UK financial services companies are wasting money and damaging customer relations by offshoring call centres, according to a study by Compass Management Consulting.
Rises in personnel costs of up to 15% per annum in countries such as India are reducing the price advantages of offshore call centres, according to the study.
“All financial services companies should ask themselves some simple questions ahead of an offshoring decision: ‘What are the drivers of efficient call centres and what is the market price for operating a call centre that helps the business remain or even become competitive?’," said Simon Scarrott, head of business development and marketing at Compass.
It is not enough to simply offload problem operations and inefficient processes to other countries in the hope they will improve, said Scarrot. The key issue is to what extent savings are real, sustainable and continue to enhance the consumer experience, he said.
“In too many cases, service quality is being compromised by an offshoring decision that fails to deliver the level of savings anticipated,” said Scarrott.
In addition to the poor perceptions of service that customers report with offshore contact centres, language difficulties can also lower productivity and lead to calls lasting up to twice as long as home-based operations, says the report.
In Compass studies, listening or understanding failures occur in an average of 4% of calls in onshore call centres.
For offshore call centres, the figure rises to 18% and each one of these failures can lengthen the call duration by 39% to 105%, due to misunderstandings and lack of clarity.
These longer call times mean that many offshore call centres are far less productive than onshore operations, when measured in business terms such as sales closed and accounts opened, said Compass.
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