By: Colin Taylor
Why would you want to retain a consultant? Common wisdom would have it that all they do is “borrow your watch and tell you the time”.
What can a consultant really bring to the table that can assist your center and your organization when you a looking at moving or establishing a new center?
Seven Reasons You Need a Consultant’s Expertise When Selecting a Contact Center Location
Seven reasons come to mind quickly, I will let you be the judge as to whether or not they are good reasons:
1. You don’t know what you don’t know.
This may sound trite, but it is also true. Now I could quote Donald Rumsfeld on “known knowns” and “unknown unknowns” but suffice it to say that unless you have been through this process repeatedly it is unlikely that you have the same level of experience and insight as a consultant could bring to the table.
2. Eliminates internal bias.
Internal bias often exists in organizations. It may not be overt and is often spawned by a belief that if we can put the center anywhere, then why not near the VP’s summer home or the CEO’s ranch, or somewhere warm in the winter. In a consultant lead process this bias is eliminated or at minimum identified and challenged.
3. Eliminates external bias.
Your CEO and your Board members have friends, and they have friends of friends. It is likely that at least some of these folks will be contacted through personal or social networks by one or more jurisdictions that wish to attract the call center. The people in Economic Development (EcDev) are professionals, they have fine-tuned their pitch and can make any location sound like it is Shangri-La. A consultant lead process eliminates this lobbying and restricts the EcDev pros from lobbying the Board by ensuring that all contact is through the consultant.
4. Lack of Knowledge or Bandwidth.
The two most common reasons for hiring consultants are that either: you don’t possess the knowledge/experience internally, or you have the talent, but don’t have the bandwidth to complete the specific task while completing the existing work and job activities. In site-selection experience can be crucial. Many consultants have developed proprietary models (I know that we do) and methodologies that facilitate a deeper analysis of the relevant data points that can be generally be completed internally.
5. Incentives are always available.
Now the salad days of site-selection are gone, you can no longer build and outfit a center for $1. There are tax credits, low-interest loans, and still grants in some markets all tied to the local wealth created by the operation of the call center. Consultants will have more experience dealing with the EcDev and government agencies and can ensure that all possible incentives are evaluated against a realistic and sustainable job creation model. There are lots of empty contact center around where the economic incentive was very attractive, unfortunately to market wasn’t well suited for contact center operations.
6. The track record is important.
With the experience of building centers domestically and internationally consultants can bring their experience to bear on any future site selection project. Local laws and regulations, customer and work practice knowledge is essential. What is the cost to terminate an agent in the Dominican Republic? How does long-term service leave affect Australian call centers? What are the specific advantages of locating in a ‘Right to Work’ state? In each case, a consultant can leverage their experience in order to properly cost and budget for a new center.
7. Consultants offer one final advantage in this or any consulting engagement.
That advantage is that you didn’t execute the project the consultant did. This positioning means that you can take credit for the astute decision to bring in a consultant on any successful project and be insulated from blame if the project is less than successful. You can always fire the consultant. Of course, whether it is credit or blame will have a lot to do with your due diligence in selecting the consultant in the first place. But that is the topic of another post.
It is unlikely that this article will change anyone’s mind about hiring a consultant although I do hope that I have reminded you of some of the advantages that can be achieved when working with the right consultant and highlighted some of the risks associated with treating selection as a DIY project, or investing in an inexperienced or unprofessional consultant.
Please Contact ApexCX for all your customer experience needs.
(Jul 4, 2018)