Customer Service Outsourcing | A Year of Change
A year ago I wrote about what I perceived to be happening in the World of customer service outsourcing. I’m pleased to report that prediction proved to be accurate, not least in the rapid expansion we have seen in Interaction’s own customer service outsourcing business. A year ago I wrote about the changing dynamics of customer service outsourcing. At that time there was coverage in the media of three large UK financial services companies who were relocating back to the UK their customer service outsourcing from the Far East. So what is happening?
- The cost bases associated with customer service outsourcing within most first world countries (with the noticeable exception of Germany) has reduced back to levels last seen a decade ago
- Customer Service is typically not a priority for companies struggling with the harshest pressures of a global recession, however, as the recession continues, intense competition means the voice of the customer becomes ever louder
- Social Media is changing customer service outsourcing and re-shaping customers expectations about how they interact with suppliers of products and services. It’s becoming more operationally demanding to rapport* customers
The combination of these three new realities has meant we are now (without doubt) in a new phase for customer service outsourcing. What does this mean for companies considering customer service outsourcing?
- Geography is not a primary driver. We have seen many trends:Ireland’s boom as a multilingual call centre destination, the rise ofIndia and thePhilippines as far shore locations etc. Many locations have gone through ups and downs in popularity. Geography per se is not the critical factor for successful customer service outsourcing. The number one reason that customer service outsourcing ‘fails’ is because there is a disconnect between the customer service strategy and how it is implemented. Scratch under the surface of any ‘retreat’ from far shore customer service outsourcing and you will see what I mean.
- Directly link the customer service strategic intent to how your operations function. Successful customer service outsourcing requires providers to invest the time and effort to understand the clients customer service strategy and then build operational solutions that will deliver on that strategy. Our advice is to seek out the providers that best understand your strategy and have the capability to tailor a solution to your needs.
- As much as possible don't switch media when interacting with customers, if at all possible. The new challenge to customer service outsourcing is from Social media which has significantly increased the number of communications options: twitter, facebook, linkedin, mobile, web forums etc.
Evaluating your customer service outsourcing strategy? Then contact us to find our more.
Note *: Rapport in the call centre industry means the ability to communicate effectively with customers. The first rule of rapport is to communicate to customers in their preferred medium:
- If a customer writes to you by letter, then write back to them
- If a customer emails, then respond via email
- Phone etc.
Authored by John Drury, Sales Director at INTERACTION of Europe