Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Onshore vs. Offshore Contact Centres – The Real Benefits

In the past major companies made the most of utilising offshore outsourced contact centres in order to maximise profits and reduce the costs of providing customer services. The low cost solution offered by contact centres in the developing world meant that the price per minute was much lower than what had been available in the UK or “onshore”. However, whilst the offshore model is still certainly popular, there is a growing trend for bringing back contact centre services to the UK.

There are a number of reasons behind the re-emerging popularity of home based services. The largest contributing factor has to be the overwhelming customer demand for customer services and contact centres to be operated within their own country. Customer frustration is one of the major causes of this demand for change with communication problems, a lack of specific technical knowledge and an inability to effectively resolve issues topping the list of customer complaints.

Companies have now realised that the costs of customer services are not purely the management fee of a contact centre or a cost per minute for each enquiry. It has now been realised that the combined costs of offshore contact centre management, the loss of customers due to poor customer service and the increased call length due to misunderstandings makes the entire offshore customer service option less financially palatable.

Essentially, if pursuing high customer satisfaction rates then the onshore contact centre is a far better option. When combined with highly trained customer service professionals the benefits are astounding. Major UK companies have followed this route, for instance, insurance company Norwich Union announced that 150 call centre jobs would be brought back from India to be carried out in the UK whilst energy supplier Powergen has completely shut down its Indian contact centre operations in favour of UK based services.

So, whilst companies initially saw massive financial and operational benefits to outsourcing their customer services, in recent years, the popularity of offshore contact centres seems to have been stymied. With a greater understanding that customer service is less about minimising costs in the short term, and instead about forging and maintaining good customer relations as a long term goal, confidence in the UK contact centre industry has increased.