Outsourcing Customer Care with Geographic Diversity
The contact center industry has a diverse, global footprint, and brands choosing to outsource their customer service face the challenge of determining which geography is the right fit for their needs.
A lot of factors influence a brand’s decision when choosing a geographic location for outsourcing their customer support. Macroeconomic reasons like time zone and travel accessibility, as well as microeconomic factors such as infrastructure and population all play into the decision making process when it comes to outsourcing customer care services.
Many brands are choosing to outsource into multiple geographies for their various customer care and back office needs, establishing a global footprint for their brand’s customer care support, which can have a number of benefits.
Benefits of Blendshoring
For brands that are fast growing and need to scale their customer care program quickly and profitably, blendshoring is a perfect fit. Adding an offshore or nearshore location can be a cost-effective way to handle certain channels or solutions, while continuing to offer a North American program. Technical support, back office support, and functions like Quality Assurance, are often outsourced to an offshore location, gaining not only cost savings, but also access to the right employee skill set and expertise.
Expanding your customer service operations to additional geographies also gives you the opportunity to provide services in more languages. In Latin America, for example, Spanish support is extremely prominent and inexpensive, while in Europe there is supply for a wide range of European languages such as German, Italian, Greek, and French. When deciding where to outsource, it’s important to consider your typical customer profile including what channels of support they prefer and what languages they speak.
As brands grow, they experience a need for additional redundancy. Expanding to a second location in another city, country, or perhaps even continent, can provide additional business continuity when it comes to technology malfunctions such as internet router failure, facility evacuation in the case of a fire or flood, natural disaster recovery, and more. Having customer care operations across multiple locations simultaneously contributes to a more secure business continuity plan should something unexpected go awry.
Hours of Operation
An additional consideration when determining where to outsource is the hours of operation you require support, based on when your customers are most likely to contact. By incorporating an offshore location into your customer care strategy, in addition to an onshore or nearshore operation, you can reap the benefits of mirroring the typical North American hours of operation, resulting in a 24 hour overall coverage between two (or more) geographies. This provides benefits to your global customers, who can reach you whenever is convenient for them.
Blended Work-From-Home Model
The future of contact centers will be some form of a blended model with some employees working on campus while others are working from their homes. This model allows for greater geographic diversity and flexibility, with employees no longer needing to be directly tied to a campus in close proximity. This widens the recruiting pool to include talent across the globe, providing an opportunity for greater language variety, customized skills, and further cost savings.
Managing Global Culture
Managing a global team can be challenging, whether employees are working at home or on campus. It’s important to ensure employees feel engaged and appreciated, as well as connected to their teams and leaders. By aligning your brand culture with the culture of your outsourcing partner, you can connect associates from across the globe and inject your brand culture into their workspace. This can be achieved in many ways, including through small gestures like sending a brand swag package to each associate when they join the team, or implementing a technology solution to help keep the team connected and engaged no matter where they are in the world.
Effectively managing a global team culture also means recognizing the differences between each geographic culture and adjusting best practices accordingly. From custom hiring profiles during the recruiting phase to KPI monitoring and coaching, each geographic team has unique needs and preferences, but still need to be held to the same performance standards. To continuously improve performance, it can be valuable to implement a champion-challenger model across different locations where teams compete against each other in a friendly competition, resulting in improved KPIs at all locations.
Finding the Right Fit
Outsourcing customer care to multiple geographies can help your brand continuously grow and improve performance, while minimizing cost. There are benefits to onshore, nearshore, and offshore customer service operations, it’s just a matter of determining what blend is the right fit for your brand.