To Outsource or not? That is the question! And a BIG question it is as companies head into 2014. There are many opinions circulating out “there” as to whether or not businesses should continue to outsource the ever-increasingly important part of their business known as The Contact Center.
For many businesses, the Contact Center is the first point of contact between a business and the customer, so ensuring a positive customer experience is crucial. In the past, many businesses have seen the contact center as a small part of what they do, turning this part of their business over to outsourced providers as a means of reducing operating costs. However, companies are now thinking long and hard about outsourcing and are thoroughly evaluating outsourcing partners before making a decision.
First, some businesses are looking at the cost/benefit of their call center locations. Instead of outsourcing all of their customer service offshore, for example, companies are considering the best locations for each function. Companies are outsourcing different functions offshore, onshore and near shore which provide cost savings and also provide the perfect blend of skills for those tasks.
A second major factor driving outsourcing trends is the issue of security. With more devices in use, the risks to personal information increase significantly. Many businesses are finding that having very experienced contact center partners with proven secured environments are a must-have, whether onshore, near shore or offshore. The main issue is finding the most secure environment when it comes to protecting their customers’ personal information. Companies are also interested in having the contact center themselves, or the headquarter location, nearby so it is easier to monitor how personal information is being handled. More devices, along with changes in technology such as mobile apps and social media, are also contributing factors to the current shift we’re seeing.
Finally, for many companies, there has been a shift in how they see the contact center. Where as in the past, many saw it as a small part of what they do, the contact center is now shifting to a more “front and center” part of operations. Because it is the first point of contact between the company and the customer, many businesses are seeing the importance of devoting more resources to the contact center. This includes providing a higher level of training to contact center employees, investing in new technology and ensuring their customer service is excellent with a robust quality monitoring program. Companies are also evaluating their internal customer service capabilities closely and determining if relying on an outsourced partner with deep expertise would provide better service to their customers than they can manage internally.
Contact centers are emerging as “the emotional hub” of the company, where customers voice concerns, questions and go to solve problems. As technology continues to evolve along with the impact of social media, businesses are finding that keeping the increasingly important contact center with a trusted, experienced, and secure partner who provides offshore, onshore and near shore options, is proving to be the right answer.