Contact Centre Services: Why Outsourcing is the Way to Go
Every business is caught between the need for profit and the desire for lower prices. Profit is essential for business success, whether it’s to provide returns to investors or to satisfy shareholders; a business that isn’t profitable is doomed to fail. But a business also needs customers, who demand both low prices and excellent services, both of which eat away at potential profit. Using contact centre services is one way many businesses have succeeded in reconciling these two contradictory pressures.
“The most obvious way it helps is by lowering costs. An Australian business outsourcing contact centre services to an onshore provider offering the same, or a higher, service level can expect a saving of around 10-15% compared to the cost of an in-house operation. Several factors contribute to the savings, but they all have a common feature: a business, like a contact centre, that is focused on its core competencies is more efficient and effective, and therefore cost less,” says Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, an award-winning mid-sized outsourcing provider specialising in omnichannel contact centre services.
The savings start with the capital costs. In-house contact centres tend to be housed in ‘spare’ space, locations that are unused by the core business units, even those with dedicated space frequently have it sourced largely because of its proximity to the corporate centre. Dedicated call centre services, however, frequently require custom-built premises, and are usually located outside central business districts to take advantage of lower costs. They also benefit from infrastructure investment. As well as ensuring robust and secure communication links, they have invested in the equipment and software used. Contact centres have been among the earliest commercial adopters of AI, where it is used for tasks as simple as call routing, to using voice recognition to provide human agents with prompts and suggestions during their calls.
Staffing costs are also lower. Aside from frequently benefiting from low-cost locations, which has an effect on salary costs, they can operate with specialist, but smaller, support services. They are also able to share other overhead costs, like supervision and management, between clients. And because they are larger, they can offer better, and targeted, training and development, helping minimise turnover and benefiting from more experienced and dedicated staff.
“But using contact centre services wisely can also improve quality. Although many assume service quality will suffer, there is no reason for this to be the case,” says Ellspermann. Indeed, the reasons they can be cheaper are almost identical to the reasons they can offer a better customer experience. Because of their scale, call centres invest more in their people, processes, technologies and facilities, which all result in better service. Additionally, because they are specialists, clients benefit from using a partner with deep knowledge and experience of the sector, who keep ahead of trends and have a clear focus on making sure that every contact is a positive experience for the customer.
The question, perhaps, is that with the potential for better services and lower costs, why have some businesses not outsourced their call centre services? In most cases, there is a fear of the unknown. But the outsourcing path is well-trodden. Many businesses first made the shift looking for savings, which are tempting. The Philippines, for example, has built a huge BPO sector, taking advantage of high level of English proficiency in the population and substantially lower living costs to offer savings of around 40-50% compared to Australian onshore operators. However, most that outsource contact centre services to the Southeast Asian nation have found that the savings don’t just help keep prices down and profits high, but also and perhaps even more importantly, keep customer delighted.