The Q4 call center staffing crunch is real. And it’s coming.
Contact center business leaders that outsource services to BPO providers often struggle to field enough qualified agents ahead of the end-of-year push. And with inquiry rates and order volume peaking for many in Q4, it’s easy to see why.
Let’s be clear: current hiring challenges are at peak Q4 levels in terms of staffing, and this is just normal demand. If hiring woes persist as we ramp into end-of-year, you’re going to be facing an even bigger gap between your staffing needs and the availability of qualified, affordable agents.
Sparked by a sputtering labor market where hiring and retaining top talent has become increasingly difficult, the fourth quarter of 2021 is projected to align with (perhaps) an unprecedented rise in consumer activity, as the country continues to reopen and embrace a lifestyle they had to abandon in 2020.
In short, call center staffing is becoming a game of musical chairs between you and your competitors. As we get closer to Q4, the music will quicken and chairs will start getting pulled, and some businesses are going to be left standing – without the affordable labor support to handle peak demand.
This year’s Q4 crunch has come early. But outsourcing holds the key to solving this problem.
Business leaders that want to avoid this severe Q4 obstacle (and outperform their competitors) need to take action. It starts with re-evaluating your current service needs and agent capacity so you can make adjustments before it’s too late.
Here are a few ways to ensure you don’t get caught with insufficient contact center support in Q4:
Move Support Nearshore or Offshore
While labor shortages run rampant domestically, the same problems aren’t even close in nearshore and offshore locations. That means many outsourced partners are currently available (with agent capacity and industry expertise) to help ease the coming crunch in Q4.
And these services typically come at a lower cost, nearly 50% less than domestic BPO options.
The current labor climate has business leaders exploring different outsourcing strategies, and simply moving support nearshore or offshore has increased in popularity in recent years.
With more than a generation of BPO experience, nearshore and offshore providers have provided key contact center services to some of the largest U.S. organizations. The overall skill and quality of nearshore/offshore BPOs have grown exponentially over the last decade, closing the gap between domestic providers across key skills, such as:
- Strong English-language fluency
- Strong understanding of US culture
- Technical support
- Order and fulfillment
- Outbound sales
- And much more…
If you’re encountering any staffing or attrition challenges now or anticipating a Q4 support crunch, consider relocating services to nearshore and offshore outsource call centers that are free of current domestic labor shortages and retention headaches.
Go with a Middle Market Contact Center Partner
Your outsourcing choices will largely depend on the information you have front-and-center. But, as lifelong consumers know, the obvious option isn’t always the best option.
That’s certainly the case with middle-market contact center providers, who compete for business against larger brands with bigger marketing budgets. But when it comes down to the work, middle-market BPOs very often outperform their competitors.
In many cases, it’s because your services with a middle-market partner comprise a larger share of their overall business. Put simply: you’re a bigger fish in a smaller pond.
As a result, middle markets design their business services to highlight this competitive advantage, offering “white glove” attention that adds flexibility, strong performance, and a typical cost savings of over 15% – 20%.
When facing a Q4 support crisis, it’s empowering to know your contact center provider is dedicated to finding solutions that make the most sense for your staffing and performance needs because, in relative terms, your success is a much higher priority.
Spread the Wealth
While there is something to be said about one-stop partnerships, there’s nothing that says you can’t divide and conquer among numerous contact center partners so you don’t have all your eggs in one basket.
Many organizations have found great success by spreading their support among multiple BPO providers. This significantly mitigates the impact of an individual call center suddenly being faced with a challenge – like staffing shortages, performance issues, or power disruptions. Additionally, this provides an apples-to-apples comparison of your call center partners and allows you to easily see which ones are producing the best ROI.
Different services require different skills, whether it’s language quality, technical expertise, or certifications. Segmenting your support by channel or service type allows you to select the BPO that’s best suited for the task, maximize your investment, and provide an exceptional customer experience.
And with flexible and non-restrictive pricing models becoming more prevalent and (frankly) welcomed, there’s simply no reason a savvy business leader can’t select BPO providers a la carte, based on their specific needs.
Time is Running Out — Get the Q4 Support You Need NOW Before It’s TOO LATE
Outsource Consultants is a call center outsourcing advisory firm that has a team of BPO experts with more than 150 years of combined industry experience helping leading global brands solve their biggest outsourcing challenges.
We make it simple to connect your business with top-performing BPO providers that have strong labor pools with skilled and affordable agents, even in the face of a historic labor shortage.
If you’re looking to explore nearshore, offshore, middle-market, or flexible BPO options, there’s no one better to point you in the right direction.
Our role is to make life as simple and easy as possible, as you explore which BPO partners can help you meet your specific goals and not leave you behind your competition as the Q4 capacity chairs start getting pulled, as many businesses are going to be left standing – without the affordable labor support to handle peak Q4 demand.
Our team has spent years vetting contact center partners so you don’t have to. With Q4 already on the horizon, you need to take action now — and we can help.
Contact us for a risk-free, no-cost consultation to see how to get started.