Congratulations are in order. Over the last few years, you have worked hard, and your business has grown exponentially under your leadership. You’ve met with the board and discovered that your customer support hotline is overloaded. You need to act quickly, and set up a larger call centre in order to support the incoming questions.
Popular destinations are all over Asia, China, India, the Philippines, and Indonesia. On the surface, all of these options look promising: Large amounts of hard-working labour, Low employment costs, and relaxed regulations allow for quick construction and closer start dates. In the long run, however, there is more risk and eventual cost in placing your call centres overseas than there is keeping them within the Australian borders.
The companies that choose to place call centres overseas pay different costs. There is a cost to data integrity, cultural and language understandings, public perception, and the quality of the services delivered. While it may look good on an accounting ledger, moving a call centre overseas is a bad investment in the future of your company.
Every day, hundreds of thousands of transactions are made over the phone or online. In order to make those transactions, private information is exchanged between the buyer and the seller. This allows the purchaser to make the purchase. That’s nothing new, Global Economics 101 if you will. The problem occurs when those pieces of information are intercepted by a third party. Electronic identity theft happens hundreds of times a day. According to the United States Department of Justice, in 2014, the average cost of money stolen per incident was around $1300 USD. That’s the cost from the buyers perspective. According to an IBM study, the average cost of a data breach to the company was around $4 million USD. Thousands of people are affected when data is breached, and it takes years to clean up the mess. A data breach sticks in customers’ memories for a long time, and they will continue to think twice about using your service as long as that breach stays in their memory. Data integrity isn’t just about the cold numbers associated with business, but rather the value of the customers your serving. Perception is everything: If your customers don’t believe they are safe, they will go somewhere they are.
Keeping your call centres and lead generation services in Australia won’t prevent all data breaches. However, it will reduce the threat significantly. Having your call centre in another country isolates and insulates your workers from the main corporate heart. When workers don’t feel connected to the main hub of business, it is easier to act in a way that might not be beneficial. Keeping contact centres close to home allows for more direct exchanges between technical departments and corporate offices. If there is a breach, there’s no need to call half-way around the world to find out what is going on. Technical support from inside the country you’re based in will always be more efficient and responsive. One of the unaddressed issues with overseas call centres is the idea of differing cultures. This also serves as a massive insulating force. It can be much more difficult to enforce corporate discipline when crossing cultural barriers. When you’re dealing with people from your country, town, and culture, it is much easier to address issues when something goes wrong. Keeping your call centres close to home also improves customer service and public perception.
No one likes to sit on hold for an hour waiting for someone in customer service to pick up. What is worse is when someone does pick up, they have an accent that renders their English almost unrecognisable. Learning any language that is not your own is difficult, and learning it to a proficiency where you can conduct business is an achievement to be praised. However, not everyone is a gifted linguist, and most call centres and telesales providers do not pay well enough to attract gifted linguists to answer customers’ questions. This leaves foreign-based contact centres staffed by hardworking, but accent-challenged individuals. To many, one language may sound like another. That is not the case. Languages come in families, and different families of languages can be very different. European languages such as Italian and Spanish are very different than Indic languages such as Bengali or Hindi. These languages aren’t just different, they have little to nothing in common. When it comes to learning a language from a different tree, there will always be difficulties to overcome. English, because it is a mix of several different languages, is particularly difficult to learn. For a business, this means untold resources invested in teaching a new group of people a new language. If you keep your call centres in the same region, you can entirely erase this consideration. There’s no need to spend resources overcoming a language barrier if there isn’t one.
Even more than language is culture. The culture in Japan and the culture in the United States are two very different cultures. Often times, what is considered just good manners in one culture can be downright offensive in another. Corporate culture is almost night and day. While Western ideals speak of direct communication and quick exchanges, eastern cultures tend to value to time it takes to make a proper exchange. While westerners prefer honest yes or no answers, eastern cultures value saving face over admitting a negative truth. While both of these cultures work well in their own spheres of influence, they may not necessarily work well together. Keeping your call centre in Australia guarantees that everyone on an exchange has the same mindset, and is playing to the same cultural and linguistic rules. When customers feel that they have been heard and understood the first time, they will have a better overall experience. When customers feel alienated, speaking with someone who doesn’t understand what they need, a bad experience is burned into their memories. When you add up a dozen, a hundred, or a thousand such experiences, a public perception is formed. That public perception can make or break even the strongest company.
In the age of social media such as twitter, Facebook, and a dozen other social media outlets and sites, good reviews for companies can go global in a matter of minutes. Bad reviews as well, but bad news travels faster than ever, and stays around for longer. Bad reviews for companies stick around long enough that an industry for masking them has sprung up in recent decades. The best way to minimise the effect of negative reviews is to not have any to begin with. Customer perception is key to having a successful business, and first impressions are everything. In 2015, The Global CX Wakeup Call report said that a cold call was successful because of prompt and courteous staff. In that same year, the Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report found that 97% of people surveyed said that customer service is very important, or somewhat important to their loyalty to a brand. The bottom line is this: Treat your customers right, and you’ll have customers for life. It requires much less effort to bring an old customer back than it does to attract a new one.
The best way to create the fantastic public perception of your company is to create a great first impression. Keeping call centres regional is a great first step. When a customer calls your phone answering service, there won’t be any guessing words, rehearsed lines in broken English, or misapplied idioms or phrases. Your customers will feel at home because they will be at home. If your company is seen as taking care of home first, that will influence public perception even more to the positive.
In addition to creating a homelike atmosphere for your customers, building your contact centres or appointment setting service in Australia will allow you to support Australia first. The money you spend to build a site will go towards the local economy immediately. The computers and infrastructure for your building will be provided by Australians, working to better Australian communities. The people staffing your call centres will be Australian workers, creating a better life for their families. Even in the age of Globalisation, there is still a strong push towards local communities first. Keeping jobs at home, keeping money at home, and keeping people here are always good ideas. When tax season comes, local businesses pay local governments, not foreign ones. That money will stay here, and benefit the Australian people first.
The biggest reason not to go overseas and build a call centre or lead generation service is the lack of quality control. You worked hard to get your business where it is, now is not the time to sacrifice quality. When your business, or its call centre, are overseas, it is that much harder to ensure the quality of the service given. It could be a simple case of “Different people, different priorities,” or it could be a much more serious problem.
Overseas pharmaceuticals have been plagued for decades with quality control issues. Technology is pirated almost as soon as it can be manufactured, and China has earned a reputation for producing large amounts of poorly made goods. This isn’t to say foreign lands are full of incompetence. Rather, different people have different priorities. If you keep your call centres in the country, you do not need to worry about alternative priorities, and can focus completely on the main priority: Satisfied customers.
The world of business is changing, and getting smaller every day. As the world becomes more and more interconnected, good and bad news travel at the speed of a mouse click. Financial decisions are made every day, and those decisions can have massive effects on the future of a corporation. Placing a call centre overseas may make sense in the short term, but there are far too many risks for it to make sense in the long run. Imperatif can work with you to set up the perfect call centre in Australia. With the right price, for the right set up, we can make sure your customers are greeted by local voices when they call. Your customers will know their data is secure, and their time is valuable. Most of all, they will know that your company is synonymous with value, and quality.
Imperatif has been in the business for quite a while and will create a call centre solution based on your needs. Let us help bring you to your customers. Contact Imperatif Call Centre now to have Obligation Free Plan.