Disruption In Contact Center Business Process Outsourcing
Search the word “disruptor” online today and you will find examples of new entrants gatecrashing mature but nonetheless valuable market segments, winning share from the slow-moving legacy incumbents, be it in advertising, design, recruitment, room-letting or transportation. As Forbes puts it so aptly: “In the eyes of a disruptor, no one company is so essential that it can't be replaced and no single business model too perfect to upend.”
The contact center industry is no exception. The sector has already seen a recent and dramatic transformation, with the widespread adoption of digital helping fuel a shift to online self-service, and the adoption of social media as a contemporary and real-time customer service channel. Tech-savvy customers have responded to the widening of engagement channels and made the fullest use of a new generation of mobile devices, turning every bus, train and coffee shop into a mobile office with expectations of an “open-all-hours” service.
In response, many service providers are rapidly trying to adopt an Omnichannel approach across their customer contact strategy, through the integration of social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook with their contact centers, together with a widening of their service windows. This is a monumental undertaking from an infrastructure, investment and people management perspective.
By freeing customer service and related support from the constraints of brick-and-mortar sites and their fixed operating hours, virtual contact center platforms have evolved as a way of deploying capable, qualified resources to meet often unpredictable customer demand across channels. With unparalleled flexibility, these virtual call centers are able to handle demand within, and outside, core operating hours including weekends and public holidays.
While the adoption of virtual platforms is still in its infancy in the UK compared to, for example, the United States, the recent Sunday Times report on outsourcing estimated that 15% of the UK workforce can now be classified as home workers, up from 11% in 2000. The migration to self-serve solutions and broader contact channels is forcing the agenda for a change in how customer contacts are handled, and by whom. One thing is certain: the days when working in a contact center meant enduring lengthy and costly commutes, to sit alongside hundreds of colleagues on noisy calling floors for eight hours, should be numbered, if providers are to keep pace with evermore demanding and savvy customers.
Perhaps it’s time to redefine what an operation that offers great customer service should look like?
About the Author
Ken Wheeler is Vice President of Sales for Arise EMEA and is responsible for identifying and developing relationships with new clients within target verticals, developing innovative go-to-market propositions, managing bids and representing Arise at relevant industry events. Ken has 20 years in the BPO industry and has led sales and customer service teams for onshore, nearshore and offshore service providers in the UK and South Africa including Sitel, RR Donnelley and Dimension Data. He also managed the contact centre consulting practice for Capgemini in London.