In 2010, business tycoon and philanthropist Azim Premji was voted as one of the 20 most powerful men in the world by Asiaweek and twice listed among the 100 most influential people by Time Magazine.
Premji, chairman of IT services giant Wipro, saw a great potential in global outsourcing and leveraged it to build his business empire which led him to be named as one of the world’s top outsourcing billionaires.
A practical yet accurate definition of outsourcing is the strategic use of outside resources to perform activities traditionally handled by internal staff and resources.
An organization strategically contracts out major functions to specialized and efficient service providers, who ultimately become valued business partners. In some cases, outsourcing involves the transfer of employees from the company to the outsourcing company.
Outsource to get things done better
Former US Cabinet Secretary and former vice president of JPMorgan Chase Alphonso Jackson has also embraced the importance of outsourcing services, seeing how it can effectively take advantage of talents and skillsets required for businesses to improve productivity and work efficiencies.
Many if not most American companies outsource their non-core functions to channel resources and reinvest savings into a company’s main functions, which has been found to increase profit.
For instance, a giant retail company may send its accounting work to business process outsourcing (BPO) service providers and reinvest its savings into its market research and development functions.
The New Battlefield: Customer Satisfaction
“If we can keep our competitors focused on us while we stay focused on the customer, ultimately we’ll turn out all right.”
– Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon
Customer experience is the modern-day battleground in a highly competitive marketplace and the truth is, you need allies that could help you gain an advantage rather than one that becomes a liability.
It is unlikely that you want to do business with someone who treats you or your customers poorly.
An overall experience to a customer service center affects your future decisions. According to Deloitte, 62% of companies view customer experience delivered by the contact centers as a competitive differentiator.
“Excellent customer service is the number one job in any company! It is the personality of the company and the reason customers come back. Without customers, there is no company!”
– Connie Elder, founder and CEO of Peak 10 Skin
If you need to ensure that your customers stay loyal it is important to invest in the experience and consumer market research group Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than 50% of organizations have redirected their investments to customer experience innovations and network platforms.
The survey by Gartner also revealed companies that implement customer experience programs start by focusing on methods to collect and analyze customer feedback, which becomes an effective means of meeting customer expectations.
“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.”
– Jeff Bezos
The Amazing Benefits of Call Center Outsourcing
There are many reasons why companies choose to outsource certain business functions and the most common reasons include the following:
Minimizing and controlling operating costs
The practice of call center outsourcing is by means of contracting out call center services and a lot of companies began outsourcing to save money. They found it was more cost-effective to operate call centers in areas with a lower cost of living and at the same time be able to reduce costs.
On average, a US call center agent gets $14 an hour in basic pay aside from overtime, health, and other mandatory benefits. In the Philippines, an entry-level call center agent gets paid an average of $2 an hour, give or take another $1 to cover costs for social service and every other government-sanctioned benefit.
Honing in on core targets
Companies gain more traction in business when they are able to focus more on their core functions and primary responsibilities as a business.
In periods of rapid growth for a business, the back-end operations of a business expand and require a higher expenditure for resources. When businesses allocate more resources to performing secondary activities, companies end up with less money to provide quality front-end services. Call center outsourcing for customer services frees up more vital resources so that businesses can use them where it counts.
Strong access to world-class advanced technologies
Call center outsourcing providers compete for domination by being up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies that they can provide to their clients. This makes their services more innovative and attractive to customers.
“The future of communicating with customers rests in engaging with them through every possible channel: phone, e-mail, chat, Web, and social networks. Customers are discussing a company’s products and brand in real time. Companies need to join the conversation.”
– Marc Benioff, Co-Founder and CEO of salesforce.com.
Technological adaption is critical to their call center outsourcing services, which is why providers invest in service development without the client taking the burden of keeping up with new customer service technologies.
Increase customer satisfaction
Remember that outsourced call center services ensure businesses with the confidence that their operational customer service channels can be made available round the clock. This creates a positive impression on a business by providing 24/7 access to after-sales services or support.
“Customer Service is everything and anything that touches a customer – directly or indirectly. Customer service means servicing customers, and it’s so much more than just solving problems or addressing complaints. Customer service is part of a holistic customer experience that is capable of providing a critical competitive advantage in today’s increasingly cluttered and commoditized marketplace.”
– Joseph Jaffe, founder of Evol8tion.
Call center outsourcing can improve customer service response time in a matter of minutes and significantly reduce or minimize call abandonment.
Outsourced call center agents will able to effectively handle peak call volume and spend more time meeting and address customers’ needs. Effectively reducing wait time and providing access to better customer support services translate to more satisfied customers.
Understanding and mitigating risks in call center outsourcing
Of course, handing over your customer service or technical support channels to third parties are not without risks.
Losing operational control
Companies are aware of the risk of handing over control of their customer service channels over to third parties, which is the call center outsourcing provider.
However, this can be addressed by finding the right call center outsourcing provider that is capable of reflecting the company’s branding image and reputation to its customers.
Data security breaches
Businesses or organizations are at risk of data breaches especially since confidential and sensitive information such as customer data are shared with third party service providers. Call center service providers that lack the capability to ensure data security from cyber attackers or hackers can be a big problem and result in damaging the contracting company’s reputation with clients and the market.
“Information is a significant component of most organizations’ competitive strategy either by the direct collection, management, and interpretation of business information or the retention of information for day-to-day business processing. Some of the more obvious results of IS failures include reputational damage, placing the organization at a competitive disadvantage, and contractual noncompliance. These impacts should not be underestimated.”
― Institute of Internal Auditors
In 2017, more than half of the companies in the US experienced network attacks which compromised data and IT infrastructure networks. 77% of those attacks used exploits or fileless techniques. This is currently one of the most popular ways where hackers send out executable files that present itself as harmless or insignificant files but are programmed to bypass security solutions.
However, attacks such as these can be remedied by call center outsourcing providers that are constantly keeping up with the latest cyber security and data protection technologies.
Language or communication barriers
Call center outsourcing services that do not pay attention to hiring quality customer support agents in foreign countries can result in heavy accents and a cultural disconnect with American consumers.
Communication barriers exist with outsourced call centers, even in US outsourcing providers, if the agents are not properly trained and vetted.
The challenges of resolving customer service issues when there is a language barrier or a poorly trained agent can lead to longer handle times and lower performance across customer-centric metrics such as first-call resolution (FCR), customer satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS).
But while there are risks to outsourcing call center services, there are definitely ways that you can get around it and rest assured that your customers are well taken care of.
Looking to outsource? Try the Philippines
In 2015, the Philippines economy was ranked the 39th largest in the world by the International Monetary Fund and considered as one of the most promising emerging markets in the world.
“Filipinos are known to speak English fluently. This is important when it comes to handling any clients. It also ensures that any internal communication isn’t lost in translation. Secondly, the Philippine political environment has improved drastically over the recent years. The country’s economy has shifted from one that was once predominantly focused on agriculture, to one that is now highly concerned with services and manufacturing. This is seen with the pursuit of legislative reforms to improve the scope of entrepreneurial opportunities and broader-based employment windows.“
– Mike Larcher, founder and CEO of Outsourced, AcidGreen and Academ.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and World Bank ranked the Philippines 138th out of 185 growing economies worldwide primarily for “ease of doing business” in the country by many foreign companies and businesses.
Philippine Secret: Well-adapted to Western Culture
The Philippines has been known to be one of the happiest, hard-working and nicest people you can find and has earned its call center outsourcing industry the reputation of being the “next BPO destination.”
The affinity of the Philippines to US culture is due to its history of being colonized by the US in the late 1800’s. It has adopted the US educational system since then and decades of American influence has blended well into the mainstream cultural backdrop of the country.
“The contact-center industry in the Philippines is rapidly evolving to meet the requirements of customer-experience delivery, and will continue to have a strong leading value proposition,”
– H. Karthik, Everest Group Global Sourcing Partner
The Philippines remains to be among the top nations in call center outsourcing services. In 2017, the local BPO industry generated $13 billion in export revenues.
It has seen a 17% increase in growth for the past six years and is expected to see the steady annual growth of about 8-9% for an estimated $20 billion by 2022.
Under the country’s 2022 road map, the BPO is seen to generate revenues of $38.9 billion by 2022 from a six-year revenue of $25 billion until 2016.
Are you ready to take advantage of world-class professional call center outsourcing services in the Philippines? There’s no reason why you shouldn’t.