High internal company cost pressures made off-shoring the call center a rather common business practice. Management and the consultants that advise the identified the lure of potential financial savings, deep resource pools and “follow this sun” support cycles appealing enough in order to risk communication, social, and information stability problems.
It was a simple decision. Any process that was considered low-value needed to be simplified and automatic, where possible, or perhaps shipped offshore. The Indian subcontinent, the Philippines, Eastern Europe, and other nations have become Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) hubs for several basic company operations, ranging from finance and human resources to front-office functions including customer call services.
Call centers in particular became an ideal source of offshoring. Executives understood they were necessary, but they were costly. Furthermore, despite the fact that they provided face-to-face customer service, they were not strategic. In recent years, however, these decisions were reconsidered, and we have seen many highly promoted cases where companies created or kept call center operations at home. However, the offshore financial savings remain, and companies were forced to balance the wish to have a quality customer interaction with bottom-line pressures.
While it is easy to measure the change between per-minute speak time charges regarding onshore versus ocean going call center brokers, it is a much more difficult to measure the advantage of onshore call center agents. How does one measure the financial advantage of a happy customer?
Attempts have been made to quantify consumer satisfaction benefits, including the development of study tools and assortment methodologies proffered through consulting firms and research organizations, such as American Customer Full satisfaction Index (ACSI). But “hard-benefit” quantities are tough in the future by, making the RETURN of a call center back on shore a challenging (and therefore politically treacherous) path for several organizations to take before the problem becomes so severe that there is little choice.
The fact is that call centers are of not low-value because they furnish an unbelievable possibility to interact with clients. Companies spend vast amounts every year promoting to existing and prospective customers, but when those customers directly contact a corporation, it is okay to deliver merely satisfactory and often dissatisfactory amount of service that detracts from the overall customer knowledge.
Today, U.S. based call centers—both inner within firms along with U. S. -based outsourcing companies—are getting smarter about their internal cost set ups, blurring the once obvious financial selling point of offshored customer attention centers. “Homeshoring,” for example, is a maturing structure in which qualified onshore agents take customer support calls and net chats during specified times into their homes.
This has several positive aspects. First, sourcing highly qualified call center talent that is not tied to a location expands the range of qualified brokers. In addition, companies are not forced to incur the significant overhead costs associated with a traditional brick-and-mortar call center. Finally, since people want to work on their own schedules and receive incentives for work, the company will have highly motivated workers.
Although it is still difficult to quantify the exact benefit of a great onshore call center, the cost differential is actually diminishing. Looking at the advantages of hiring a US based personnel, the decision becomes easier.
For companies using containment system, start small. Divert five to ten percent of your call volume time for the United States—leveraging one of many US based homeshoring companies—and compare the final results. If your clients are happier, it can be worth the incremental purchase.