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The Strategic Benefits of Outsourcing Your Contact Centre and Customer Experience

Mon, October 09, 2023

With rising consumer expectations and rapidly evolving technologies, managing customer interactions and contact centres efficiently is a significant challenge for companies looking to gain a competitive advantage by delivering a superior customer experience (CX).

Even the most successful companies, with vast resources at their disposal, generally only succeed at being truly world-class in one or two domains. Those who want to excel in multiple areas recognise this and partner with specialists who are better equipped and able to deliver at specific activities.

CX and Contact Centre Outsourcing

One activity that is generally not a core competence for most businesses is running a customer service programme or contact centre. While customer service is exceptionally important, it isn’t usually what goes on its contact centre that defines a brand. (If it is, then you shouldn’t outsource it!)

Managing a contact centre demands expertise in various domains, from human resources and recruitment to sales, marketing, facilities management, and technology. For many companies, operating a contact centre is rarely their forte despite the critical nature of customer interactions. It’s often not among the select areas where they outshine their competitors.

Of course, there are firms for which these are core activities at which they excel. These are BPOs (Business Process Outsourcers), particularly contact centre and CX outsourcers. The entire business model of these companies revolves around ensuring that customer interactions are handled with the utmost proficiency.

Leveraging Outsourcing for Competitive Advantage

Customer experience (CX) is undoubtedly a vital differentiator and driver of profits. However, managing the day-to-day CX operations may not play to a company’s core strengths. The strategic direction can be determined internally, but tactical delivery of CX is often better outsourced to experts.

Outsourced CX activities typically include omnichannel customer support, technical helpdesks, debt collection, outbound sales, and digital support via chat or messaging. CX automation, like chatbots and IVR, is also prime for outsourcing. Partners specialise in these services, bringing cutting-edge technology, infrastructure, and economies of scale.

Customer service can often stand out as a key differentiator for companies in commoditised markets like telecoms and energy. With support expectations rising yearly, outsourcing to CX specialists makes strategic sense.

Outsourcing done right boosts loyalty and revenues via elevated CX. Partners obtain detailed analytics into the customer journey, rapidly resolving pain points. They also implement sales best practices and advanced technologies to boost conversion rates.

The commercial benefits include improved customer retention, higher sales, expanded market share and increased profitability. Brand perception also rises when customers enjoy seamless omnichannel interactions.

Optimising Costs without Compromising Quality

An apprehension around outsourcing is often the perceived trade-off between cost and quality of service. However, reputable CX partners adeptly optimise costs through:

  • Increased use of digital channels like web chat and messaging to deflect calls
  • Automation for handling common inquiries and requests
  • Advanced analytics to identify pain points and service improvements
  • Recruitment targeted to cost-efficient yet skilled talent pools
  • Partial offshoring of basic inquiry handling while retaining complex support onshore
  • Continual refinement of omnichannel strategies and customer journey orchestration

Technologies like speech analytics help providers detect service gaps or opportunities in real-time. This enables rapid resolutions and continual enhancements.

The Benefits of Outsourcing

Outsourcing delivers an array of advantages beyond mere cost efficiencies. Partnering with CX and contact centre specialists allows brands to augment capabilities, boost performance and deliver exceptional experiences.

1. Scalability

Reputable outsourcing partners possess extensive infrastructure and resources to scale operations based on changing demand. They offer 24/7 omnichannel support in multiple languages and seasonal staffing flexibility. This enables swift response to queries during peaks or geographic expansion.

2. Cutting-Edge Technology

Partners invest heavily in next-gen CX technologies like AI, predictive analytics and automation. This allows brands to leverage sophisticated solutions without significant capex investments. Technology is kept updated, ensuring customer interactions are seamless, efficient and consistent across channels.

3. Cost Efficiency

Partners achieve significant economies of scale given their distributed infrastructure, advanced automation and ability to serve multiple clients. This results in substantial cost savings compared to in-house operations. Providers also optimise recruitment, training, HR and facilities management costs.

4. Specialist Expertise

Outsourcing provides access to specialised domain knowledge and skills that would be expensive to develop internally. Partners bring expertise across the CX spectrum, including customer service, technical support, omnichannel strategies, journey mapping, automation and more.

5. Enhanced Focus

Brands can sharpen their focus on core strategic initiatives like product innovation, brand building and entering new markets. Tactical CX delivery is entrusted to experts, freeing up resources and management bandwidth.

6. Better Performance

With specialised expertise and cutting-edge technology, outsourcing leads to optimised CX metrics, including customer satisfaction, first call resolution, net promoter score and more. Continual improvement is facilitated by deep analytics and customer journey mapping.

7. Innovation

Fresh thinking is infused by outsourcing experts who continually refine strategies and introduce new solutions. Providers also deliver pilots and proofs of concept quickly, enabling brands to launch innovations swiftly.

Outsourcing the Right Activities

Organisations must carefully evaluate their core competencies and strategic priorities when determining what to outsource. While customer service remains vital, its day-to-day operations and tactical delivery might be outside a company’s primary expertise.

A simple framework to determine core vs non-core activities is:

  • Profit generating and differentiating activities: Areas like digital transformation, website design, and high-level customer service strategy. These are best kept in-house.
  • Non-profit generating and differentiating: Brand marketing, product design. It is also best managed internally.
  • Profit generating but non-differentiating: Sales, order fulfilment. It can be effectively outsourced.
  • Non-profit generating and non-differentiating: Bookkeeping, IT support, HR. Prime candidates for outsourcing.

When it comes to customer experience, the strategic direction and high-level planning are differentiators best kept in-house. However, the tactical delivery encompassing customer support, technical helpdesks, telesales etc. can be efficiently outsourced. Top brands across technology, financial services, healthcare and more leverage this hybrid model to enhance CX capabilities.

Get Started with a Pilot Approach

Shifting entirely to a third party may initially seem daunting for companies that manage contact centres in-house. A prudent approach is to launch a pilot outsourced project focused on a specific channel, line of business or customer segment.

For example, outsourcing overflow call volumes during seasonal peaks or testing automation for basic inquiries. This contained scope allows for capabilities to be assessed before larger-scale outsourcing. It also provides a sound basis for calculating potential return on investment.

Once the pilot demonstrates the partner’s expertise, the contract can be expanded to encompass additional functions or the entire contact centre. This phased approach ensures a smooth transition while rapidly amplifying CX capabilities.

Choosing the Right Partner

Choosing the ideal outsourcing provider is critical to realising the benefits of enhanced CX capabilities and cost optimisation. Core criteria for evaluation include:

  • Proven expertise and track record in one’s specific industry verticals, including customer service, technical support, telesales and social media management
  • Omnichannel mastery across voice, digital, social media and self-service channels
  • Next-generation technologies such as AI, analytics, automation and knowledge management to enable efficient operations
  • Demonstrated performance improvement per CX metrics like customer satisfaction, first-call resolution and net promoter score
  • Evidence of innovation through new solutions and customer journey enhancements
  • Global delivery capabilities spanning languages, time zones and geographic reach
  • Robust security, compliance and quality control frameworks
  • Shared culture and values focused on customer-centricity

Careful partner assessment provides confidence that outsourcing will amplify CX capabilities, optimise costs and elevate consumer satisfaction. It ensures that the partner has the specific skills, technologies and delivery expertise to drive the desired improvements.

The Way Forward

Outsourcing your contact centre and CX function – or at least some aspects – is a proven strategy to gain operational efficiencies while enhancing customer experiences. Partners provide brands with specialised expertise, advanced technologies and expanded capabilities for interacting with today’s omnichannel consumer.

A carefully planned transition and rigorous provider selection help guarantee cost optimisation while driving service enhancements. Companies across industries have leveraged outsourcing to reduce costs, strengthen loyalty and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage through superior customer experiences.

Why Outsource and the New BPO Model

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