You know, they said the rush to offshore contact centers had slowed. They even said some of the offshore business was coming back home. What did they know?
Did you see the Deloitte® 2015 Global Contact Center Survey Executive Summary published last June? There’s some interesting data there that tells a different story:
- Globally, 35% of the responders outsource their contact centers
- 60% of US and Canadian responders have operations outside of the US or Canada and 25% operate in over 10 countries
- Companies in Western Europe have most contact centers in Eastern Europe
In short, offshore contact centers are still thriving. Companies who make this choice say they are looking for cheaper and more available labor.
Offshoring might be right for your business, but before you decide, consider this data from the survey:
- Half of the responders believe that contact centers play a primary role in retaining customers — 70% of Health Plans believe that
- Most responders view customer experience as a competitive differentiator
- Accuracy and quality of information, access to the contact center, and first contact resolution were identified as the top customer experience (CX) attributes
So the real question is, “What about quality?” Can you deliver quality customer experiences from an offshore contact center?
Dealing with Complexity
Going offshore is complex. Think about it: every single call can travel thousands of miles and back again, but customers will still expect reasonably quick response times. Then, there’s still the usual complexities of networks and technologies, vendors and service providers. Now add in multiple international carrier links, many Session Border Controllers, and multiple firewalls. Is your head spinning yet?
So, how do most companies that are offshoring cope with the complexity? Believe it or not, most of them rely on reports from their outsource partner to understand if all calls are being handled correctly and whether or not the voice quality is good. And — you guessed it — most outsource partners are penalized if they don’t meet certain targets. Should their reports be trusted? Probably not.
However, here are five steps that can help you deliver a great customer experience with an offshore contact center:
- Verify that your offshore contact center functions as you expect. Test thoroughly before rolling out an offshore contact center. Reliability is critical, especially when you consider the additional complexity.
- Validate that the voice quality is good. You can transmit audio to get a MOS score. You can also listen to recordings of actual calls.
- Make sure you can scale to handle traffic. Using the cloud gives you massive load generation capabilities.
- Check traffic in production. By adding just trace traffic, you can get the ongoing assurance that production customer experiences are of a high quality.
- Don’t forget regression testing. As you make future changes, rerun your Test Cases to see if the new development broke any existing code.
If you want to take things further, these three types of tests can give you additional confidence.
Benchmarking: Benchmarking is what it sounds like. It gives you a standard for measuring future improvements. Benchmarking provides meaningful metrics such as time to connect, IVR response times, and audio quality. Benchmarking can also highlight problems that aren’t so evident, such as: business hours that are configured incorrectly, calls dropping out of the IVR, and slow response times from database dips. You can also test agent behaviors and train remote agents using virtual agent tools.
Load and Non-functional Testing: This type of testing helps ensure that your offshore contact center can handle anticipated call volumes and failover scenarios. It can also identify significant firewall issues, which would cause voice quality to fall if the firewall hasn’t been properly scaled. This situation is just one example of what you could find, and it’s almost impossible to spot without a load test.
Production Monitoring: This monitoring is constant and repetitive probing of the production customer experience environment. This active low-level testing gives you immediate feedback on any issues so that they can be fixed with minimal impact to your customers.
Is Offshoring Worth the Risk?
If you decide to go offshore, the customer experience you deliver needs to be as good as what you would deliver with your own people from your own contact centers. You can’t afford anything less if you want to stay competitive. By taking the five steps above to ensure quality and additional customer experience testing, if you choose, you can enjoy the efficiencies of offshoring while minimizing risk.
Find out more about the Cyara Platform