Call centres have evolved into incredibly complex operations. Businesses once responded to phone calls, mail, and physical customers, but now they must contend with multiple channels, often 24 hours a day. Customers might still call, but they can also email, use official support channels on a website, or take to any number of social media platforms to raise their concerns and issues. UK businesses face the challenge of increasingly demanding customers, who have more ways than ever to express their demands.
“Call centre outsourcing in the UK has been a beneficiary of these challenges. UK-based companies, faced with the choice of managing the complex customer conversation around the clock, have opted to utilise the services of experts. Modern contact centres are unrecognisable from the stereotypical image of a call centre. Agents may still be in front of computers and may still take and make calls, but now they are backed up by a rich set of tools that enable them to manage the customer experience, however it starts. Indeed, some will proactively reach out, identifying issues raised on, say, Twitter, engaging the customer and then moving the discussion into a formal channel for resolution,” says Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, a leading call centre outsourcing provider.
Despite the complexity they handle and the round-the-clock service, these centres still offer savings to their clients. A typical call centre outsourcing provider in the UK will be 10 to 15% less costly than offering the same level of service in-house. This is a significant saving, and it needs only a moderately sized operation for that to translate into savings of hundreds of thousands of pounds per year for the client.
This is without diminished customer service quality. Dedicated contact centres can—and should—at least match the service quality that is being offered in-house. Indeed, most businesses should be able to expect an improvement when using a specialist provider. Like anything else, using a specialist provider should offer better results, despite the lower costs.
Much of the saving is down to the scale and specialisation. Dedicated call centres benefit from several advantages. One of the main ones is that they typically serve between 20-50 clients. While client programs will be physically separated internally, the providers can achieve savings from the shared facilities, supervision, and management. The specialisation also means that the overhead costs are lower. Although UK call centres will still have HR functions and finance departments because they are dedicated to that business, they can have streamlined functions that serve their purposes.
At their very best, contact centres can also provide benefits for their clients as well as their customers. A state-of-the-art contact centre collects a huge amount of data. This data might be used to assess quality, such as measuring response rates or how well they are resolving customer issues. However, many UK businesses have also found that by analysing the data from their call centre outsourcing provider, they can also improve their own products and services.
The rich dataset collected by call centres can identify common problems. This might, for example, allow problems to be solved before they arise. The data might identify particular customer groups to help with proactive and cost-effective support.
Call centre outsourcing in the UK and elsewhere is a well-developed industry that can deliver a win-win for its clients: lower costs and more satisfied customers. “Customer service has always been the most important service provided by contact centres, wherever they are located,” says Ellspermann.
Offshore outsourcing can provide even higher savings, up to 50%. “A premier contact centre will always be able to demonstrate not just how they are saving you money, but also how they are improving things for your customers,” he adds. Whether in the UK or the Philippines, call centre outsourcing is, again, a popular option for growing businesses.