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Outsourcing started as a modest way to reduce costs. Lower labor rates in places like India and the Philippines, along with technology advancements, created opportunities to drive efficiencies in large organizations while tapping into a new talent source. Today, it's a whole new ball game. The global call center industry is worth almost $100 billion and is growing at 8% per year; by 2025, it's projected to be worth more than $130 billion, according to Adroit Market Research.
The industry has changed a lot since its inception. The most obvious shifts are technological: It's gone from mainly phone-based, to an omnichannel experience across email, chat, social and various other channels. There have also been interesting geographic changes. Thanks to their educated workforces and technology capabilities, places like Ireland, Romania and Bulgaria have stepped up and become top-tier outsourcing destinations, along with a variety of onshore and nearshore locations.
Discover some of the top outsourcing destinations for consideration and the factors to keep in mind as you make your decision.
There are also expanded digital experience capabilities that some outsourcing companies can offer, such as artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, cloud solutions and more. A qualified outsourcing partner can also help drive efficiencies in a business' operations through process consulting services. All together, these capabilities give clients the ability to improve their operations and enhance the customer experience (CX)
If you haven't recently considered outsourcing your brand's customer service, here are three reasons why it should be top of mind.
Although the industry has evolved significantly over the years, there are still those that believe that outsourcing is built on a "your mess for less" model, whereby low engagement and high attrition are expected, and cultural alignment is an afterthought.
The reality is, however, that corporate culture matters more than ever. A high-quality outsourcing partner doesn't just mirror its client companies' cultures; it has its own — ideally one informed by innovation, collaboration and providing its team members with what matters most to them.
A good outsourcing partner that pays careful attention to building its own company culture can actually give client companies more than they expected. For example, at TELUS International, we've found that the more a company's stated values align with its real culture on the ground, the higher it drives team member engagement and the lower it pushes attrition. These types of tenured team members are then capable of the design thinking required to drive digital and CX innovation. They serve as expert brand ambassadors for our clients, delivering better customer outcomes. When this Culture Value Chain equation exists, stronger financial performance follows.
Trying to deliver high-quality customer care for a product or service can be a lower priority to a company, particularly those in fast growth mode. Outsourcing customer service allows companies to remain focused on their core competencies.
By engaging with a collaborative partner, companies get access to industry best practices and expertise without getting sidetracked by the finer details of service delivery. A partner can also provide a higher level of operational delivery than what a company may be able to do on its own. For instance, an outsourcer can introduce workforce management solutions or other capabilities companies don't have the time or resources to adopt on their own.
Partnering with an outsourcing operation can also reduce HR risk, especially in industries like retail or health insurance, which require seasonal ramp-ups. When a provider owns the employee relationship, they are able to plan for such fluctuations and reallocate their people across client accounts when needed.
Another game-changing reason for outsourcing customer service: When you're in a business that requires 24/7 staffing and support, outsourcing makes it relatively easy to deliver "follow the sun" coverage with operations in strategic global locations. As a natural extension, having a global presence also enables companies to more efficiently serve customers in their respective native languages.
As the outsourcing industry has matured, a number of providers have evolved from helping clients cut costs, to delivering a wide variety of value-added services. Today, a high-quality outsourcing partner — particularly one with sophisticated digital capabilities — can actually help brands drive innovation within their organization.
New omnichannel, visual IVR and a host of AI and machine learning applications offer contact centers a deep catalog of impactful technologies to integrate into their operation. The right outsourcing partner for your company will have spent the last several years developing top-notch digital experience expertise that your brand can benefit from.
Customer service outsourcing has come a very long way since its advent just a few decades ago. For smart brands looking to build a world-class customer support operation, outsourcing continues to offer some outstanding — even game-changing — benefits.