Better management on the part of outsourcing providers could save British companies a total of nearly 55 million each year in improved contact centre performance, as well as providing better service for customers, according to interaction management software provider Exony.
The latest research and analysis conducted by Exony observed that there are ten key areas in which companies could gain improvements while outsourcing their contact centre operations, leading to contract savings of some 4.5% per year. These include better resource administration, more accurate forecasting, and using management information to ensure that service level agreements (SLAs) are met and that the most appropriate billing methods are in place.
Contact centre statistics
Industry statistics show that 14% of the UK's 5,935 contact centres and 581,000 agent positions are outsourced. Exony estimates that improving organisations' ability to measure and manage their outsourcing providers would save 675 per annum for each of these 81,340 outsourced agents, making an annual total saving of 54.9 million in the UK alone. This saving could pay for an additional 3,660 customer service agents to be employed, thus improving overall efficiency and also cutting call waiting times for customers.
"Delivering the finest customer service is a key business goal for organisations of all sizes," explained Ian Ashby, CEO for Exony. "Managed correctly, outsourcing provides the agility and skills to achieve this. However, our analysis shows that a lack of control is fuelling a 55 million black hole in the UK alone. Already, around 50% of companies that outsource are dissatisfied because expectations are not being met, and our research shows that UK firms are spending too much on their outsourcing contracts. An improved ability to measure and manage them is needed to plug these gaps and deliver on the outsourcing promise."
Ten action points
Exony's top ten areas for action, based on its white paper on the subject of contact centre outsourcing, can be summarised as follows:
- Better routing and reporting on calls: Savings through better integration and reporting on telecoms links with outsourced providers.
- Improved management of extended networks: Lower administration costs when managing resource changes, such as adding agents.
- Enhanced contractual terms with outsourcers: Through a more detailed view of outsourcer performance, organisations can measure performance and decide whether to continue, amend or terminate contracts.
- Picking the most effective outsourcer billing method: Better management information enables organisations to choose the optimum billing method for their needs, such as per minute or per transaction.
- Ensuring contractual compliance: Through a more detailed view of outsourcer performance organisations can measure and pay against SLAs.
- More accurate forecasting of current and future needs: Detailed forecasting to ensure that the right resources are in place to deliver customer service levels without wastage.
- Better visibility into agent churn: More granular reporting enables organisations to pinpoint newer or less productive agents and negotiate lower rates with outsourcers.
- Cost savings by not relying on outsourcer-produced reports: If organisations produce their own custom reports without dealing with outsourcers it enables faster, more cost-effective service.
- Use a single version of the truth: Avoid inconsistencies by creating and measuring agreed metrics across the whole contact centre infrastructure.
- Data partitioning: Be able to easily provide access to specific data for outsourcers and particular managers rather than allowing full view of potentially sensitive information.
Exony's own Virtualised Interaction Manager contact centre software was designed to provide this full view and complete control of a virtual contact centre and its resources. Business managers can then use resources from multiple sources, such as home and back office workers, in a seamless manner, removing a lot of the expense and complexity from the management of contact centre networks.
The white paper, entitled Virtual Contact Centres and Outsourcer Management, outlines the advantages of virtual contact centres in terms of both customer service and efficiency, and ways to improve the techniques organisations use to measure, manage and contract with their outsourcing suppliers. The paper shows how an improved ability to measure and manage a virtual contact centre leads to cost savings, regardless of the contact centre's size.
The white paper has been made available for free download from Exony's web site - click here.