By Nathan Teahon, Vice President of Operations
Most trends tend to go in ebbs and flows. I’ve been in the Telemarketing Services industry for more than 15 years, and I have observed that offshoring has morphed from a dirty term to being the trendiest thing everyone was doing, and back again. You know what? Offshoring compares very well to the Kardashians.
How is offshoring like the Kardashians? Both found extreme peaks of popularity due to having a feature that many found to be mesmerizing. For offshoring, that feature was a low price point. For the Kardashians, I am honestly not sure. Perhaps people just like witnessing train wrecks? However, both have come down from their peaks as many have realized that there are pitfalls lurking behind what mesmerizes. For offshoring the pitfalls are many: decreased customer satisfaction is at the top. For the Kardashians I can only imagine that mental degradation tops the list.
Despite both of these trends coming down from their peak, the reality is that both are still wildly popular. When it comes to offshoring your outsourced telemarketing, it is still difficult for many to look past that price point. At the end of the day, if you are calling into the US or taking calls from the US, then using a domestic call center is the better option in every other category other than price. Below are the top five reasons why using a domestic call center is a better option than offshoring.
Everything else on this list after this is important, but should pale in comparison to Customer Experience. It’s also the reason why offshoring has diminished slightly from its peak five years ago. A company is nothing without its customers. It is difficult to quantify but most experts agree that it costs 5-10 times more to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer. If you aren’t treating your customers like gold, you are wrong.
This ties directly to the previous point. If the customer experience is better, the more likely you are going to be to get a sale. This is going to happen when the communication exchange is smooth. The common saying in sales is, “you have 30 seconds to buy the next minute of the customer’s time”. You have a very limited amount of time to earn that trust, and if anything about the communication exchange is challenging for the customer, not only will you be denied that additional minute, the trust with your organization has been ruined.
Most customer service programs require an extensive understanding of the product line and their customer base. You can train for everything under the sun and still not cover all of the questions that a customer could have. Those issues are exacerbated when using an offshore call center which is going to cause a rise in average handle time and increased frustration for your customers.
First Call Resolution
Not only is increased handle time an issue, but an increased amount of interactions with a supervisor, transferred calls, and call backs are also a factor. The more you have to transfer a customer, put a customer on hold, or create a second phone call, the customer experience is degraded.
I manage work with many different call centers. It can be challenging at times. I find it difficult to fathom how I could effectively manage a center that is halfway around the world. International locations are more difficult to visit. Recruitment, quality management, and teamwork in outsourced telemarketing all become much more challenging.
The challenges vary for each call center, whether it is offshore or not. I say it all of the time; every call center has their own strengths and weaknesses. However, if your telemarketing services calls are from or to domestic customers, using a domestic call center is the only option that makes sense. The only true advantage offshoring has is the price. Looking at that as the deciding factor is short sighted. You also have to factor in the effects on your customer base when longer handle times and potential second and third calls are required to resolve the issue for the customer. Additionally, when call times are longer and more calls are created, how much money are you saving in the short term to risk your customer base over the long term? I guess at the end of the day I just wasn’t a big fan of the Kardashians.
Nathan Teahon is the Vice President of Operations for Quality Contact Solutions, a leading outsourced telemarketing services organization. As a highly competitive person, Nathan brings his “A” game to work every day, ensuring that each of his clients wins on a daily basis. Nathan carefully balances the operations resources and client goals to ensure his clients receive the highest possible results at the lowest cost. Nathan is a true, born and bred telemarketer. He grew up in the business and intimately knows (and has played) every position on the field, including supervisor, quality assurance, call center manager, program management, account management, and call center psychologist. Nathan can be reached at Nathan.firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-656-5133.