You’re putting together the biggest marketing campaign of your career. And you’re pleased with how nicely it’s coming together. Your company has committed a lot of money to your plan, and their future is riding on the results you promised to provide. Quite literally your job is on the line. You have great confidence in your abilities as a marketer, but there’s a call center element to your plan, that frankly is keeping you up at night. If the call center falls flat, so does the outcome, and so do you. But you’re a marketer, not a call center expert. How do you find a good call center that won’t let you down? Is there any way to determine which ones merely talk a good game from those who can actually deliver? Your plan is nearly perfect, but the call center is your weakest link. What should you do? The Old Way: The conventional wisdom is to develop a comprehensive RFP (request for proposal) and send it out to several dozen promising outsource call centers. You give them several weeks to fill out the massive document. You wait. Hopeful. Expectant. Worried. A few come in, but the response isn’t great. You extend the deadline and resend it to those who didn’t respond. Plus, you send it out to fifty more call centers. And you wait again. You only need one good response, but still you’re mostly worried. Finally, you have an acceptable number of responses. You wade through them, scoring their answers on a massive spreadsheet you designed. The options blur. They all seem the same or nearly so. You take a thorough look at the three call centers with the highest composite scores. Next you make site visits. That helps some because you eliminate one of them. Now you’re down to two. You can’t decide so you pick the one with the lowest price. Even though you’re still not sure if they can get the job done. After all this time and effort, the call center is still your weakest link. The New Way: The enlightened option is to find a firm that specializes as a matchmaker for call centers. Yes, they exist. Some go by call center broker. Others call themselves a call center locator service. Another segment uses the phrase call center finder. Regardless of what they call themselves, a professional call center broker will help match you with the ideal call center. This will not be a generic, one-size-fits-all call center, but one that fits you and your needs, your ideal match. Call center brokers have already vetted several dozen, if not hundreds, of call centers. They know the strengths and weaknesses of each one. They can quickly determine the ones that will be a good match for you, your company, and your campaign. Because the call center broker already knows these call centers, they bypass the lengthy and convoluted RFP process. This shaves weeks and even months off the process. When you work with a call center broker you can be as involved or as hands off as you want. And once you make the final selection, the call center broker can continue to be involved, if you wish them to. They can manage the call center, provide training, produce progress reports, and oversee the call center portion of the campaign. The call center broker’s role is to serve you, starting with call center selection and remaining as involved as you wish for as long as you want. When it comes to finding a call center, use a call center broker. Call center matchmaking is what they do. Janet Livingston is the president ofCall Center Sales Pro—a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center and telephone answering service industry—that provides a call center matchmaking service, covering both onshore and offshore call centers and answering services. Contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-901-7706. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.