Contact centres are a pivotal arena for customer interaction, where just one negative interaction has the potential to drive customers away. As a result, contact centres are under increasing pressure to deliver an enhanced customer experience and require an increasingly robust communications infrastructure. Organisations must be able to handle queries quickly and efficiently over the phone, through self-service forms, web, email, social media platforms and, increasingly, through new technologies such as Augmented Reality. Many major organisations are stuck in the past, or worse still – failing to use modern tools such as big data analytics, AI and social media. These organisations are missing out on vital revenue generating opportunities that are propelling their competition forward.
In order to meet these ever-increasing customer service expectations, many companies outsource their contact centre technology to Business Process Outsourcing organisations (BPOs). This can help to bring in cost efficiencies, but often results in customer dissatisfaction due to the inability of BPOs to support contextual problem solving. This way, the enterprise not only risks service quality – but it also endangers its customer experiences.
When critical functions such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems are outsourced to BPOs, they must also manage monitoring, reporting and staffing. This simply doesn’t deliver a sustainable competitive advantage; it is almost a third more expensive, compared to an in-house contact centre service. It also results in a loss of control over the underlying technology, presenting a challenge when monitoring quality. For many enterprises, the answer lies in re-evaluating customer experience to address the ever-shifting tech landscape. However, with contact centre outsourcing operations often broken down into micro-contracts, these strategies often require specialists with niche skills who are equipped to drive greater value than IT outsourcers.
Five factors driving the insourcing of contact centre technology
Many enterprises, in response to these issues, are now bringing contact centre technology in-house. This allows them to establish greater control over technologies, with skilled vendors supporting customer interactions. This results in superior reporting, better customer data integration, smarter channels of interaction, and empowered agents who can provide meaningful information immediately. Here are five key factors contributing to the rise in insourcing:
1. Increased customer expectations
Insourcing next-generation technologies can help enterprises engage customers more effectively and provide a consistent, contextual customer experience at every touchpoint – meeting the rising expectations of today’s customers. This must be accompanied by a careful consideration of what contact centre technology insourcing can deliver since it is imperative to ensure rapid deployment with seamless integration from back-end systems.
2. Increased control of IT functions
Businesses that insource critical functionalities and outsource routine IT tasks are better placed to choose vendors that provide flexibility, enhanced compliance and strict SLA adherence. They also have the advantage of being able to drive regulatory compliance, for example, where it is mandatory to retain certain data/functions in the home country. This requires the development of specific skills for operations and business support systems, as well as improved data and voice network capabilities.
3. Integrating assets and resources
Insourcing technology helps to integrate various assets and resources into a unified whole for optimal utilisation of assets, enabling improved customer experience and cost optimisation. A unified system can also provide enhanced insight into customer activity across all touchpoints and channels. This, in turn, drives a seamless and effortless customer experience, instilling confidence in the brand and increasing revenues. Insourcing necessitates a new operating model, which inevitably comes with the possibility of new operational risks, so careful planning is needed during the switchover.
4. Cost reduction
Outsourcing contact centre technology can actually result in an increase in operational costs; from the deployment of additional internal control mechanisms introduced as a result of poor quality standards from a BPO. Bringing customer experience technology back in-house will help to reduce costs. It would also turn the pricing focus onto investments in infrastructure as well as people, for instance, investments in the right hardware and software necessary to reduce call times.
5. The need for scalable technologies
Insourcing technology results in centralised management and scalability of contact centre resources, as and when needed. This reduces resource duplication across contact centres and eases the adoption of new technologies by spreading the cost burden over several months. Successful insourcing also means have a scalable staff and using highly skilled professionals who can take ownership of the environment. To allow for this, businesses must revisit their organisational structure, and ensure that contact centre staff and workforce management are adequately trained.
In an increasingly commoditised world, the biggest challenge facing businesses is delivering an enhanced customer experience that enables differentiation. Businesses are realising this, and understand that keeping customers is more profitable than acquiring new ones. It is no longer enough to just have a phone line manned by an offshore team; consumers will not accept disjointed, bolted-on services that force them to repeat themselves and stay on hold for hours.
Consumers today already expect automated tills at the supermarket, automatic answers to simple queries on the phone and online, and automated payment at the car park – by the next decade they will expect so much more. Businesses need to start overhauling their contact centres sooner rather than later, in order to keep up with the latest technologies. Failure to do so will result in fragmented and frustrating customer experiences; resulting in customer churn, lost market-share and reputational damage. As a result, a business can suffer a deathly blow to its bottom line as customers hop to another retail store, bank or service provider.
Enterprises bringing contact centre technology in-house can ensure they deliver on their brand promise, by providing a better level of service. Businesses that can only offer the option of struggling against a simple, unintuitive chatbot or a labyrinthine phone menu, will soon find themselves left by the wayside. They must note, however, that transitioning multiple contact centres from offshore to onshore is a gradual process that requires the correct preparation to deliver omni-channel customer support and minimise disruption.
Manu Yegnaraman, VP ServCare Platform and Managed Services, Servion
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