to keep their call centers in house is that it’s a customer-facing part of their businesses inexorably tied to their brand image. The wrong choice could damage that carefully cultivated brand reputation.
- Regulatory concerns: Call centers acting on your behalf are still bound by the regulations in your industry. If they lack experience with these regulations, you could run afoul of government bodies and face fines, penalties, and other disciplinary action.
The risks of outsourcing call center operations are certainly concerning—but they’re not insurmountable. By taking appropriate vetting steps and knowing what to look for, you can enjoy all the benefits of outsourcing your call center while minimizing the risk.
6 Tips for Mitigating the Risks and Providing the Best Service
While all businesses will engage in some level of vetting before choosing a partner for something as big as a call center outsourcing project, they may not focus on the right evaluation criteria. Here are six tips to help you improve your vetting process.
#1: Vet beyond price
It’s very easy to focus on price when choosing a call center for auto loan servicing as it’s a competitive market. Unfortunately, many of these facilities that offer rock bottom prices do so at the expense of important things like security, compliance, and effective customer service. Vet the providers you choose to use by querying them on training programs and quality assurance practices they’ve instituted. Get references from others in the industry and evaluate companies not just on price but the value you receive for that expense.
#2: Choose an industry expert
The auto loan industry is unique. It has its own set of requirements, regulations, and needs. Not all business process outsourcing providers can manage these issues. Ideally, the solution you choose will focus specifically on working with banks, credit unions, captives, consumer finance companies, and other lenders. Through this, they have the experience to adhere to the regulations necessary in the industry and the diverse needs of clients and customers.
#3: Target an all-in-one solution
One of the biggest culprits of software breaches is vendors’ inadequate data security. Call center vendors may use software or programs that are vulnerable. When choosing a call center provider, approach it as an all-in-one situation where you vet the call center itself and the software that supports it. This way, you can ensure you’re working with a firm with the technology and procedures required to protect confidential information.
#4: Seek on-shore facilities
While many overseas call center options are excellent, you’re operating at a disadvantage when you hire them. You can’t, for instance, tour the facilities to see how organized it is, how happy workers are, and if technology is up to date. You’re essentially hiring blind and trusting photos on a website. Domestic solutions give you a closer connection to the facilities handling your business along with the control you need to ensure high customer service standards.
#5: Review the compliance program
Any firm you choose to work with must have a comprehensive compliance program that addresses all the various concerns specific to auto lending. The program should include a listing of protocols to follow, regular training, and responsible parties for monitoring and implementing changing regulations. Request information on the compliance program to ensure your provider understands the unique requirements of the auto lending industry.
#6: Select a culture match
You’ve worked hard to establish your own workplace culture. This image is a major part of your brand. When you’re outsourcing your business, you give up a lot of that control. It would help if you asked any potential partners about their own culture and philosophies. Vet their mission statement. Ensure your brand’s values align with the call center provider you choose. This approach will uphold your brand image and reflect your business culture.
The risks of outsourcing call center auto loan servicing can be overcome with a proper vetting process. By understanding the standards and the culture of the company you work with, you can preserve your brand’s image and enjoy all the benefits of working with a call center provider that meets, if not exceeds, your customer service standards.
defi SOLUTIONS help lenders avoid the risks of call center outsourcing. With more than 30 years of developing and refining systems that take advantage of the latest technology, employing experienced call center agents, and implementing rigorous compliance controls, we understand the needs of the auto lending industry. If you’re looking for a better way to call center services, contact our team today.