Business is increasingly about service. Even product-based businesses now find the service element, whether a formal offer through a subscription or expectations of follow-up care, is a critical factor in their success. “Customers expect a high level of service, sometimes on the cheapest products, and companies that cannot meet that demand risk not just losing customers, but also long-term damage caused by bad word-of-mouth. While some businesses address this by investing heavily in customer service, many more have found the most successful option is — perhaps counter-intuitively — to outsource their call centre services”, says Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, an award-winning outsourcing provider specialising in omnichannel contact centre services.
“The outsourcing decision can be a hard one to make. Using a third-party provider can feel like a loss of control over a vital function. However, done well, the decision adds long-term value to a business,” he adds. The business gains more capacity to focus on its core competencies, without the distraction of running an ancillary customer service. It will see significant savings from reduced costs. And, most importantly, outsourced call centre services can be expected to maintain, and often improve, the level of customer services offered.
The additional focus the businesses gain when outsourcing is frequently an unexpected bonus. Few businesses consider the time taken up by ancillary, but necessary, support services. However, these have an effect throughout the business. From senior leaders to support functions like HR and finance, in-house call centres divert attention from a business’s core competencies.
“The savings, however, are what usually lead people to outsourcing. Dedicated call centres operate at a larger scale than in-house teams, each one typically has between 20 to 50 clients, and this scale enables them to operate more cost-effectively,” says Ellspermann. Whether it’s the shared cost of buildings and infrastructure, the ability to hire and retain better staff, or the ability to use resources, from the desks available to the IT support, more efficiently, the cumulative savings add up. A business outsourcing their call centre services can expect to save at least 10-15% on their in-house cost using a domestic provider offering a similar or even higher service level.
But the real long-term benefits are the potential improvements in customer service. Although these may seem intangible, the improvements in customer loyalty and reputation have an ongoing impact on the bottom line. Using a dedicated call centre means having a partner for whom quality is part of their mission. They have a level of experience and expertise that can’t be matched in-house, offer staff that are more experienced and better trained, and operate from facilities that have benefited from investment. Premier providers frequently have two agents helping every customer, a human, and an AI that works at every step, from directing the call to offering live suggestions to the agent. Combined, these factors mean more efficient call handling, and more successful resolutions.
The global market for call centre services is massive, estimated at over $100 billion a year. This means there are a lot of options available. Leading outsourcing destinations include the Philippines, which combines English-fluent and accent-neutral agents with low cost of living to typically offer savings of around 40-50% while still offering service enhancements. “But whatever the destination, if a business chooses the right call centre, outsourcing will be the best long-term decision they make,” says Ellspermann.