Contact center outsourcers move strongly to omnichannel—brands’ attitudes need to catch up to that change

Ian Jacobs
Ian Jacobs
Principal Analyst
July 27, 2015

Contact center outsourcers have gotten a bum rap. Customers frustrated with offshore accents, agents with no power to actually solve problems, and overly scripted interactions have complained, sometimes loudly, about the practice. Comedians have mocked offshore agents, often mercilessly. In particular, the shared services outsourcing model in which a single agent supports multiple brands at the same time has come in for a real savaging. Check out this Funny or Die video for just one the literally dozens of such comedic rips on outsourcers. 

In many ways, brands set themselves up for such criticisms by focusing on outsourcing simply as a way to take costs out of their businesses. That focus on efficiency left little room for the types of excellent service that built customer loyalty. Today, however companies’ motivations for outsourcing customer support are changing and options for onshore or so-called near-shore outsourcing have expanded. Contact center outsourcing actually remains quite vibrant. For example, more than two-thirds of telecommunications technology decision-makers at companies with midsize or larger contact centers report they are interested in outsourcing some or all of their contact center seats or have already outsourced them. So, it is clear that outsourcing is not going away; brands, however, are starting to look at outsourcers for new types of interactions. 

Outsourcers have followed two trends with keen interest. Firstly, the growth of self-service means that calls that actually do hit contact centers tend to be more complex—the easier issues having been solved in the self-service channels. The second trend: the rise of the omnichannel consumer has left many companies scrambling to build out robust service organizations to handle chat interactions, social customer service, email response, and even SMS-based service.

Many outsourcers have built out new services to help brands tackle the challenges of this more complex support, and specifically the omnichannel consumer. These services have become widespread enough and have shown positive enough results that it is time for many brands to re-evaluate outsourcing customer service. Our new research – Use Outsourcers To Build Your Omnichannel Customer Service Future – details the ways in which contact center outsourcers can help companies:

  • Ramp up new interaction channel capabilities
  • Develop service processes for those new channels
  • Improve existing service processes in omnichannel service
  • Create a more holistic view of customer service by collecting and using context to improve service

Let us know your experience with omnichannel outsourcing.

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