52 Contact Center RFP Questions to Ask Vendors
| Published: July 14, 2015 | Comments
Whether you’re just starting your contact center RFP journey or you’ve been pulling your hair out trying to wrap up it before the end of the month, don’t fret – we’ve got you covered.
The 52 RFP questions listed below provide you with a comprehensive guide on how you can structure the RFP and the actual questions you can add to your RFP. We segmented the questions into six key sections – Company Overview, Agent Hiring/Training, Contact Center Reporting, Project Management, Technology, and Pricing. Consider it a gift from all of us at Blue Ocean!
Get to know the history and organization of the vendor.
A. List Company Facts
1. How long have you been in business?
2. How many full-time employees do you have?
3. How many of those employees are contractors, and how many are salaried?
4. If multilingual is a requirement, what languages does the center currently speak?
5. What are your hours of operation?
B. Client Service
6. How many of your clients or programs operate 24/7?
7. Name your five largest clients, and list how long have they been clients.
8. Do you serve any clients who would be considered a competitor to our company?
9. How would you describe the culture of your center?
10. How many people are in your internal tech support team and do they provide 24/7 coverage?
11.What is your turnaround time for technical service outages?
Outsourcing customer interactions to a 3rd party is a huge responsibility. The agents employed by an outsourcer can be one of the most critical pieces to finding the right partner.
E. Recruiting Team
12. How many people on you have on your human resources team?
13. How many recruiters do you have?
14. Please outline your recruiting process.
F. Recruiting Sources
15. Identify your top three agent recruitment sources.
16. What percentage your new hires are from employee referrals?
17. Do you have an employee referral bonus program?
G. Agent Training
18. How many dedicated trainers to you staff on your team?
19. What is unique about your agent training regimen?
20.What’s your maximum class training size?
21. What percentage of new hires graduate from training to production?
22. What percentage of agents are still with the company 6 months after graduating from training?
H. Agent Attrition
23. What is your agent attrition rate?
24. How do you determine your agent attrition rate?
I. Agent Characteristics
25. How do you profile your agents?
26. How many of your agents are in stand-alone centers?
27. How many at-home agents do you employ?
28. What percent of agents have some post secondary education?
In this section, you want to find out how the vendor measures their call quality and what their measurements have been in the past. Standard call measures like average handling time, first call resolution, and conversion rate are important, but these numbers are likely to be similar across vendors. Also consider important big-picture measurements like agent attrition, forecasting, and process adherence. Forecasting, if executed accurately, can greatly help your planning efforts and show the vendor’s forward-thinking attitude.
J. Vendor’s Side
29. How much accountability will you have?
30. To what extent do you provide transparency around KPIs?
31. How will you report to us?
32. Who will report to us?
33. What is your system/process to alert you on issues beyond your tolerance (ie, 150% over forecast in a certain interval)?
K. Client Side
34. What custom reporting capabilities do you have?
35. Is there a client portal for us to easily access reports?
36. Can we access reports in real time or near real time?
37. What do your stakeholders need in terms of data?
Your internal operations team will need to interface with the vendor if they are chosen. For your benefit, you want to make sure that you have access to the right makeup of vendor project management resources to ensure they sync up with your internal team.
Layout the staff that you want on your project. And ask the vendor to provide the percentage of time that will be dedicated to your program. You want to make sure you’re getting a dedicated level of project management that is going to make the project work. For example, ask your vendors to define how a Project Manager, Project Coordinator, Quality Coordinator, Workforce Optimizer, or a Trainer will coordinate and interact with you. The following questions could help you gain some of this information:
38. What percentage of the project manager(s)’s time will be dedicated to our project?
39. How many dedicated project managers do you staff?
40. How many dedicated project managers would be on my program?
41. At your estimated “per call minute,” what percentage of that is dedicated to project management?
Again, think about what’s important to you. For example, if your incumbent vendor has poor service or project management, you’ll want to make sure you’re covered here. And on the flipside, if you’re a first time outsourcer, you’ll want to mirror your internal operations/project management with that of your outsourced vendor.
Ask about the vendor’s technology. Define your expectations regarding integration, including identifying your CRM or CTI platform. List out which technologies you are bringing to the table and be specific in how you’d like the vendor to integrate with those technologies.
Be realistic about your risk tolerance. Dual redundancy might be your ideal scenario, but be prepared to pay for it. If the vendor is expected to bolt onto your platform, indicate that in the contact center RFP. Below are some important technology questions to include:
42. Which software packages do you use?
43. When was your last CTI upgrade?
44. If you’ll need reps to monitor social media, which tools do you use to monitor?
45. How many minutes of service outage have you experienced in the last 10 years?
Keep in mind that every contact center prices their services differently. For this reason, you will benefit by providing specific scenarios (i.e. call volume) using the economic model you prefer, such as cost per call, cost per minute, cost per headcount, etc.
Here are a handful of questions that will help you gain resolution on around the economics of your vendors’ pricing models:
46. What are the itemized startup costs and ongoing costs? What is the estimated annual cost of the proposal and what’s included with that?
47. What services and features are included in this pricing? Please include everything.
48. What performance guarantees are included in this pricing model, if any?
49. Are there any volume discounts you can provide?
50. How are direct expenses billed? What about communications/telecom costs?
51. Are you willing to put “some skin in the game” by investing in the startup costs (or share other costs) to achieve a performance bonus down the road? If so, please provide detail around that type of scenario.
52. If you were to suggest an alternative pricing model within the same volume parameters as the scenario provided, what would you suggest?
Comparability is more important than reality. Always ask for a breakdown of their pricing and note features and services that one vendor may offer over another. As much as possible, you want an “apples-to-apples” comparison so you can make an accurate, fair evaluation.
This post first appeared on the Blue Ocean blog.
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