When problems in a call center operational function occur that stops a significant amount of sales, customer support and lead generation. For sure, you don’t want a customer expectation gap that’s possibly the worst thing in business. You’re throwing your money away if your call center doesn’t work properly.
It’s good to have the best hardware, headphones and desktops. It increases the productivity of agents. But is this enough for the great functioning of the call center?
What you often need to do is to update your software for the call center. The software for call centers is one of the most promising solutions for raising profits. Today this market generated over 17.5 billions of dollars. It is expected to generate over 35 billions of dollars in 2023.
Business owners understand the potential in software for call centers, and invest more to generate more ROI.
On the internet, you’re not find much information about sample questions being asked to the call center technology vendor. But we’ve gathered most timely and relevant information about creating an RFP in simple and concise fashion.
What is an RFP? Briefly, an RFP is the Request For Proposal that call centers present to companies (procurement team) to bring new center software solutions into fruition. It includes time for bidding, evaluating and signing contracts.
The bidder’s time has to be limited, so the evaluation process doesn’t take too long. The primary purpose of this procurement process in call centers is to have advanced software or technologies.
An RFP for contact center platform is an effective way to accomplish these project goals. By doing so, companies drastically increase their customer experience solutions. Specifically, it increases area of work, accessibility of information, ease of agent management, and increases productivity.
When a call center with software achieves software improvement that gives capacity to stand out from the crowd. They also can implement new customer experience strategies and approaches for providing the services.
When contact centers present an RFP, contact center platform vendors place their bids for the project. Vendors evaluate their experience, knowledge and capability for accomplishing an RFP. Let’s find out the details of an RFP.
Types of process requests (RFI, RFQ, RFP)
RFP is a structured procurement process, with the main idea and expectations of the call center in both technologies and software. It also includes the request for information (RFI) and request for quotation (RFQ). The crucial part of RFP is to present to vendors business and technical requirements for call center solutions.
Once bidding is over, you need to evaluate each vendor on their capabilities and requirements to fulfill your needs. If you wish to increase the competition, to define the best vendor, you can make a few rounds of the evaluation process. The main stages of the contact center RFP that you need to know:
- Statement of purpose. This is an overall idea about a project that shows what you need to do, how you want to accomplish it, and what type of provider you are looking for. Such a type of statement includes: precise timeline about the project, so vendors could understand when you want to accomplish the call center project.
This also reflects the technologies or software you want to see on the project. Place the standards such as ISO, HIPAA, GDPR, TCPH, and others, as a crucial part of the project.
- Background information. You need to provide all the background information about the project and your company for creating a successful RFP. Provide the information about how big your call center department, how many seats you need to have, how extensive area of work for your call center (worldwide/local), what type of software you prefer to use, and how many channels of communication you have.
Also, inform about what type of compliance, data protection, information security, business continuation, and customer experience you wish to see in the project.
- Scope of the work. What specifically you want your vendors to do for you. Whether you want to move the cloud-based call center, improve your stability, increase your effectiveness/efficiency, increase security level, improve SLA or whatever you want to do.
- Outcome and performance standards. What do you expect from this project? Do you really want to increase ROI by providing new software solutions? Do you want to monitor how your agents will work? Improve technologies to attract more customers or prospects to you? Is your goal to achieve more traffic? How much accessibility data do you have?
- Payment. How will the process of payment occur? Is there a one big check or a monthly payment? Do software updates require an additional fee? How much will it cost to develop additional features for software?
- Contractual terms and conditions. These are important legal sections, certifications ISO, OSHA standards. At this stage, parties will present their view of the project and legal issues.
- Requirements for proposals. RFP has to describe the documents, which vendors must include. These documents are registration data, cases, referrals from clients, graduation of employees and annual reports.
- Precise timeline and key due dates. This stage reflects timelines of starting the bidding, documents overview, decisions making and vendors choosing.
RFI is the request for information. Companies and vendors request this document to bring light on important project questions. This is usually the first document on the path for creating an RFP. It educates the requestor about: finance, technologies, legal terms, dates, etc.
The requestors, which are involved in the project can ask for the information to receive vital data. An RFI must answer all the vendor questions. They can request it either from departments or persons involved in the project. An RFI must contain the answers to these helpful questions about:
- Business process for collecting written info about the capabilities of various vendors;
- Companies clarify important points with RFI;
- Evaluation criteria for;
When there is a big number of vendors, they could request this information before RFP. By doing so, the contact center vendor achieves a clear vision about the project. Companies should request an RFI in advance, so there is time to prepare the data.
Request for quotation is the request for specific information, prices, and quantities. It also contains information about products and services, schedules of services, etc. It will simplify comparing the prices of vendors and then short-listing them. The important list of questions of the RFQ are:
- Employee experience;
- Resource availability;
- Specifications: items/services
- Detailed specifications;
- Comparing and deciding;
The standard RFP process
Creation of an RFP is easy, when it has a strong purpose and people in their places for implementing. To be successful, the RFP processes have to be outlined in a clear and logical fashion.
Defining internal stakeholders
To create an RFP, you must arrange the meeting with stakeholders and discuss the key features of the project. However, to make an effective decision on an RFP, executives should involve anyone who works at the project.
After careful discussion, key stakeholders of the call center, like Head of call center and IT-executive must outline crucial features of the call center. All the company stakeholders involved in the project, got to be advised about implementing an RFP.
Key people have to decide what is important for the particular project and what business goals it contains. The customer care team - stakeholder involvement is crucial for successful RFP implementation. Agents are customer experience professionals and know a lot about how technologies and software should work.
Important open-ended questions that stakeholders must answer:
- What issues were being solved for client and agent?
- What customers fear, believe and desire the most from this project?
- How will our software integrate with customer’s issues?
- What are the short / long-term goals of our customers?
- How can we safely collect, share and store the data from customers and companies?
- What type of call center cloud environment are we ready to offer?
Setting goals and requirements discussion
Every part of the project has to be outlined in a clear and concise fashion. Stakeholders outline what exactly this project does for the call center and set requirements.
All the people that are involved should scope the entire project for the cornerstones, solutions, terms, budget, security, etc. It will be useful to hear the opinion of technical and sales staff, which are involved in project implementation.
Vendor evaluation and selection (criteria)
This is the essential process for defining the most qualified vendor for your project. This is the place where you have a wide range of vendors. Evaluate them in the sequence that matches your requirements. The most important evaluation criteria of your vendors are:
- Capabilities of vendors. Depending on your project, some vendors will be less experienced. Experience is the single most valuable asset of any kind of vendor. You don’t want to hire a newbie to make things happen, and they don’t.
Other vendors might lack knowledge and technologies or they don’t want to be involved in the long-term project. You should choose carefully to eliminate those who don’t match the project requirements.
- Clear vision of vendors. The most successful vendors in your project have a clear vision of how to bring your project to fruition. These vendors have experience, knowledge and can explain how they do each step of the project.
- Price of the vendors. Is the budget of the project matching the price vendors want to request? Some vendors charge too much or too low, depending on their experience and capacity to implement your project. The situation when you can’t afford the vendor is quite common.
However, the most qualified vendors will charge the highest fee on the market and answer all of your smart questions. So you have to decide how much money you’re ready to spend on the project.
Questions to the vendor
In the stage of bidding, you can negotiate and choose the best vendor for the project. To do so, you need to request detailed information about the vendor’s company.
When you collect the important data about connected experiences, technologies, software and discuss that information with stakeholders, you’re able to choose the vendor. The most popular questions you can ask to the vendors are:
- How does your vendor want to support and maintain the project?
- Is the price fair for the particular project?
- Does the company have enough resources to support projects at all stages of the project?
- How will the vendor secure the data and information from the third party?
- Does it have enough protection from DDOS attacks and strong firewall that prevent the leaking of the data?
- How does the vendor control the implementation process?
- Can you track the process in real time?
- Is there a possibility of delay in time crunch?
- Is there a cloud option for a call center?
It’s important to understand if vendors agree on all terms and conditions of the contract. Are they ready to sign up the disclosure documents?
The experienced vendors usually sign up this document after careful reading or present their ideas about grey areas of the document. You need to discuss these grey areas of the contract and define cornerstones. Although this is a tightly organized process, it's inevitable on the stage of agreement.
Mistakes to avoid
To implement the quality assurance process to success, you need to avoid a few crucial mistakes.
The first biggest mistake you make on the stage of choosing vendors. You need to control choosing the right vendor that accomplishes the project successfully. Wrong or vague decisions of vendors cause the worst outcome possible. It is important to choose your vendor carefully, by evaluating complex experiences and asking relevant questions.
The second biggest mistake that companies commit is that they place an unclear or grey area in an RFP. When something doesn’t outline in the RFP, it’s up to the vendor to accomplish this task or not. Vendors don’t have to implement something that contract or RFP lack. If a vendor refuses to implement that contract, it’s absolutely legal. Be cautious, because this is a frequent and costly mistake of companies.
The third biggest mistake is that an RFP produced fast and without proper treatment. Stakeholders don’t have a clear vision about the last performance of the project. They spend too little time gathering all information, all people, all resources to find out the relevant answers. Everyone wants to achieve the best things, in a minimum time.
It’s great to have, but when money and time are involved in the project, you need to be cautious. You need to make a final decision on an RFP by listening and evaluating all the stakeholders and staff. By doing so, you eliminate most of the causes of failure.
Creating your RFP is an exciting time, but it got to build right. To be in trend about the call center industry, read more and share with articles from Voiptime company.
In the competitive market, call centers should constantly upgrade their technologies and software. And one of the astonishing and bargain low-cost upgrades it can have is the software. Software is so fast and cheap, but effective improvement of call centers. The updates in software that your call center must consider, to increase revenue:
- ACD/Call routing;
- Predictive dialer;
- Cloud solutions;
- Workforce management;
- Customer relation management system (CRM).
More than a decade, Voiptime specialized in delivering software for call centers to increase their revenues, response and customer experiences. Our company has useful cloud capabilities to move your call center and increase effectiveness. It’s easy to order software from us and improve your call center today.
It’s easy to order new software for your call center, just dial 1-720-362-5005, from 9 AM to 6 PM (UTC+2:00) or visit our page.