In my recent article, we concluded that the most important aspect of managing remotely is building a strong and trusting relationship. Creating a partnership that doesn’t rely solely on the contract for the outsourcer to get performance security. The partnership is critical because once operations are outsourced, real influence over daily management will and should be limited, or why outsource at all? The partnership needs to be based on respecting each other’s expertise, ensuring roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and that the underlying business model justifying the decision to outsource is protected.
Average turnover, reported at 40% to 50%, has always been, and continues to be, a chronically costly problem for call centers, a problem that seems to be tolerated rather than solved. Respondents to a FurstPerson survey reported an average monthly attrition rate of 7.18%. Annualized, a 40% annual turnover estimate becomes an actual turnover rate of 87%. As you read further, you’ll see what that costs!
By Jones Lang LaSalle
The nearshoring of customer service operations is an increasingly important part of a global customer service delivery platform. Companies seeking low-cost, Spanish-English, or multilingual labor are discovering opportunities in Latin America, particularly Mexico and Central American nations such as Honduras and Costa Rica. The customer support industry is now widely distributed across nearly all major cities in the region.
This report provides a timely overview of customer service trends, crucial issues such as scale and sustainability, and foreign direct investment in the customer support industry.
Everyone seems to have at least one story about a nightmare experience dealing with telephone customer service. The fact that many call center providers are located in countries where language and customs are significantly different from US norms only exacerbates the problem. Some experts recommend that companies outsourcing call center functions attack the problem of poor customer service by focusing more attention on serving the needs of customers. But is that always the best strategy?
The US Congressional initiative House Resolution 3596 (HR 3596) is the most recent effort on the part of certain US legislators to inhibit the offshore outsourcing of contact center services. However, no matter how sincere the spirit of this and other previously proposed and similarly worded resolutions, Ovum believes such a law would badly hurt outsourcers and ultimately impact the US consumer negatively. Therefore, vendors need to come out swinging against such initiatives.
By Rosanne D’Ausilio, Ph.D.
The interaction anyone has at any level with your employees, including you, gives a customer an opportunity to make a judgment about you, your company, and all companies like yours. I’m not just talking about call centers here. All technical support or help desk personnel are included as well. As a matter of fact, anyone who is in the customer service business – period.
The preamble to the United States Constitution begins, ‘We, the people…” I feel strongly that we, the people, are what make the difference in life, both personally and professionally. But how does that relate to customer service?
A customer is the most important visitor on our premises… We are not doing him a favour by serving him, he is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Most employees will agree with Gandhi that customers are a very important if not the most important external component for a company. Yet, unless the company is in the business of selling large aircraft, cruise ships or skyscrapers, most CEOs and senior executives will rarely get to meet them.
Which leads me to ask: Have you really thought about what drives an associate, an agent or an employee to really dedicate themselves to caring for the customer? I have and here’s what it means.
Gartner has just released results of a call center modernization survey of worldwide CIOs. The findings show a surprising lack of awareness of the value of the contact center in strengthening customer relationships. Companies are just not making enough of a commitment to customer service representatives through better tools, training and compensation, the report finds.
The survey, conducted at the end of last year, showed that in the category of business priorities, attracting and retaining customers dropped from second to fifth place. I am confident if the same survey were conducted today you would find that retaining customers would rise back up to second place. The CIOs I talk to are under a great deal of pressure to directly help business leaders find new customers and keep a lid on churn.
Call center outsourcing leader Teleperformance, of France, is backing a move by its US subsidiary AllianceOne, to expand customer service and debt collection operations in the Montego Bay Freezone. “Yes, we have several projects that are still ramping and we would expect to sign additional contracts and/or expand on current contracts during the course of 2009,” Ray Bucholz of Alliance One recently told the Jamaica Observer.
“Teleperformance, the worldwide leader for call centre outsourcing services, has made a sizeable investment in the operations in Jamaica and our clients have been in support of the expansion.” Many observers believe the move is indicative of US firms’ seeking to reduce call center operating costs in the midst of the economic turmoil and rising cost of capital griping the North American continent. Bucholz identified improvements in Jamaica’s telecom infrastructure as a catalyst for AllianceOne’s increased investment. Over 770 staffers are employed by Alliance One …