Offshore Call Centre Guide
There are now a lot of options when it comes to considering the right destination for your call centre. Balancing cost, the customer experience, how well you can segment your customers and even the age demographics of your customers can all be key factors.
And once you’ve decided that offshoring your call centre is a good option, where do you put it? Which location is right for your business ultimately comes down to considering a range of options including:
- The type of calls (sales, service, support etc)
- The complexity of the calls (just follow a script or is there a high level of autonomy required?)
- The volume of calls
- Channel support (phone calls, emails, Social Media etc)
- Price (of course!)
- The tolerance level of your customers (what other options do they have?)
- Proximity to your business
Unfortunately there is no single factor that guarantees success.
Is keeping it in Australia an option?
The Australian contact centre industry employs around 250,000 agents and Australian contact centres are globally well regarded for the high quality of their processes, a naturally friendly approach and a strong focus on process optimisation.
The almost razor like approach on process optimisation is largely driven by the high cost of labour that in contact centre world, is amongst the highest on the planet. It’s this high labour costs that forces Australian organisations to source lower cost alternatives saving often in excess of 70% of their onshore centres and no doubt thats why you are reading this article right now.
Our view is that no one outsources their call centres from Australia to an offshore destination for a better customer experience, the decision is primarily related to cost savings. Customers will always prefer support where the ease of communication has the least friction e.g. can be easily understood (no accent) and understands the culture and local nuances. With advances in call centre technology like automation (e.g. chatbots) and voice biometrics there are numerous ways you can reduce the headcount and improve service.
Offshore Call Centre Options for Australian Businesses
If you have now ruled Australia out then where do you go? We’ve listed below the common destinations used by Australian businesses. Once you decide on a country, you can search for outsourcers by country in our business directory or you can use our free service, CX Connect, where based on your requirements, we will recommend up to three quality outsourced partners for you.
Similar in culture to Australia, New Zealand offers essentially the same level of service and capability however thanks to lower labour costs and some associated on-costs, Australian companies can save up to 30% by having their contact centre in New Zealand.
The close proximity is also an advantage with the key call centre hubs of Wellington and Auckland only 3 hours away from Melbourne.
The contact centre industry is reportedly growing at around 15% per annum in South Africa and for good reason; a highly educated workforce, similar culture to Australia, UK and the US, robust infrastructure, low turnover, strong work ethic and to top it off, low cost with savings of over 50% from onshore operations.
Foxtel and iiNet are just two large Australian companies with a strong South Africa focus and expect plenty more to follow.
Distance may be a factor though with a trip to South Africa around 14 hours from Australia so if you need to have resources back and forth make sure you consider the cost.
Now the largest call centre industry in the world, the Philippines BPO industry employs approx 1.2 million workers and is worth around $12.8 billion USD. Low cost (savings of up to 70%), American accents and time zones close to Australia have all contributed to a large number of Australian call centres moving their operations to the Phillipines.
Customer sentiment is mixed with many Australians frustrated by the experience. Like Australia, you get your mix of good and poor agents however training, empowering the agents with the right information and system access, selecting a good partner and being careful in what types of calls are handled can all mitigate the risks.
High staff turnover, increasing costs, a strained infrastructure and the high prevalence of natural disasters (e.g. flooding/typhoons etc) need to be considered. Political uncertainty is now also playing a factor with the Trump lead US Government and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte both having firm views on the way forward for their countries.
Similar in cost to the Phillipines, Fiji is also in close proximity to Australia and with a fibre-optic cable linking Australia and New Zealand in 2009 and first world telecommunications in place, it is continuing to emerge as a viable destination.
A well educated English speaking workforce that is renowned for friendly customer service and cost savings comparable with the Philippines will continue to put Fiji in the mix for consideration.
Once the global leader in call centre offshore outsourcing, India has been plagued by poor customer feedback and with the emergence of other cheaper and closer destinations, the Indian call centre industry continues to decline.
However, with its highly educated workforce India continues to be a suitable destination for some high-tech/IT support roles and for back office processing.