By Steve Brubaker, InfoCision Chief of Staff
At this point, you and your team members are ready to outsource your customer service operations to a third party contact center solutions provider.
Now, you have another tough decision to make: Should you go the domestic route, or explore the international contact center market?
A few years ago, it may have seemed like a no-brainer to take the latter approach. For the last decade or so, many American businesses have been choosing to open contact centers in places like the Philippines (which was recently hailed the contact center capital of the world), the UK, India and Poland — all of which are now world leaders in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) for contact centers. This is mainly because labor is considered to cheaper overseas (more on that below).
Now, this trend is changing here in the U.S.
Facing rising pressure from lawmakers and consumers, American business leaders are starting to onshore their contact centers once again. As of right now, there are about 71,000 contact centers in the U.S. and about 2.3 million agent jobs. This figure should grow in the near future, with states like Nevada, Michigan and Maine emerging as hotspots for contact center jobs.
Here at InfoCision, we take great pride in offering domestic contact center services for our customers. We are growing the U.S. economy by supporting local jobs, while also helping our customers avoid the following pitfalls:
1. Foreign telecom complexities: Outsourcing to an international contact center provider may seem simple, but there are many logistical challenges you will need to consider — one being obtaining reliable and affordable telecommunications services. In order to route calls internationally, you will need to partner with regional telecommunications providers. You will also need to familiarize yourself with local data storage and privacy regulations.
Here’s another thing to consider, too: If your contact center is offering real-time video support for customers, or it plans on offering this down the road, you will need to factor in network latency. Connectivity is a critical part of video communication, and could be difficult to establish it if your contact center is on the other side of the world. Most businesses are trying to bring their networks closer to their customers — not further away.
2. Cultural differences: American consumers prefer to engage with local agents they can easily understand, and who are highly in tune with our cultural nuances. Native English-speaking representatives tend to have an easier time going off-script when resolving customer issues (which is often needed). Something as simple as a naturally-flowing conversation can mean all the difference in shaping the overall customer experience.
3. High operating costs: As it turns out, opening a foreign contact center can be more expensive than you would think. While foreign contact center agents may earn less in hourly wages, there are still other operating costs to consider which are mostly related to network and facility maintenance. These expenses could easily nullify the cost savings you would accrue from paying workers less per hour.
So with these points in mind, I strongly encourage you to avoid offshoring your contact center. Instead, provide your customers with access to local contact center agents.
To learn more about how InfoCision can help, click here.