When looking to outsource call centre activity, it is important to define the process by which you will conduct the vendor selection. For many companies, one of the pivotal parts of this process is the RFP (response for proposal). However, for those who are new to outsourcing such activity, how to go about defining what the RFP should cover can be a challenge so here is a quick guide.
There are a few golden rules to producing the RFP:
Firstly, you need to decide whether you need one at all. The rule I always work to is that if you're unsure whether you need an RFP, then you probably do. Although, it may seem rather a dull process to go through, it does enable you to make a rational decision and for all interested parties within the buying organisation to be consulted.
Secondly, you need to decide who is to be involved in what information is requested and how this information is assessed. The more people involved, the more challenging and expensive the process can be. In many cases, the assessment of the RFPs is left to procurement but they need to take guidance from internal stakeholders as to their priorities. It's quite common for the process to have people involved from IT, Operations, Procurement & Finance in the process but it's important that the roles everyone has is clearly defined and for you not to create unnecessary work for each party.
Once you know who is to be involved, you need to define the process. This includes a series of timelines, approvals and nominating responsible personnel. If this is the first time you have gone through this process, take your time over defining the entire process. It will save time and problems in the long run.
Now that you have the process defined, it's time to start deciding what should be included. It may seem an obvious thing to say but the RFP should include exactly the information you need, nothing more & nothing less. Over recent years, the length of call centre RFPs has grown & grown all of which costs both the buyer and the outsourced vendor time and resources to process. A typical RFP will include a number of standard factors many of which will need to be specifically tailored to this process. As a standard, it needs to include the following areas which don't need to be responded to:
(1) Details of the work to be processed
(2) Details of the process by which the RFPS will be assessed and details of the subsequent stages of the process including all timelines and the mode of delivery for responses.
(3) Explanatory notes to enable the call centre to properly answer the questions
(4) Details of how to ask questions
In the response section of the RFP, these are the standard sections which are included:
(1) Contact details for the point person
(2) Details of the proposed location
(3) Technology related questions such as how systems will be integrated and telecommunications delivered
(4) Recruitment questions such as the profile of agents, whether they will be internal external recruits, how recruitment will be handled, how replacements will be handled.
(5) Operational management including how performance will be managed and how the contact points between client and vendor will be handled
(6) How the project will be implemented including a top-level project implementation plan
(7) Supporting documentation such as copies of certifications and audited accounts.
Of course, the specific questions which are to be asked need to be tailored exactly to your requirements and it may be that additional sections are required. If you would like more detailed advice on producing a call centre RFP, please contact me on 077400 96598