Businesses following contact centre trend to improve customer service and bring key processes back to the UK
The re-shoring of traditionally outsourced business processes by UK companies is not a new trend, but it is gathering pace, driven in part by the need to deliver high quality customer experiences, says Aspect Software (Aspect). The latest figures from PwC say that if this trend continues, 200,000 new jobs could be created in the UK by 2024, following EE’s decision to create 1,000 new jobs by moving its contact centres to Britain from the Philippines.
Dave Ogden, Account Executive at Aspect, suggests that when off-shoring became popular in order to reduce operational costs of functions like contact centres, or mass outsourcing of high volume processes such as those used in manufacturing, the focus was on quantity, not quality. One prominent business function seeing mass migration back to home shores is customer service.
Ogden said: “Yes, re-shoring is very good for the British economy; however, it’s the benefit to underlying revenues and consumer satisfaction, which is driving this change.
“Today, most companies want to improve their customer experience, because cheaper process outsourcing has historically not delivered the reductions that the industry had hoped for, but instead contributed to overall customer frustration, and reduced quality of service. Organisations are now driven by the choices of consumers: from whom they buy, how they buy from them and how they engage with them. The threat of easy supplier switching constantly looms over organisations’ heads.
“While there’s no systemic issue or flawed logic in off-shoring as a concept, when organisations started to outsource overseas, customer experience wasn’t as important as it is today. There were also three overarching practical difficulties that were not considered, which meant that the customer experience was never quite right,” he stated.
Ogden explained: “Firstly, being able to understand the person at the other end of the phone is still an unfortunate factor. It pushed metrics such as ‘Average Handling Time’ up, which impacted both the customer on the telephone as well as those waiting in the call queue. The number of repeat contacts with customers also increased, as interactions and the subsequent back office processes were not always completed accurately, or were aligned. Maintaining the level of competence and training of off-shore staff was difficult as attrition was typically higher too; a larger turnover in workforce meant the average skill of the advisors was lower.
“Finally, an increase in complaints – which are typically handled by on-shore agents – drove the overall cost to serve the customers up to a comparable level as if they’d stayed on-shore to begin with,” he said.
Ogden concluded: “When instant messaging and email joined voice calls in these off-shore locations, responses were often scripted to the point where enquiries that deviated from common questions could not be resolved, resulting in additional interactions. Also, with the increased use of self-service, such as FAQs found on websites, consumers today want a personalised resolution when they can’t find what they’re looking for, not just repetition of the text from the knowledge base.
“The simple fact is that organisations are more concerned with the customer experience than ever before and its direct impact on consumer revenues,” he said.
For additional Information see Aspect’s Company Profile