As many of you know, I run a helpline in the UK (0121 364 4000) where anyone can call me and ask about outsourcing call centres. One question I am often asked (although sometimes in a roundabout kind of way) is where they should put the work. Should it be done onshore or offshore and if offshore, in which country? I'm not going to answer the 'which country?' question in this short article as I've written extensively about all common destinations but let me tell you very briefly the rules I've created in determining which kind of work goes where.
(1) Business to Business appointment setting and sale should ALWAYS be done in The UK. I've worked with lots of clients who've tried offshore and not one has succeeded in the long-term. Just don't do it!
(2) Business to business list building, data cleansing work should generally be done offshore. It's normally about getting good quality control at a good cost and that can be done offshore assuming you have the right vendor.
(3) Everyone always tells me that webchat should be done offshore. There is no accent issue and so offshore is the most cost-effective solution, From a consumer perspective, I've had some very poor experiences offshore with webchat. Unless the agents are trained effectively (and often they aren't), webchat is a very frustrating process offshore. The simple answer is either do it right offshore or do it onshore.
(4) Business to consumer sales: There are some examples of when this has worked offshore but invariably, it's better done in The UK. The conversion rates will be higher, the costs per sale are higher, the data usage is higher, the required input from the client is lower as are the complaints. There are some examples where I would do the work offshore but there are too detailed to go into during this article.
(5) Collections is more complicated. It does actually work quite well offshore but there are only a handful of offshore operations who can cover all the legal, technical and data protection issues which go with the work being done offshore. Yes, you will find lots and lots of centres who say they can but when you go through a thorough due-diligence, they fall down. If you would like to discuss working with these offshore call centres who will pass a thorough due diligence, call me on 0121 364 4000. In many cases, collections works just fine in The UK although good collections agents are expensive especially in South East England. There are also some very good examples of blended onshore-offshore operations working very well.
(6) Customer services. This is pretty simple really. Onshore in better and offshore is cheaper. Which has the greater focus; cost or quality. Of course, this isn't an either/or solution. It's fairly easy to get good value in The UK now and many offshore vendors are far better than some people give them credit for. If you want some more detailed advice, give me a call or email me.
(7) Technical support: the same principles apply to technical support as customer service. There is a much greater supply of technical support skills in Asia (especially in India). This doesn't always translate into these people also having good communication skills but often it can. Many companies like to keep these skills in-country as they like to control limited knowledge-sets especially when it's high level support. I hope this short piece helps you to think about whether you'd like to onshore or offshore. Read through my site and you'll see I've written tons of stuff about different types of outsourcing and this article is just a high-level document aimed to start the thought-process. Don't forget that we can always help you find specific call centres for specific projects. Good luck
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