7 Tough Questions to Ask Your Potential Contact Center Vendor


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In the process of selecting the best outsourced contact center partner to handle your customer support, and when you have your top contenders identified, it will be time to throw some hardball questions at them.

In our two previous posts, we offered up guidelines for writing the contact center RFP and what subtle signs to look for on your tour of the vendor’s contact center. In this post, we’re wrapping up our series on the buying process with a look at seven of the toughest questions to ask your potential partners. How your prospective providers answer these hard-hitting questions should help you whittle that short list down to one clear winner.

7. Where are the two biggest gaps in your capabilities?
Make them get specific. You want to go into a long-term relationship with your eyes wide open. Every company has things they could do better. Your potential partner should be frank about theirs. If their strengths offset your weaknesses and vice versa, you should be in good shape.

6. What is your reporting going to tell me that I don’t already know?
A data dump of yesterday’s (or last week’s) volume and grade of service represents little more than a scorecard of a center’s performance. Meaningful reporting allows you to glean insights from what happened yesterday (or last week) that contribute to informed decision-making that helps achieve your business outcomes.

5. How is your training and development different from the next guy’s?
If the vendor makes the claim that training is a differentiator, make them prove it. Look for stats like total agent time spent in continual training. Look for investments in process and people. Do they have a team of corporate trainers? Do they invest in peer mentors and coach development?  

4. Who poaches your frontline people?
This may seem like an odd question, but it tells you a lot. If the vendor says, “Poaching isn’t a problem – no one poaches from us,” maybe that’s because their employees are not sought after in the marketplace. They might have a “warm body” mentality toward hiring. We consider it a good sign other employers of choice in the market are working hard to try to poach our center’s people.

3. What did you learn from the last client who fired you?
Beware of bull . “We’ve never been fired.” We’d call BS on that. You’re looking for a real answer that tells you something about the organization’s ability to self-assess and to adapt and change.

2. What will winning my business mean to your strategic goals?
It helps to see where you fit in the big picture. You want to know how important your business will be to the vendor once the contract has been signed and the quarterly sales target is met.

1. What percentage of time will my project manager give me day-to-day?
Hold their feet to the fire. In fact, the answer to this question could be something to include in your SLA and something you can scorecard performance against. Whatever the model of your solution – shared, dedicated, or semi-dedicated, you want to understand exactly what that means in terms of time and attention from the project management team before you sign the contract.

If you are seriously considering call center outsourcing as a solution for your business, make sure you get the ‘true’ resolution of the potential vendor you’re looking to use. We’re happy to answer these hardball questions. To grill us on what we can do for you, contact us here.

Mike Hasler
Mike Hasler believes that sustainable business growth comes from creating partnerships that deliver shared value. For Mike, drilling down to attain a deep understanding of the client's business is the foundation for developing those long-term partnerships. Mike, Blue Ocean's VP, Sales and marketing, has been at the helm of new business development and sales process innovations for companies like Xerox and Thermo Fisher Scientific.


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