Customer Service Outsourcing

  • March 24, 2011
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By Steven Lambert

Call center outsourcing has many advantages for the off shore companies that enter into it. However, there are great risks attached to such strategies and these have to be faced if the Industry is to be taken seriously as a major employer and to be made attractive as an investment opportunity. This market is set to grow from $8.4bn, to $12.2bn in 2007.

The Gartner Customer Relationship Management Summit held in London has pointed out many of the shortfalls. The largest problem is staff turnover. This is a new Industry and even though new frontiers are being faced, human problems will always rear their heads. Much of this customer service outsourcing is being set up in countries that have never had the luxury of being given such a major employment opportunity. In the past all their personnel had to look forward too, was either a dead-end job in an old fashioned industry at home, or travel abroad to look for work.

Customer service outsourcing, has enabled them to have a high quality job in their own social environment. But it’s not for everyone, and many, attracted by the bright lights of a dream job, have soon found out that it is not the life for them. This may not be due to the nature of call centers as a whole, but bad management.

It takes a very skilled management team to run a large pool of people in a call center. Technical problems will always come along, and when things go wrong, it takes a cool head not to panic. Once the general staff know something is wrong, they may fear for their futures. Will the call center carry on? So only experienced managers can pull the situation round and calm their fears.

Unflappable managers are hard to find, and there is certainly a world wide shortage. Once a heavy amount of investment has been placed in any customer service outsourcing area, it has to be secured. If there is to be no magical return on investment, then damage limitation is called for. In many cases the only solution to a failing call center, is to merge it with another. One firm will acquire another.

Another reason why many call center outsourcing projects will fail, is due to the fact that they are there simply to cut costs. There comes a point when things cannot be slimmed down any more, and false economy will simply lead to disaster.

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