Outsource Customer Service? Here's How You Negotiate With A BPO Service Provider

Planning To Outsource Customer Service? Here’s How You Negotiate With A BPO Service Provider (Part 1 of 2)

Are you sifting through offers and counter-offers from providers? Option is always a good thing, the more the merrier. But, squeezing the best deal out of your candidates requires different skill: negotiation. If you’re going to outsource customer service, the negotiations determine how feasible the terms turn out. You don’t want to be on the losing end of the agreement, even if it’s a bargain.

Silence is a tactic seldom used in negotiations. But, if timed properly and in the right context, your silence will give you the upper hand. Here are three opportunities you’ll leverage by staying quiet:

1. When The Other Party Makes An Unreasonable Demand

Your impulse could be to protest with a retort, but in almost every occasion it’s better to stay quiet. At the very least, sustain a prolonged pause. The other party might be thinking you’ll cave in or argue; either way they get what they wanted. It’s also possible the goal is to obtain a reaction from you; will you flinch?

The best response is to keep your composure and stay still. This is effective if you don’t know exactly how to respond, not yet. The other party may have caught you off guard. Don’t show it, stall until you’ve regained your bearing.

2. When You Realize You’re Monopolizing The Talk Time

It happens. You’re so engrossed in your pitch you forget the other party may have reservations with your proposal. Or the questions piled up unaddressed because you’ve rattled so much information it’s too late to backtrack. Note that some prospects like to bide their time so they can build a case against your offer, and then retaliate with a nasty, point-to-point counter.

Discretion is important in negotiations; tread slowly, like you’re walking on eggshells. Share only information relevant to the negotiation, the bare minimum. Everything else can wait. Compare the conversation (or correspondence) to chess, where every move you make has end-game consequence.

3. When The Other Party Is Speaking

Never interrupt; it works to your advantage. If you’re going to outsource customer service, apply the principle of good conversation with intentional listening. Is your prospect five minutes into a litany of terms and exclusions? Hear the other party out; approach it as someone after a bargain, and find a way to turn the tables, if you can.

Take notes, and use these as fodder for your counter-offer. It’s ideal if the negotiation is conducted over email, but the same principles apply in person or over the phone. Maintain presence of mind in the interchange, and resist any urge to butt in on your prospect’s spiel.

Finding the best BPO service provider can be a challenge, especially if you want to outsource customer service to a provider with the most feasible bid. Remember, silence is your ally in negotiations; when in doubt, pause and resist the urge the speak out.

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