Business management is a balancing act. No decision is perfectly clear cut, and behind each one is the requirement to balance profit and customers—a balance that is critical to the company’s success and sometimes, its very survival. Every business needs to make a profit, investors likely demand it, and without profit, there is nothing to invest in the business’s future. But the company also needs customers, and if it can’t remain competitively priced and offer excellent service, it will soon find itself with no one to make a profit from.
One of the attractions of call centre outsourcing in the UK has become something of a holy grail for businesses: a way to lower costs and improve customer service.
“The cost savings have, arguably, been the most attractive factor behind call centre outsourcing in the UK. A typical outsourcing provider will be able to offer saving of 10 to 15% when compared to the costs of an in-house operation. When considering the business model of a call centre outsourcing provider, it’s not hard to see where these benefits come from,” says Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, an award-winning call centre outsourcing provider.
One of the first is the economies of scale. While a SME may only need, say, 5 to10 seats in a call centre, the outsourcing provider might have 300 seats in their facility. This means there are several savings available to them. The overhead costs, such as the premises, hardware, software, and central services like HR and legal will be shared between clients. In many cases, the location is a factor; many providers are based in UK regions that have lower property costs, and as a result, lower living costs.
The scale will also benefit the staff working in outsourced call centres in the UK. Bigger operations provide more scope for training, development, and career progression. These benefit not just those employees, but also the clients who will have more experienced and expert staff working on their support program. In contrast, a company’s in-house customer support staff may find themselves suffering because they are an ancillary service, and the level of internal commitment and investment will not match that of a highly specialised provider.
“These benefits of scale will also affect customer service levels. Simply put, a highly specialised provider with deep domain expertise and cutting-edge technologies is going to be better at what they do. The infrastructure is often purpose-built for call centre outsourcing, whereas in-house teams might find themselves crammed into unsuitable parts of the business’s estate or located more for the convenience of management than the requirements of customer service,” says Ellspermann.
Call Centre outsourcing providers will, as a business priority, ensure they are up to date with the latest trends and investing in the cutting-edge contact centre technologies. Customer service can rapidly become very complicated; customer histories build quickly, and specialised—and expensive—systems become essential to manage the contacts that happen thousands of times a day in a call centre. Most in-house equivalents lack the capacity to maintain such systems, even if the will exists to ensure they are up to date.
“Most businesses are simply not suited to providing omnichannel contact centre support. The sensible business decision, therefore, is to outsource the call centre function to those businesses that specialise in it. This leaves the business able to focus on its core competencies, the products or services that they excel in providing, knowing that experts are looking after their customers,” says Ellspermann.
The savings associated with this outsourcing are significant. Taking a customer-first approach—ensuring that services at least meet, if not exceed, in-house levels—it is possible to save up to 15% using call centre outsourcing in the UK. Those savings can be even higher going overseas. Using a premier Philippine-based provider with highly English-proficient staff can be up to 50% lower in cost.
“Finding an experienced provider that offers better service than your current in-house or onshore outsourced operation is key. The quality must be there for it to work, otherwise you will pay a high long-term price. The best advice is always to look for premium call centre outsourcing providers that heavily invest in best people, processes, technologies, and facilities,” highlights Ellspermann.