Thursday, February 4, 2016

Call Center Outsourcing Industry Trends – Q &A interview

Call Center Outsourcing Industry Trends – Q &A interview with Outsource Consultants President, Corey Kotlarz

Corey

The call center outsourcing industry is a rapidly changing. Technology and locations are always evolving, which means that it can be hard to keep up with the right information. This interview with Corey Kotlarz, a call center outsourcing industry expert, explains some of the latest trends in call center technologies, the current most popular locations for outsourcing, and where the call center outsourcing hot spots will be in the near future.

  1. What role has technology played in the growth of the outsource call center industry?

Corey: All aspects of technology have played a significant role in the growth of the industry. From workforce software and ACD call routing software to predictive dialers, interactive voice response (IVR), and now multichannel support. Multichannel is the new evolution (it involves all customer touch points like voice, live chat, email, social media and SMS).

Technology is allowing everything to become much more efficient and allows organizations to drive performance and growth. The most recent hot trend in the call center industry is Cloud-based technology. The Cloud enables small and mid-sized BPOs (or any company, for that matter) to deliver the same robust features and capabilities as the largest BPOs i.e. ACD, predictive dialer, IVR technology, live web chat, email, ability to record 100% of all calls, and reporting dashboards. So now, the small and medium BPOs are able to play at that level of the “big guys” in the industry.

  1. India was the top location for call center outsourcing ten years ago, but recently the Philippines has become the hot spot. What is the reason for this shift?

Corey: Ten to fifteen years ago, major corporations were outsourcing to India as a cost reduction strategy. India did well in regards to reducing costs. Historically, as well as today, India is very good at technical support-based applications with knowledgeable, intelligent, and highly skilled agents. However, there was some level of dissatisfaction among consumers based on cultural and language disconnect.

Over the last five years, the Philippines has grown rapidly and has become the largest call center outsourcing market in the world projecting over $25 billion in outsourcing revenue next year (Lee, 2015). This is due to a strong understanding of American culture. Filipino schools that teach English, which leads to very good English-speaking agents. Thus, the customer experience due to the agent quality has been enhanced tremendously with this shift to the Philippines.

In the Philippines, telemarketing and customer service outsourcing is growing particularly fast. Filipino call centers can be cost competitive, on par or close to the cost model of India. That is why the country’s popularity has become so strong. They have all of the pieces to the puzzle, such as the telecommunications and Internet infrastructure, awareness of the cultural aspects of the United States, and the English-speaking agents.

  1. Where do you think the outsource call center industry is going in terms of location(s) and technology? Will there be a new hot spot in the near future?

Corey: With Fortune 1000 corporations moving their outsourcing from India to the Philippines, many of the large corporations who are outsourcing are now all over the country and over saturation will become a problem. These corporations are putting all their eggs in one basket, and now they need to add redundancy by outsourcing to an additional geographical region to diversify their risk and exposure.

Their goal is to find the same features and benefits of the Philippines: great English-speaking agents, great culture, quality education, and similar pricing, which can be found in nearshore markets such as: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Jamaica, Belize, El Salvador, Jamaica and Mexico. In the next five years, there is going to be significant growth as the neighboring regions’ cultural affinity is strong and the Internet and telecom infrastructure has been building out over the last several years. Nearshore market growth is going to be the next Philippines, if you will.

As the Cloud-based call center software technology grows, multichannel capabilities allow call centers to open up in these nearshore markets with all the latest and greatest features and functionality. Personally, I’m a big fan of Belize and Guyana. The language of choice within the educational system is English. English-speaking agents in those countries are very strong. I see growth in those two countries over the next several years.

  1. While the Philippines and India have been popular choices for companies looking to outsource with call centers, your company likes to recommend “hidden gem” locations in addition to the traditional “Top 10” industry’s largest BPO outsource call center options. What is the reason for this?

Corey: Outsource Consultants is always looking for the best vendors in the marketplace and the best regions that are not oversaturated. We don’t want to recommend a center or region that will be oversaturated with too many call centers in the next two to three years. We’ve seen that trend in more mature Tier 1 markets like Manila in the Philippines: it’s a big city, with oversaturation of outsource call centers, leading to higher agent attrition rates. However, cities like Cebu or Davao City in the Philippines haven’t become as saturated yet, and still offer all the benefits of a Philippine call center.

Outsource Consultants’ business model is that we don’t typically work with the “Top 10” largest BPOs that are the billion dollar players in the market. We look to partner with the mid-tier, hidden-gem organizations, meaning three hundred to five thousand seats. These organizations are more flexible, hands-on, having unique specializations as far as industry vertical markets, call type specializations (inbound, outbound), and service type focus such as customer care, technical support, sales, or lead generation.

We like to work with the mid-tier call centers so that you’re not a small fish in a big sea, but an important, hands-on, strategic partner of these mid-tier centers. Clients have relationships with the executive team and we feel that’s a much more constructive partnership than working with the big organizations where if you’re not outsourcing one hundred or more seats, you’re not going to get the attention of the executive team, thus the performance would not meet most standards. That is, in essence, the philosophy behind Outsource Consultants, which has led to higher satisfaction and enhanced performance for our clients.

Works Cited:

Lee, D. (2015, February 1). The Philippines has become the call-center capital of the world. Retrieved November 4, 2015, from Los Angeles Times: http://ift.tt/1BQFNiq

Click here to reach Corey



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Intent is Key When Designing an Employee Experience Plan

JD-Fairweather

 By: JD Fairweather

The key to a good employee engagement plan is the intent. If the intent is only to increase productivity, revenue, or customer growth—any gains achieved will likely not last long.

Now that customer experience is recognized as the differential between competitors many organizations are planning to improve those experiences by deploying employee engagement programs. The thought is that by increasing employee engagement the customer experience will improve resulting in gains in both revenue and customer growth.

Although productivity, revenue, and customer growth are benefits of positive employee experiences, using the happiness of employees to drive growth is a poor approach and one that will likely fail.

Here are a 5 questions to ask yourself when creating an employee engagement plan to ensure its success—

Is it Authentic

If you can’t honestly say the project is for the betterment of the employees don’t fake it, find or hire someone to lead the program that can. Create advocates not enemies by being genuine in your approach; nothing creates an enemy of change more than the feeling of being manipulated.

Include advocates from each impacted department early in the planning process and acknowledge their contributions in the final plan.

Is There an Executive Champion

Nothing is worse than starting an employee engagement plan and not having the backing to see it through.  Even rumors of a plan that goes unimplemented will negatively affect morale and trust with your employees.

Get an executive to champion the project, the higher-up the better. Be sure to include both the desired qualitative and quantitative results that show value, providing result driven metrics for the executive to share in the c-suite will help garner more support for the initiative.  Remember though, some of the greatest growth is in the people impacted and that can be immeasurable so don’t keep pushing.

Is it LongTerm

Don’t think short term, include goals in the plan that might not see success for some years to come. Career, financial, family wellness, skill-set and health improvements can take years to achieve but are very important to your employees.

Is it Transparent 

No secret slide decks or hidden agendas, everything should be decided and shared openly to establish and maintain trust throughout the campaign.

Transparency is not only about removing secrecy, it also extends to clarity and having a clear vision for the well-being of your employees and the value they bring will go a long way.

Is it Fair

Value for you, value for them. A great employee engagement plan is an agreement between both parties, it must benefit the employee and the organization.

Upping employee benefits and pay increases is great, but not if it makes the company financially unstable. Open floor plans only work if majority of the staff enjoy working outside the confinement of cubes and walls.

A plan that only brings value to one and not the other is guaranteed to fail.

It’s great to see companies looking to improve the experiences of their employees, by establishing one with the right intent any uptick in performance will be natural and lasting.

Are you planning an employee engagement initiative? Do you have one going on now that has stalled out? Let us know, we would love to discuss some proven methods on establishing one and keeping it on-track.



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Monday, February 1, 2016

The Year in Review

Bottom Line

The Bottom Line on 2015

Well 2015 is now firmly in the rear-view mirror and we have already dispatched 1/12 of 2016.

As I look back on the year it was 2015, I can see how busy it really was.

We completed projects for a number of wonderful clients including a large educational publisher, one of the most respected names in the Newspaper industry, one of the most recognizable charities in the country, we also worked with one of the most famous names in rock and roll, to establish a direct to consumer contact center, built a call center for a medical laboratory company in less than 30 days, and completed technology consulting for a New York based eCommerce company.

In 2015 we completed a number of Contact Center Strategic Assessments, in locations including New York, South Carolina, Iowa, Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick, British Columbia, and Medellin Colombia. Other projects took us to San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Phoenix and Ottawa.

We completed technology acquisition projects for telephony, workforce management, and IVR systems. We worked on training redesign, process management, forecasting/scheduling, and reporting engagements. We completed custom research and numerous benchmarking projects and provided guidance to Fortune 500 company senior leadership regarding Customer Experience.

We were fortunate to recognized as leaders in the  Customer Experience, Customer Service and Contact Center space
Influencers Cover

If you have call, contact center or customer experience initiatives in any of the areas we have identified above planned for this year, we would love to speak with you regarding how we could help.

Find Out more about Taylor Reach Services



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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sitel Receives TMC 2015 Customer Experience Innovation Award | Virtual-Strategy Magazine

Sitel Intelligent Desktop Solution Honored For Innovative Technology
Delivering Exceptional Customer Experiences | Virtual Strategy Magazine is an online publication devoted entirely to virtualization technologies.

Source: http://ift.tt/1cFbJuC

Congrats to our friends at Sitel on the #cx award win- #custexp #cctr #custserv



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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

TeleTech and Telstra Unveil New Contact Center in Pasay City | BusinessNewsAsia.com

Telstra, an Australian telecommunications company, and Philippine business process outsourcing (BPO) firm TeleTech recently opened a new contact center in the Philippines. – BusinessNewsAsia.com

Source: http://ift.tt/1JWNj36



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3 Ways to Boost Your Customer Retention Rate With Service

50% of organizations find that building existing customer relationships with customer service brings a bigger ROI than acquiring new customers.

Source: winthecustomer.com



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Friction in the Contact Center | The Taylor Reach Group Inc.

The call center or customer service department has long been call the ‘canary in the coalmine’ for its ability to provide early identification and diagnosis of

Source: thetaylorreachgroup.com

Is friction-less service too hard or are companies just to lazy? #custserv #custexp #cctr



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