Having a single focus on a core service or product is increasingly important to modern businesses in Australia. Once upon a time, bigger was seen as better. Businesses sought to grow, entering new markets, and extending their ownership vertically, opening retail units or purchasing manufacturers. But that trend has reversed; even GE, once the poster child of conglomerates, has divested most of its businesses. The trend, however, does not only include a focused product or service range, it also includes operational focus by using contact centre outsourcing.
Outsourcing is a well-established practice and contact centre outsourcing has experienced massive growth over the past few decades. Adoption of the practice has, however, been mixed. Many businesses have been reluctant to outsource, usually because of a misunderstanding that outsourcing means a loss of control. However, those that have embraced outsourcing, and chosen premier providers, have found the practice improves not only customer service, but also the business itself by creating more capacity for growth and a focus on its mission and core competencies.
“That trend towards specialisationis one of the reasons that contact centre outsourcing works. Business process outsourcing providers are specialists with deep domain expertise in certain areas, and therefore every element of their business focuses on delivering better, meaning higher quality services than can be achieved in-house,” says Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, one of leading mid-sized call centres in the Philippines.
The buildings they occupy are often be custom-built, or at the very least selected and adapted for their suitability. The infrastructure and technologiesare designed for contact centres, ensuring an environment that meets or exceeds the needs of customers’ service and data security levels.
Staff who work in call centre outsourcing follow that specialisation, with many attracted because they want to work in customer service. Plus, because call centres also tend to be much larger than in-house operations, staff have far better access to training and career development. Better facilities and better staff mean a better experience for customers.
A major attraction, though, are the savings that can be realized. The combination of scale and specialization that external providers have means their operating costs are significantly lower. The capital costs, for example, are usually shared between multiple clients, offering economies of scale and a distribution of the fixed costs. And internal business support are lean, focused on just one business area, rather than having to cater for multiple departments and disciplines in the same way as their client’s HR or finance teams might. Even at the lower end of the scale these would mean a typical savings of 10-15% when compared to in-house provision for a business choosing an onshore provider at the same service level.
For many the potential for improved customer service along with the capacity it creates, allowing a business’s leadership and support to focus even more on its core business, are enough to justify an outsourcing decision. However, the savings are the icing on the cake. Indeed, if savings are important, choosing an offshore provider can have an even better effect on the bottom line. The Philippines, for example, has become a world-leader for outsourcing, in large part because of the highly educated, and highly English-proficient staff it offers. Premier BPOs in the Philippinessuch as PITON-Global, that are offering the same or higher service levels than onshore providers, can be as much as 40-50% cheaper. “Whatever the motivation behind contact centre outsourcing, the combined arguments make a compelling case for any business looking to thrive in today’s challenging environment,” says Ellspermann.