Is a hybrid call center right for you?
Hybrid call centers are growing in popularity as a modern solution with ample benefits for customer service teams, but they’re not right for everyone.
In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of hybrid call center models in comparison to other models to help you understand if a hybrid call center model could work for your team.
What is a Hybrid Call Center Model?
First: what exactly is a hybrid call center? This term is used in several different ways in the customer service world, but a hybrid call center model refers to a call center that uses both on-premise (in-house or in-person) and cloud-based contact center solutions.
For example, a hybrid call center may include a small, in-house team working on essential tasks with an on-premise data solution, alongside an outsourced team that uses a cloud-based solution to access necessary data. Another example would be an outsourced call center that makes use of both local teams working from the call center HQ alongside remote agents that log in virtually through cloud-based technology.
In practice, there are many ways a hybrid model can be arranged and adapted to meet your goals or needs. A mix of in-person and remote teams and technologies ultimately opens up more flexibility, functionality, cost-savings, and security options compared to using just one model.
Four Big Advantages of a Hybrid Call Center Model
Four major advantages of the hybrid call center are:
- enhanced flexibility and scalability
- improved cost-efficiency
- stronger business continuity and preparedness
- increased diversity and inclusion
Let’s take a closer look at how the hybrid model enables these benefits.
1. Offering Enhanced Flexibility and Scalability
Using a hybrid model—in short, not restricting yourself to a single model—provides the opportunity for your team to enhance your flexibility and scale much easier and more cost-effectively. A hybrid team allows you to:
- expand your team into lower-cost regions, saving money on labor costs
- increase your team’s skills, talent and expertise with a larger labor market
- offer extended customer service hours with more time zones
- take advantage of the benefits of both on-premise and cloud-based technologies
In addition, hybrid teams are much easier to scale dynamically, whether up or down. For example, if you have intense seasonal demands, a new product launch, or a one-time campaign that requires additional support, a cloud-based or remote workforce is much easier to scale up quickly and then reduce once the campaign or rush is over. As a result, a hybrid contact center solution is much more cost-effective to maintain—simply because you don’t always have to maintain the same size team, and scaling up and down is very straightforward.
2. Balancing Cost-Efficiency and Quality Service
Hybrid models also allow you to be much more cost-efficient. Not only can you use the best of both on-premise and cloud-based technology, but you can also get the best of both worlds in terms of in-person vs. remote teams, domestic vs. offshore staff, and in-house vs. external expertise.
For example, you can hire in-house for crucial roles that can provide the most value when closely connected with other areas of your business, while outsourcing smaller roles or tasks to offshore employees who have lower labor costs or allow for easier scaling. This cost-effectiveness also supports quality—by being open to both in-house or domestic staff as well as offshore staff, you can hire the best talent available regardless of location, and easily support both.
3. Facilitating Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
When it comes to business continuity, security and disaster recovery, hybrid models also deliver the best of both worlds. Many companies turn to cloud-based solutions to provide additional disaster recovery and business continuity support, since cloud-based systems have more backups, failsafes and security options than many on-premise solutions.
However, on-premise solutions also provide more control and security over essential data, which is a reason why many companies hesitate to move away from them. As with many cases, hybrid models allow you to use the best of each. A cloud-based solution can support remote workers and provide backups in case of disaster, ensuring that business operations can continue smoothly even in unexpected circumstances. At the same time, you can host items and data best secured internally on on-premise servers.
A hybrid model can also ease the transition to omnichannel or other more modern forms of customer service, without having to migrate your entire operations to the cloud. By migrating only the essential data, you can expand your performance and solutions, while still hosting crucial data in-house.
4. Fostering Diversity and Inclusion
Last in this list, but definitely not least, hybrid call centers allow you to foster and support a diverse and inclusive team, making your team stronger, more well-rounded and able to connect better with your audience. By reducing geographic boundaries through cloud-based solutions and remote workers, you can expand your team with more diverse hires. And a more diverse team lends itself to increased creativity, stronger strategies and a greater ability to connect with a diverse customer audience.
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Disadvantages of a Hybrid Call Center Model
Of course, a hybrid call center model isn’t right for every company. As with any model, it has disadvantages as well. For example, hybrid call center models:
- require your team to be able to manage multiple teams and contexts, with employees who have very different needs and experiences
- require more collaboration to ensure cohesive operations and brand consistency
- can be difficult to adjust to if you’re used to having everyone under one roof
- may restrict some employees from accessing on-premise data, requiring clear roles to avoid this hurdle
- call for effective training and SOPs that work across all teams and keep everyone on the same page
Hybrid Call Centers Compared to Other Call Center Models
That said, each call center model has its own advantages and disadvantages. Hybrid models are typically in contrast with either a fully in-house model or an outsourced call center. Take a look at the pros and cons of each in contrast with a hybrid solution:
Hybrid Call Center vs In-House
|Hybrid Call Center
|One of the most expensive models
|Using offshore or remote employees and cloud-based technology allows for cost reduction and efficiency
|Inflexible, requires everyone to be on-premise
|Very flexible, allows for the possibility of remote work or offshore workers
|Often relies on outdated (or growing outdated) technology
|Allows you to blend technology to get the benefits you need the most
|The most hands-on model, requires significant management
|Lets you keep what’s working in-house while outsourcing the rest, reduces management needed but increases collaboration needs
|Need to hire for every role and manage all specialized expertise in-house, difficult to scale or increase knowledge for specialized projects
|Able to make use of outsourced resources without depending on them completely, can hire short-term and scale easily
In short, in-house call centers offer more control and greater proximity to your team, while making it easier to integrate your customer service with other aspects of your business. However, they require more management, are often the most expensive option, and can limit your opportunities for growth and scaling. Hybrid call centers require more collaboration and communication, but allow you to increase cost-effectiveness, scalability and options by expanding your resources and technology.
Hybrid Call Center vs Offshoring
|Very inexpensive and easy to scale
|Allows you to scale cost-effectively to the degree that you need to
|Often results in reduced quality of service or work performed
|Balances quality with cost-effectiveness by allowing you to pick-and-choose what is outsourced vs. managed internally
|Increased time zone disparity can lead to communication challenges
|Increased collaboration is needed, but many staff may still remain in proximate time zones
|Can be risky to outsource sensitive data offshore
|Allows you to choose what data is stored on-premise vs. in cloud-based solutions
In short: offshoring is very affordable and provides almost effortless scalability, but reduces proximity and quality, which can lead to increased business risk. On the other hand, a hybrid model allows you to choose what can be outsourced and what should stay close to home, allowing you to gain the benefit of each without compromising.
Implementing a Hybrid Call Center Model
If a hybrid call center sounds appealing for your business, how do you go about implementing a hybrid call center model?
Begin by assessing your business needs. What are the key aspects of your customer service that would benefit from hybrid solutions? Do you need to increase your scalability, improve business continuity, upgrade outdated technology or something else? Once you understand the core needs driving a hybrid expansion, you can choose the right technology, infrastructure and partner to make a hybrid model possible and meet your needs.
Keep in mind that effective implementation doesn’t end once solutions are chosen and outsourced partners are selected—you’ll also need to continually manage both onsite and remote teams effectively to increase collaboration, consistency and communication between the two (or more) teams. While implementing a hybrid model shouldn’t upend your operations or be a massive undertaking, giving it the attention it deserves will spell the difference between a thriving team and hybrid operation and a disjointed one that struggles to achieve your goals.
Conclusion: Embracing the Hybrid Call Center Model
Is a hybrid call center model right for you?
As modern CX continues to grow and expand, hybrid models are becoming more essential as customer service teams seek to scale, meet customer needs and adapt to changing technologies and marketplaces.
For teams who are ready to embrace a hybrid solution—and the benefits it offers—working with an outsourcing partner, such as our team at ROI CX Solutions, is a key to a seamless transition and reaping all the benefits a hybrid model can offer.
Our team at ROI CX Solutions is experienced at implementing hybrid call center models for a variety of clients and industries, including education, insurance, healthcare and more. When you’re considering a hybrid call center, reach out to one of our experts—we’ll walk you through how we can help and achieve your goals.