Recent years have seen something of a resurgence for call centre services in the UK. The sector suffered the economic turbulence that all businesses have felt since the financial crash, but it has been particularly vulnerable to the ongoing insecurities during the subsequent prolonged period of economic uncertainty. Many businesses have followed the instinct to centralise to ensure close control over their operations. As a result, outsourcing plans have been abandoned and existing contracts allowed to expire.
However, the benefits of outsourcing have remained as true as ever—indeed, they are arguably more pronounced in difficult times. A good outsourcing decision should be a win-win. Investors should be satisfied at the savings available; domestic outsourcing is usually around 10 to 15% cheaper than running an in-house operation (and offshore outsourcing can see that figure reach 50%). Meanwhile customers should be able to expect at least the same level of service, if not better, because of outsourcing.
The lower costs are, undoubtedly, a major factor behind any decision to outsource call centre services in the UK. Indeed, for many businesses, that might be the only motivation. And there are many reasons outsourcing can offer savings. One of the first is that running a contact centre is expensive. Obvious overheads include the premises and facilities costs. These might be considerable for a business based in an expensive region or city. These costs will be increased by the need for equipment and software. Omnichannel customer support means that call centres are frequently not just about phone calls; agents need to be able to address concerns across a range of channels.
Of course, staffing is usually the biggest cost of any business, and contact centres are no exception. Call centres in the UK usually have extended hours, working weekends and into the night, if not 24 hours a day. And these costs extend into the main business too. There will be a need for support from central services and, inevitably, the call centre will eat into the capacity of the organisation’s leadership, diverting their attention from the core functions of the business.
However, the improved customer service is probably the most important factor in the decision to outsource. “World-class customer support is the key to successful outsourcing,” says Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, an award-winning outsourcing provider specialising in high-performance call centre services. “I have lost count of the clients who have come to us after a bad experience with another provider. And when we looked at the reasons, it was because they went for savings first.”
The scale of outsourcing providers is one of the key factors in their ability to offer better call centre services for customers. Call centres in the UK will typically have anywhere between 20 and 50 clients each, adding to the depth of experience and expertise they can bring to every contract.
Staff will also feel the benefit. Working for a larger organisation, where they are part of the core function and not an ancillary service, means they will be at the head of the queue for training, development, and advancement. Employee satisfaction is a key driver behind customer satisfaction.
Businesses that are considering outsourcing customer support are not limited to call centres in the UK. Premium offshore providers can also provide exceptional services. Countries like the Philippines have emerged, thanks to good education standards, with a high level of English proficiency and a neutral accent. “Look for an experienced provider that can deliver the same or even a higher level of service than your current onshore provider or in-house operation.
When you have an offshore call centre that invests in the best agents, processes, technologies, and facilities, you’ll find your profits will benefit not just from the savings but also from more satisfied customers. If you are considering offshore outsourcing, then go with an experienced provider that can deliver the highest level of service. Stay clear of low-cost vendors, as they compete on price, not quality. Paying a few pounds more per hour for high-quality call centre services is well worth the investment and may spell the difference between outsourcing success or failure,” says Ellspermann.