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Finding Success between Shores

January 15, 2013 Dilip Barot

Today, business decision-makers have more choices for outsourcing call center operations.  From onshore, to off shore, to near shore… there is no shortage of people or places that are willing to host and manage your daily customer service work.

The benefit of going off shore or near shore remains the same.  Save money.  According to Gartner, 80% of companies name cost cutting as the main reason for outsourcing¹. It is reported that the average savings for outsourced operations is about 20%.  However, for some specific work functions, moving operations off shore to places like India, the Philippines and Malaysia can reduce hourly operating expenses up to 50%.

And while the trend may be to save money, more and more businesses across the US are bringing work back stateside.  There are several reasons this trend is growing.  Key drivers include the language barriers for some locations; the physical travel distance for onsite-inspection and management; and most recently the added pressure by the US government to increase jobs in America. In fact, it is anticipated post the 2012 election, that President Obama will re-introduce a bill to offer a 20% tax break for businesses willing to bring jobs back to the states².

For some organizations, the answer is black or white.  You either stay on US soil or move your business off shore.  However, many business executives are finding that a mix of the sourcing alternatives provides the best bang for their buck and allows for a more balanced approach to managing their customer service needs and bottom line.

Partnering with an outsourcer that offers the flexibility of “all shores” is a great way to maximize operational excellence and profitability.   Selecting the right partner is the key.  The following tips are suggested when considering a multi “Shore” BPO:

  1. US presence.  

    Most US businesses are seeking experienced contact center professionals that can relate to their customers.  Working with a BPO that has a strong operating presence in the US, with a seasoned management team, is the best way to assure you will receive the cultural support that you need.  Too often you will find that off shore BPOs host a small sales office in the US but have no physical contact centers or experience working domestically.  Securing a BPO partner that has US executives that have managed or served in off shore locations is ideal.

  2. Experience matters.

    The contact center space is extremely competitive and the hungry sales executive will tell you the same story “We can do anything”.  The bottom line however is that experience matters.  Find a partner that has worked the campaigns for the industry you seek.  Benchmark their results to others providers.  Select one that knows your industry and you will gain speed to market.  It might take you a little longer to select the right partner but in the end, you will benefit from hiring experienced agents that can deliver results from day one.

  3. Shore to Shore.

    As a business ebbs and flows, the type of work functions you may need to outsource will vary.  Functions can range from inbound/outbound service, sales, back office support, order entry, email/chat, help desk and even social media.  This is why finding a partner with location and resource options becomes important.

    Some clients choose to outsource highly intensive work functions like dispute handling and customer service to an onshore location to avoid any additional frustration with language barriers. While others find that outsourcing chat and back office functions to off shore facilities is a great way to leverage highly educated resources without degrading the quality of their customer relationships. Identifying and implementing the right mix for your business is a lot easier when you have a partner who offers you all choices.  Leveraging a mix and match approach allows the client to target the right people at the right time – at the right cost.

  4. One Stop Shop.

    If you have ever used disparate systems, you know all too well the difficulty of integrating the information across platforms/applications. You are certainly not alone.  According to an industry report, Contact Center leaders ranked consolidated reporting as their highest IT priority³.  Utilizing one full service provider that has a consistent reporting process gives you added insight to review program effectiveness and adjust on a real-time basis.  Having one leadership team across all centers is another added bonus.  As the client, one stop shopping gives you the benefit of consistent management direction, overall execution and easier communication for all parties.

Regardless of which “shore” you choose using these few tips will help enhance your selection process and increase your overall success rate.

Dilip Barot is the founder and Chief Strategist of Etech Global Services, a multi-national leading provider of customer contact and business process outsourcing solutions.  Etech employs over 3,000 contact center professionals across 7 contact centers, located in the US, India and Jamaica.  Additionally, Mr. Barot is an accomplished entrepreneur with 30 years of experience in real estate investments, asset management and commercial development.  He is founder and Chairman of Creative Choice Group, located in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  He is a highly sought speaker and has been featured in both national and international publications including Forbes Magazine, US Chamber of Commerce and Reader’s Digest.

¹TMC.net 2009
²InterAksyon 2012
³Contact Babel 2010 Decision Makers Guide