With new technology, the world has recently gone through a substantial shift in order to make things cheaper. In large part it’s been about ‘let’s put the services overseas!’, and it works. Here at EST, in actual fact, we have what you might call a geographically diverse workforce. We contract people from all over the world to help with our clients’ campaigns, and it makes sense to do. After all, a qualified person in another country is just as good as a qualified person here, right? Assuming we hire the right person for the job, the answer is a resounding yes.
Sadly, there’s been a bit too much of a shift in this way, and it’s all been in pursuit of the almighty dollar. Rather than contracting the service overseas, companies have started to put the people overseas. It’s almost a ‘let’s not worry about the customers, this will save us thousands’ type of mentality. This is what concerns me.
I have to be a bit careful here, as I don’t want to be too reductive, but this mentality just doesn’t work.
Let me explain: when I employ someone to service our phone system, for example, they are an expert in doing just that. They will focus on getting the best result that they can (because I wouldn’t hire anyone who doesn’t) and make sure we get the desired outcome. If I were to make that person the ambassador for client relations, they wouldn’t know the first thing about it.
The problem comes from using the same mentality with your client-facing staff. When it comes to callcentres, who are you employing? It’s not customer service operators, it’s people in callcentres. They are there to take calls. They are paid, and incentivised on doing just that. You can add a few metrics to make sure that you are getting a reasonable service for your clients (like Net Promoter Score) but at the end of the day, you have employed people to take calls. Lots of calls. Quickly.
How then can we expect these people to be the front face of our companies? They don’t know anything about them – sometimes not even where they’re located – and yet we expect them to look after our most important asset – our customers? (If you disagree with me about customers being the most important asset here, you may have bigger concerns in your business.)
It’s the same with hiring an ‘answering service’ to be the face of your business when you’re not reachable. What’s the point in having potentially qualified leads go through to staff who either don’t know about your business or, far worse, don’t care?
Outsourced Callcentres have their place. Like many options you may be considering. If you’re not aware of what that place is and isn’t, you’re going to do irreversible harm to your brand. Don’t do it.