The offshoring of services and talents seems to have failed miserably --the economic realities of customer service in a company’s business plan should be one of the more important things to focus on-- not an after thought, or a way to find the cheapest solution based purely on cost.
According to OPC Marketing, a manufacturer of the award-winning SPITFIRE brand Predictive Dialer and AutoDialer solutions, companies need to bring their attention back to the U.S. and start their own in-house call center with a predictive dialer instead of thinking offshore.
How many failed banks and insurance firms will close their doors due to partially to offshore customer service practices that turned off the average U.S. customer?
OPC Marketing is familiar with the frustrations of dealing with overseas customer service agents, which for them, has been nothing short of a nightmare. It took the company six months (24 weeks) to resolve an insurance claim with a well-known retailer after countless phone calls and e-mails; offshore customer service had passed the buck. If the well-known retailer did not use offshore customer service agents with little or no authority, the claim might have been solved in less than two weeks.
OPC Marketing was finally able to file its claim after contacting the well-known retailer’s CEO directly (based in the U.S.), resulting in a 4-day turnaround. How many CEO’s have the time to deal with issues like this? I bet they are not receiving these reports on offshore performance until it’s too late.
This type of customer service practice makes everyone hesitant to do business with the many companies that use offshore agents. Besides the language barrier between the customer and the agent, oftentimes, the agents know little to nothing about the products or service their company offers and how those products impact people’s daily lives. In an effort to avoid a repeat situation, OPC Marketing purchased the replacement product online instead of walking into the well-known retailer’s brick and mortar store.
To gain customer confidence and loyalty, customer service needs to be brought back to the U.S., a place where the trend is gaining momentum.
A recent DialAmerica study found that among 24 major U.S. companies that outsource over $300 million in customer acquisition and customer care, 79 percent of respondents said they were very likely or somewhat likely to change their teleservices outsourcer in the next year.
Some of the other overwhelming facts the study uncovered included:
-- 94 percent said outsourcers should have business experience in their industry sector.
-- 95 percent said that outsourcers must understand the rules and regulations of their industry.
-- 91 percent said it was important that outsourcers have an impeccable compliance record.
-- 41 percent said they were very dissatisfied or somewhat dissatisfied with the performance of their offshore teleservices vendor.
Customer service is much more complicated than what it has been given credit for in the past. Moreover, cultures outside the U.S. have not "Been on Main Street" so their life experience does not relate to this customer base. In the end, the customer calling inbound looks for a way to relate somehow to the agent on the other end, who will hopefully resolve their issue and will get a beneficial outcome in the end, resulting in customer loyalty.
Michelle Robart is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Michelle's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Michelle Robart