Outsourcing has become a common feature of modern business. From the beginnings of rudimentary manufacture, craftsmen have outsourced elements of their trade. A carpenter or blacksmith, for example, would focus on their craft and get their raw materials from loggers or miners. And this has continued into the knowledge age, even down to businesses being able to outsource small pieces of work via the gig economy. One of the most common forms of modern outsourcing has been in business process outsourcing and one of the most successful has been the use of contact centre services.
Despite it being commonplace, there remains some reluctance to outsource. The hesitation is usually fuelled by a fear of loss of control or concern over quality. This is especially pronounced during economic downturns, when businesses frequently suspend plans to outsource or bring services back in-house. In fact, good outsourcing can improve service quality, and there are several reasons why call centre services can be a better option.
Ultimately, the benefit comes down to it being a specialist service, a partner organisation is set up with just one purpose: providing excellent contact centre services. This is reflected in things like the operating premises. These are often custom-built, and even when not, selected because of their suitability for the purpose. In-house teams tend to be housed in a space that isn’t needed for the business’s core products and processes. The investment continues to the infrastructure. “Contact management has moved beyond simply having phones and call agents. Contact centres have robust data management and AI-assisted processes, all ensuring every contact gets the best possible service,” says Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, a leading mid-sized outsourcing provider in the Philippines specialising in high-performance contact centre services.
And contact centres invest heavily in their staff. Because they have a single purpose, their training and development are all centred around a single goal. Also because they are larger than individual in-house operations this provides more opportunities for staff, resulting in better staff retention and more professionalism. “Combined with the better people, processes, technologies and facilities, this means customers can expect a much better experience than they would get at an in-house centre,” says Ellspermann.
The eye-catching benefit is the savings. Outsourcing can result in significantly lower capital and revenue costs. External contact centre services benefit from being larger, meaning that the costs are shared between multiple clients, whether that’s the building cost or the overhead costs of support services like HR or finance. Additionally, their scale also means that they can use their resources more efficiently. Being a global industry means that seats can be used around the clock, avoiding the expense of in-house call centre services that might be totally unused outside core office hours. And the savings are big, a domestic call centre offering the same level as an in-house service will typically be 10-15% cheaper.
Selecting an offshore provider can generate even bigger savings. Centres like those in the Philippines have become major global providers of contact centre services because of the high levels of English fluency, often without a detectable accent, in the country. Outsourcing to the Philippines is particularly popular in the Australian market, partly because of the close time zone, but perhaps because call centres there can provide a saving of 40-50% while still enhancing service levels. “Choosing a contact centre provider requires care and attention to ensure the contract details are right but done well can leave customers delighted with exceptional services and lower prices, while pleasing investors by helping return healthy profits,” says Ellspermann.
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