Everybody does it. Outsource call centre services in order to keep business costs down. Countries like India and, according to a recent report from Info-Tech Research Group, the Philippines, are popular countries to look to. But in the grand scheme of things, is this really good for business?
Reduced costs is the obvious advantage: it costs less to pay a team of call centre reps in an outsourced country than it would locally in Canada, or even the U.S. But what are the potential drawbacks? The risk of poor customer service is certainly one of them. Another concern that shouldn't be taken lightly, though, is the loss of jobs in one's own country. Sure, outsourcing a call centre can result in significantly cheaper operating costs, but if a large portion of your target customer segment can't afford to buy your products or services because they are finding it difficult to hold a job, what good has outsourcing accomplished?
In addition to adding jobs to the economy, keeping a call centre local also has many other advantages. For one, agents can work directly with the sales, marketing, and even research and development departments in order to create a holistic solution that serves the customer's best interests. The lines of communication both ways can be much more open; and internal staff can more easily monitor who's talking to the customers, and how customer service issues are being handled. Plus, from a consumer perspective, let's face it: knowing that you're speaking to someone who lives in the same country that you do, regardless of what that country might be, is always reassuring. Someone anywhere outside of Canada might not understand how critical a situation it is that you have all your buddies over to watch the hockey play-offs and your flat-panel isn't working!
Nevertheless, many companies continues to outsource their call centres, and reap the benefits. Some end up with reputations for horrible customer service, while others are applauded for their efforts, no matter where the cell centre might be located. Info-Tech claims that the Philippines is now the second-largest call centre outsourcing player (behind India), and is known for offering a high level of service due to "educated English-speaking agents with accents similar to their North American callers."
The primary focus, of course, is that the customer's issues or questions are always answered adequately, and in a timely manner; no matter who ends up on the other end of the line or where they're located.