Deloitte and callcentre.co.uk outsourcing survey 2012
Are clients and outsourcers speaking the same language?
Customer Service or “Front-Office” Outsourcing is generally considered a mature market but there are still organisations on the client-side and the supply-side who rely on anecdotal feedback about others’ experiences in this important field and don’t have real data on which to make sound decisions.
Outsourcing of contact centres in the UK is a highly established sector, but one where client experiences have been mixed and one which has had to adapt in recent times to the introduction of new channels as well as deal with the consequences of the economic crisis. Deloitte and callcentre.co.uk have worked together over the past few months to seek the opinions of those involved in both sides of the industry and this report brings together our findings. When reviewing the analysis that our teams have completed, a number of things are striking:
- Given the maturity of the customer service outsourcing market, it always surprises me how much of a mismatch there is between what client organisations value and what outsourcers think they value. Our survey backs this up.
- Outsourcers continue to be victims of change, rather than leaders of change. The rise of self-service, social media and crowd-sourcing has been seen as a threat, rather than an opportunity to work in partnership with clients to find innovative new commercial and operational models.
- Quality of staff and everything around recruiting, training, coaching and engagement of people is, predictably, one of the main criteria for organisations selecting an outsourcer. We think it is more important than location (and often a driver for location choices), although there are some industries where certain locations have strongly negative connotations (e.g. India and China).
- Commercial innovation has been remarkably slow in the market with relatively few risk/reward or co management contracts let and a lot based on cost-per-advisor-hour type measures.
- Analytics, which could be a rich source of customer insight, process improvements and people and performance management opportunities, has not really been seriously embraced by outsourcers, which means that they are typically lagging behind their clients. To some clients, one of the main reasons for using an outsourcer is to benefit from best practice, so being behind the curve here is a real disadvantage in the market. Our main conclusion is that there is real opportunity for outsourcers to develop their offerings and their core disciplines, using their scale and clout (if they have it) to invest in new technologies. They should think more strategically about the future and the inexorable march of change in customer needs and the channels they want to use. I hope you find the outputs of our research as interesting as I have and are able to consider how your own experiences compare with those of our respondents. Outsourcing partnerships can work well, but this requires effort to be invested in truly working collaboratively.