Uthaman Bakthikrishnan is an Executive VP at ClearTouch, engaged in setting and implementing the company’s strategic direction and guiding its product and services road map. He specializes in identifying market gaps, opportunities, right business strategies and talent for execution. With 25 years of experience in the IT and software industries, Uthaman has directed ClearTouch’s growth over the past three/five years (in excess of 200% each year) by scaling the company to five locations and more than tripling its head count. Prior to ClearTouch, he has held several roles and one among them is his role as the Software Engineer at Morgan Stanley. A SaaS champion, his competencies include IT Strategy, Enterprise Architecture, Project Management, Requirement Analysis and Software Development to name a few. He specialises in creating sustainable value through his engagements, often starting from scratch as he directs them to completion.
With ever-changing customer expectations, businesses are struggling to meet constant demands, engage meaningfully and optimise their business operations. To enhance customer experience, businesses are opting for outsourced customer service operations to have a dedicated call center that works towards solving customer queries and enhancing customer experience.
As per a report by GlobalData, spending on BPO services in India is set to grow at a CAGR of 5.8% to reach a whopping $8.8 billion by 2025. While the outsourcing industry is set to grow in the coming years, let us understand what businesses must consider before outsourcing their customer service operations-
- Cost saving and Pricing:
Businesses should look at reducing operational costs to determine if outsourcing customer relations operations will help reduce a significant amount of capital in hiring and on-boarding employees or instead add additional costs to the company. Pricing is also a crucial decision businesses must consider before opting for an outsourced partner. Instead of going for the cheapest vendor, it is advisable to keep in mind the value and differentiation the vendor brings.
- Technology Resources:
Technology solutions are a key consideration businesses should keep in mind. Emerging technology tools like AI/ML, cloud and data intelligence tools like chatbots, live video, etc., are very crucial to customer service operations. With innovative solutions like Voice Analytics, contact centers can streamline various operations relating to analysis of calls and regulating the volumes of calls, to better assist customers in their queries. Today technology solutions improve customer experience in call centers by helping customers connect with chatbots to solve simple queries that don’t require human involvement.
The ability to meet deadlines in outsourcing is vital. As an enterprise, you must determine if a vendor has enough resources to meet deadlines and also ensure the quality of service. Tardiness will ultimately result in the loss of customers, thus nullifying any cost-effective benefits that involve hiring outsourced operations.
- Acclimatizing Agents:
While the main purpose of hiring vendor is to handover customer service operations, businesses need to remember that they should focus on familiarising their outsourced partners with the company culture, guidelines and also set aside time to provide regular training to agents and update them on relevant company information that will help them engage more meaningfully with customers. Businesses should employ work force management in order to implement forecasting and tracking strategies to manage overstaffing or understaffing while also evaluating the employee performance.
- The Service Level Agreement:
The Service Level Agreement (SLA) is an important, legally binding document for outsourcing partnerships. Businesses should make sure that the document clearly outlines the details of the agreement between the business and the vendor to make sure there are no ambiguous clauses.
Outsourcing customer service operations is a crucial decision for any business. Hence, it is important to focus on factors like reliability, associated risks, and technological resources and cost savings to ensure your outsourcing tasks cost less than in-house operations. Ultimately, outsourcing your operations should result in seamless, integrated customer engagement.