While I was flicking through the pages of a call centre magazine recently I came across an article titled ‘the top nine reasons to outsource to the Philippines.’ The article lists a whole range of reasons you should be outsourcing to the Philippines, such as the availability of great talent, the lower cost of doing business there, and the neutral English accent that can be found.
This is all great information – and TP has a lot of great people in the Philippines – except the world has moved on lot in the past decade. It feels a little quaint to be talking about accents and low cost locations when these were the arguments all used to support outsourcing projects around the millennial period – back when the BPO sector in India was booming. But things have changed a lot in India too – as I mentioned in my last blog.
Outsourcing customer service is complex process. I’m never going to go to a potential client and ask them to give me their business because I can do it on the cheap. My conversations with potential customers usually focus on how we can do it better, because we only focus on delivering customer service in dozens of global locations before we ever talk about the cost.
Customer service is no longer about an army of agents all on the phone. Some customers need voice, some need chat, some need social media support and all of them need analysis and constant improvement so the service changes and adapts to customer preferences. Most customers also need every possible channel these days because companies can’t be as dogmatic as they used to be – it’s difficult to tell your customers there is only one way to reach the customer service team now and it would actually be seen as a very negative approach by the brand.
We are no longer in a world where contact centres compete on rock bottom rates and ‘perfect’ English accents. But if our competition still believes that this is where the battle is going to be in future then good luck to them!
Photo by Nathan Collins licensed under Creative Commons