Today, outsourcing is almost a natural part of doing business in Australia. Although outsourcing has long been practiced, even when it was called something different, it is only in recent decades that the practice has become commonplace. Businesses now entrust specialist external providers with functions once considered indivisible from their core. One of the most frequent manifestations of the practice is call centre outsourcing, where a third party takes on the vital role of things like customer service and processing, often becoming a business’s frontline.
“There are several factors behind the rise of outsourcing. But a prime motivation for many businesses is a need to address the competing demands from customers for lower prices and better service, while also addressing the need for a business to make a profit. Call centre outsourcing is a solution that, when done well, can help meet both,” says Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, an award-winning call centre outsourcing provider.
“A good contact centre partner should easily exceed the service level that is being achieved by an in-house team since its focus is customer service,” says Ellspermann. This means that every element of their contact centre business is set up to meet this goal. Call centre outsourcing is usually delivered from custom-built facilities, ensuring not just a good working environment for staff but also with the vital infrastructure in place.
Call centres also have better staff. A combination of their specialisation and size, most call centres are several times larger than in-house teams and they can attract the best people. They can also offer better training and development, ensuring that call centre outsourcing is staffed with high quality, experienced staff. And the size also means they can be flexible to client needs. “Contact centres can typically scale more quickly and handle peaks in demand more easily than an in-house team is able to,” says Ellspermann.
Surprisingly, this enhanced service comes at a lower cost. The savings start at around 10-15% lower than the in-house cost when using an onshore provider with the same specification as in-house standards. These savings accrue from the benefits of call centre outsourcing providers working at scale. The costs of buildings and facilities can be shared between clients, support services like HR and finance tend to be leaner operations because they focus on a single area, and the scale means that they can often use their resources more efficiently, for example using seats overnight to service global clients instead of leaving desks empty outside of office hours.
A final benefit that many businesses might not expect from call centre outsourcing is that they gain additional capacity because they no longer directly manage an ancillary service. With customer services taken care of by call centre outsourcing, organisational leadership and support can be focused more intensely on the core product. Put simply, they become better businesses because their resources are directed toward what sets them apart.
Savings are the key attraction of outsourcing to many businesses. And savings can be high, choosing an offshore option — destinations like the Philippines are popular with Australian businesses, with a convenient time zone and a large call centre outsourcing sector driven by the exceptional English proficiency of Filipinos — can cost as much as 40-50% less than an in-house operation. “However, looking purely at the savings misses the other benefits call centre outsourcing can bring. As many businesses can attest, savings, improved operating efficiencies, enhanced customer experience, and additional focus it offers makes outsourcing a great decision,” says Ellspermann.