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Outsourced Contact Centers are Defined by People – Not Location

Outsourced contact centers have become a reliable service model for companies desiring to offload non-core competencies to vendors that specialize in customer excellence. In the beginning, the outsourced model was chosen as the best option for cost reduction. In fact, when you think of an outsourced call center, it’s likely that you’re thinking offshore or near-shore and defining the service model by location. But as technology and work styles have evolved, so have contact center models.

As global business becomes more and more “virtual” in nature, many different industries are embracing mobility and empowering remote workforces. According to Angie Mistretta, Director of Cisco TelePresence Solutions Marketing at Cisco Systems, “More than 80 percent of employees claim a better work/life balance since working remotely and 73 percent say they are more willing to put in extra time at work without their commute.”

About 14 years ago, virtual agents defined as work-at-home agents (WAHA), began providing customer service. Research from Frost & Sullivan finds that 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies include—or plan to include—some element of WAHA in their customer service strategies. While in outsourcing, the “homeshoring” model originally came to market positioned as an alternative to bricks and mortar call centers in order to bring offshored contact center services back home, that ideal limited its potential.

Instead of competing against one another, the bricks and mortar and virtual contact center models add more value when combined into a distributed model. Outsourced contact center vendors now complement the business needs of companies by providing the scale, flexibility and agility that are often difficult to deliver in a contact center model defined by location, alone.

Consider just a few situations where a blended customer care model can enhance business value:

  • Covering spikes in call volume due to product launches or seasonal demand.
  • Offering 24/7 support, but the nighttime need is not cost efficient to keep the lights on in the call center.
  • Meeting regulations that require a sensitive task be home-country based, but staffing the entire contact center on home turf is cost prohibitive.
  • Managing heavy call volume for several hours morning and evening, but the duration isn’t long enough to warrant full shift coverage—or its associated costs.

While it’s true that companies may prefer to choose a bricks and mortar contact center model, or a virtual one, the combination of expertise, availability and scale provided by blending the two models affords companies with choices that were not available previously.

With customer’s expectations growing and preferences shifting, being prepared to provide the right service experience at the right time, is a competency well within reach. There’s simply no reason to limit your options when it comes to the strategic planning and evolution of your outsourced contact center. It’s also important to consider that customer service excellence is a business asset, not just a cost consideration. With the ability to select near-shore, offshore, homeshore, or a combination, your contact center can easily meet your company’s changing business needs quickly and efficiently, without a ripple in service delivery or customer satisfaction.

With the acquisition of Alpine Access, Sykes is positioned to offer blended customer care models to assist our clients in expanding their vision for excellence in customer service at an affordable price point.