Why sourcing could be the perfect option for high-growth firms
by Mike Hughes, Managing Director, PeopleTECH
Friday, April 24, 2015
When you are the founder of a start-up, addressing future contact centre strategies would barely merit a thought in the early days of business. An entrepreneur is always going to be focused on coming up with the right idea for their business, securing funding, creating a product and building a customer-base.
But as they set about establishing their business, what do they do when things start to grow quickly? One of the areas that seemingly gets neglected is the customer experience. And ironically, this is one area that really should be at the heart of any business, whether a high-growth company or established FTSE 100 firm. What can start-ups do to protect the customer experience that is so integral in modern business?
Most start-ups (and subsequently, high-growth firms) are based on the vision of the founder. That founder has a fairly fixed idea of what the business should be, what the product should feel like, who the customers are and what type of service those customers will receive. If the business idea is a sound one, then there won’t be too many customer experience problems at the outset.
On a smaller-scale, a business can manage the customer experience itself fairly easily. They are controlling each element and there aren’t sufficient numbers of customers for problems to emerge. The phone is answered on time and any issues that a customer may have can be addressed promptly and efficiently.
But business models need to evolve and change as the business itself begins to scale. And the better and more disruptive the idea behind the business, the quicker it will scale. A good UI is easy enough to manage, but getting the backend systems and right people in place is another matter. If the processes and technology can’t support a firm’s growth, then the customer experience will suffer.
Yet with many high-growth firms still having a firm eye on expenditure, an outsourced contact centre can be seen as an unnecessary expense. So founders will often try and manage this internally, conscious of the need to save money and answer to investors.
Keeping customer contact in-house is tempting. It allows the firm to retain control, is straight forward, initially cheaper and there are fewer opportunities for the brand to suffer through association with an outsourced contact centre.
But in fact, sourcing this requirement gives better results and in the long-term is as cost-effective. This is what a high-growth firm should look for when looking to appoint an outsourced contact centre provider:
Transparency – when a high-growth firm trusts an outsourced partner with their customers, they do want reassurances as to the quality of interactions with those customers. This can be provided by the provider being clear and transparent about: call volumes; the number of calls answered; how many calls are lost each day; and providing KPI scores each day to ensure things are as they should be.
A high-growth heritage – although the principals of a contact centre for a high-growth firm are the same as for an established multi-national firm, there are certain nuances that need to be addressed. What kind of customer base does your proposed provider have? Have they worked with other high-growth firms in the past? If you can see firm evidence of success with other high-growth firms, then that is a good sign they could be the right fit for your business.
The right technology – this is an increasingly important element for any outsourced contact centre provider. Anyone working with a high-growth firm needs to be able to demonstrate they can make use of advances like Visual IVR and the Single Digital Channel (SDC). SDC gives a customer service agent access to all media types from their desktop, with all contact interaction taken by customers - voice, email, chat, social media – waiting in one queue to be addressed by the right agent. The ‘right’ agent can mean the next available agent, one with a particular skill-set or area of expertise, or even one with a prior history with that customer.
It allows agents to deliver a much more efficient service and is a real asset to any high-growth firm wanting to deliver true next-generation customer experience. But such advances would not be available should a high-growth firm choose not to outsource its contact centre. That’s why sourcing is the best option for any high-growth firm that wants to continue offering the best customer experience as the company scales and grows.
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Mike Hughes is MD at customer management consultancy, PeopleTECH. Mike has a proven track record in demonstrating a deep understanding of the people, technology and processes required to deliver a 21st century customer experience.