20 Sep Why choose offshore outsourcing? It’s about far more than cost savings
When businesses consider outsourcing to a business process outsourcer (BPO) or offshore contact centre, they’re considering a strategic business decision. They need to decide whether the overseas contact centre can manage customer service operations in a way that meets and hopefully exceeds their in-house standards.
At CCI South Africa, we work for numerous partners from different sectors. They’re based all around the world and choose offshore outsourcing for the quality of our service. Outdated perceptions of offshore outsourcing revolve around cost. But today’s business decisions are far more complex than simply slashing costs of delivery of customer service interactions. Offshore outsourcing for all aspecs of the customer journey, specifically customer service, is gaining more traction than ever before.
Reasons why businesses are choosing offshore outsourcing for call centre operations
More companies than ever are choosing to leverage offshore BPOs. Industry giants like The Wall Street Journal and Time Warner Inc have outsourced at least part of their contact centre workforce. The debate over whether call centre offshore outsourcing is the most beneficial choice for a business is still ongoing, of course. Some industry leaders still argue that keeping customer service in-house makes more sense, but these same leaders must always put the customer at the top of their priorities to decide on the best possible solution, whilst also delivering the best value.
These two sides show that, whatever a business decides, this kind of strategic decision is never taken lightly.
Defining call centre offshore outsourcing
Offshore outsourcing is a strategic decision by a business to engage an external service provider outside of their country to manage their customer interactions, i.e. customer service. The external BPO will usually provide every part of the service, from recruiting and training agents, technology and on-going management of employees.
The most successful contact centres that take on client partners from overseas are ground-up operations. Our Durban call centre was designed, created and built by us. We were able to create the ideal ‘city style’ campus building with every benefit for our employees in order to provide the best service for our clients. And that’s where good overseas contact centres excel.
It has to be a ‘no-brainer’ decision for the business engaging the service. Outsourcing some or all of a company’s call centre operations should provide them with the same level of service (or better) that they could provide themselves. Agents must seamlessly blend in with the client partner’s branding, business and communication style.
Businesses can outsource a part of their call centre operations, such as customer service, billing, sales, or support. Or they can opt to outsource the entire call centre service, in which case they generally take an operational ‘hands-off’ approach and the contact centre takes responsibility.
Key reasons to choose offshore outsourcing include:
- Significant cost savings
While the cost of offshore outsourcing is not the sole reason to choose this option, it is obviously a consideration. The fact remains that offshore outsourcing can significantly reduce the cost ‘v’ running an internal call centre. As the BPO takes over everything from labour costs to operational, infrastructure and building overseas, the savings for the business can be significant, ‘v’ comparable on-shore costs.
- Eliminates all employee issues for outsourcer
CCI South Africa works with our partner CareerBox, who provide us with high quality, fully vetted employees. They’re then onboarded to the client or project that they are assigned to, which means they are ready to go from the moment they start with us. All of these issues are therefore removed from the client, saving them time, money and training challenges and adding significant flexibility.
- Customer service 24 hours a day at a lower cost
Outsourced contact centres operate across multiple time zones and can provide 24/7 customer service for businesses that otherwise would not have the capacity. In today’s ultra-connected world this is now a necessity for most high-level businesses. Consumers expect to be able to contact businesses, services and brands at a time to suit them.
- Eliminates issues with overflow call volumes
Companies can opt to outsource just a part of their operations. For example, when there are high volumes of calls, the contact centre pick up the overflow. This is an ideal solution for an issue that could cost a business money and damage their reputation.
- Ensures business continuity
Most high quality contact centre providers are open 24 hours a day. They offer teams of agents that are dedicated to each brand or business, and often have technology based in multiple locations. They also keep on top of the best technology and operations systems and guarantee uptime. Internal training programmes ensure that call quality is always at its best at all times. In short, businesses that outsource to contact centres overseas can rely on the service provider to take care of all aspects of their customer service.
Tackling common misconceptions about overseas outsourcing
Offshore outsourcing is not about giving the contract to the cheapest provider. This will inevitably end up costing the business more in lost service levels and customer dissatisfaction. But the outsourced contact centre industry has changed enormously over the last decade.
Selecting the ideal BPO covers all kinds of concerns that businesses often cite when considering offshore outsourcing. I’ll run through some of the most common concerns from businesses below:
- Cultural and linguistic barriers
Businesses may worry that overseas agents won’t have the linguistic fluency or cultural knowledge to communicate well with customers. High-level outsourced BPOs train agents to ensure this is not an issue. Specific training of agents is absolutely vital to ensure the contact centre can offer truly effective customer service to a client located in another country.
- Lack of control over vital business operations
Outsourcing major business operations could be construed a major risk. Vital business services going into an untested company’s hands could cause anxiety. However, this should be mitigated with a strong quality assurance infrastructure, regular reporting and total transparency.
- Agents won’t have enough knowledge of the company
This again comes back to training. The contact centre or BPO has a duty to train agents in all of the relevant information. Often, focused contact centres will have the best technology that delivers information directly to agents. The idea is to ensure agents are an extension of the client’s business, so that they are indistinguishable by the customer.
Mark Chana is an experienced business and call centre leader. He is the Chief Operating Officer of CCI Global and Managing Director of CCI South Africa. At CCI Global, Mark Chana has ultimate responsibility for all group operations, business development, and company performance. He is also the Managing Director of CCI South Africa.