As the market for contact center outsourcing has matured, buyers are increasingly looking for sophisticated support from suppliers to enhance the customer experience across multiple channels, which include mobile apps and social media.
A recent post from CIO* describes what call center outsourcing customers are looking for. Call center outsourcing customers are looking for more than just cost cutting from their deals today. They want providers that can help them deliver business outcomes.
The inclusion of value-added services, such as customer retention, multi-channel management such as live chat support, email support, social media monitoring and customer analytics is on the rise, according to outsourcing consultancy Everest Group’s contact outsourcing annual report.
“What we are finding is that it’s becoming more prevalent to outsource by channel not by consumer need,” says Menzigian. “So you might see outsourcing happening by line of business or product or geography. Outsource call center service providers are working very hard to position themselves as being able to support that integrated channel experience.”
“It’s not so much the technology itself as how it is used to effectively shape the customer experience,” says Menzigian. “That requires dedicated effort.” One service provider, for example, had invested in a social media response center — a kind of innovation lab that would enable it to move beyond social media monitoring to social media response. Another conducts internal exercises simulating the customer experience across channels.
Service providers are also investing more in analytics beyond basic reporting with a goal of offering predictive modeling for their clients. Outsourcing clients themselves are focusing more on their call center relationships in order to achieve more of the business outcomes desired. “They realize they need to invest in the relationships they have with their service providers,” says Menzigian. As a result, many are rationalizing their provider portfolio and working more closely with a core group of vendors.
The industry is also seeing a shift in pricing models, according to the report. While pure headcount-based, fixed-fee and transaction-based pricing are all on the decline, hybrid pricing (which incorporates a combination of pricing mechanisms) is on the rise. “Clients are taking a much more detailed look at the activity within the contract and trying to identify how to better align the desired outcomes through pricing.”
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