15 Jun Is It Safe To Outsource A Call Center?
As smart business owners know, having an outsourced call center is key to balancing your budget while also delivering excellent 24-hour customer service. Outsourced call centers are affordable, efficient, and offer built-in customer service expertise that mitigates the need for training… But are they safe? In this era of data leaks and intellectual property theft, trusting your information (and your customers’ information) to a foreign third party can seem like a risky endeavor indeed. As is the case with most business decisions, however, when outsourcing is executed with due diligence, the dangers it carries are relatively minor.
Getting Started With Outsourcing: Do Your Research (about outsourced call centers )
In the United States, call center agencies are held to rigorous security standards by law. In some popular outsourcing destinations, however, this is not the case. Depending on where you outsource, call center agents may not be subjected to in-depth background checks as a matter of course and data encryption may not be standard practice. Some countries also carry a much higher risk of data and intellectual properly theft than others: China, for example, is considered as a hotspot for this kind of criminal activity, whereas countries like the Philippines and Sri Lanka typically are not.
You should therefore research the country you wish to hire call center services in thoroughly. Do they have a modern, stable technological infrastructure in place in order to facilitate data encryption? Are there laws that specifically govern the operation of call centers? Is theft (either of data or intellectual property) a prevalent issue in the country or not? By identifying existing risk factors, you will be better able to create a plan to avoid them.
You should also inquire about the physical security of the call center (or centers) you’re interested in before you hire them. Do they employ security guards and have security cameras? While physical crime (e.g., break-ins) is typically much less common in many Asian nations than it is in the United States, it’s still a good idea to make sure these basic security measures are in place.
Taking The Next Step: Using Non-Disclosure (Privacy) Agreements
Once you have verified that the call center you’re interested in is both physically and technologically secure, you’ll need to take one more step to make sure your information is legally protected: Ask the call center to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Alternately known as privacy or confidentiality agreements, non-disclosure agreements are contracts that verify, in writing, that a business is legally obligated to keep your sensitive information strictly private. Signing this type of agreement will make it illegal for the call center to share your information even in countries where there are no pre-existing laws governing call center privacy or security. As such, the signing of a non-disclosure agreement should not be seen as optional; if a call center refuses to sign a privacy agreement, don’t work with them.
Ideally, you should hire a lawyer when drafting a non-disclosure agreement, but if that is out of your budget range, you can use a free online template like the one found here.
If you take the steps outlined above, your outsourcing experience should be relatively risk and hassle free. Likewise, you must remember to keep the relative risks of outsourcing in proper perspective: Whenever you hire a freelancer or a new employee, you’re facing the same potential loopholes. Call centers are not usually especially hazardous in this regard. As the LA Times reported, “Yes, there’s a chance of ID theft [with outsourced call centers],” but that’s more probable “With an unscrupulous worker than an untrustworthy firm… And when it comes to unscrupulous workers, America has its share of home-grown scammers.” The bottom line? No matter who you’re working with and where they live, proper security protocol is always necessary.