It’s the Service you Deliver that Matters, Not the Location


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While speaking at a conference in Egypt, a fellow speaker recounted the story of calling a company and it was “just bad service” so I asked her where she was (since she sounded like she was from India). She said she was located nearby in a call center in New York.

I’ve seen monumental growth in the contact center outsourcing industry over the past few decades. This can be attributed to factors such as increase in VoIP, the performance of outsourcing service providers, substantial cost reduction, and rise in customer preferences for service through multiple channels. Contact center outsourcing earned a nod of acceptance from senior business management too, which started considering this a significant business practice, where companies met face to face with the customer. Yet, the contact center outsourcing culture has also been accused of diminishing the quality of customer service experiences.

It is no longer a matter of where; it is a matter of how? The prevailing customer-centric economy requires that you serve your customers as first-rate, regardless of location. A recent market research provider, Opinion Research Corporation (ORC), recently carried out a research to measure and analyze customer satisfaction and the differences in customer experiences through offshore and onshore contact centers. The results were interesting.

Research results had 38% of American consumers expressing dissatisfaction over contact center interactions. 36% consumers expressed likeliness of contact centers to be located offshore in future. Another key revelation of the study was that the contact center location is no longer an issue with customers. What customers really want is a contact center service where the agent they interact with is capable of understanding their problems and addressing it in as minimum time as possible.

With customer services and experiences becoming the major brand differentiators, it is more important now than ever to ensure that you deliver a service your customer’s desire. Be it onshore or offshore, a quality customer experience is what is required. This shift in focus from costs and products to customers and quality experiences requires focus on and alignment of the following factors:

Customer Intelligence – Monitor customer interactions and gather customer grievances, feedback, opinions, and ideas, across your offshore contact centers or in-shore organizational departments, over all delivery channels (online, in-store, etc.,). Build knowledge repositories from the derived information to ensure customer service agents are empowered with contextual data during interactions and they deliver consistent responses across all channels.

Improved Business Processes – Employ best process methodologies, technology strategies, management practices and policies to enable smooth customer interactions across all channels. Thus, you should be able to effectively route an incoming call to the right agent, or in cases where problem resolution requires interactions between multiple departments, your work-flow process should be empowered to connect processes or departments effectively. Technologies such as virtual agents, which can handle multiple interactions simultaneously, irrespective of the customer’s communication channel, are being employed increasingly.

Employee Involvement – Improving employee engagement is key to enhancing customer experiences. A leadership passionate in vision and inspiring in people values engenders the same qualities in its employees, building a truly customer-centric organization.

An increase of 1% in customer satisfaction can bring your company 15-20% increase in business. Enhance your competencies to serve your customers better and grow your business better.

Keith Fiveson
A driven communications, customer care, operations, transformation consultant. Helping clients develop people, using convergence based technologies to brand, expand and optimize the customer experience globally.


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