Customers no longer base their loyalty on price or product. What really builds customer loyalty is the quality and consistency of the customer experience (CX). Many leading brands have the opportunity to improve their customer service strategy by partnering with a business process outsourcing (BPO) provider and taking advantage of their wealth of experience and expertise in delivering exceptional CX.
BPO offers businesses significant benefits, enabling them to reduce operational overhead, mitigate risk, create cost savings by assessing and addressing internal operational inefficiencies and automate low-value capabilities that free up talent to focus on more complex, high-value tasks. However, this operational flexibility isn’t about cost avoidance, it’s about empowering the customer, as Matthew Sims, EMEA president at Alorica, a global provider of outsourced CX, explains.
He says: “CX is a strategy, not a tactic. The experience customers have when they interact with a company’s contact centre can make or break their customer loyalty, so much so that the focus on contact centres and customer service has shifted from being an expense to a business investment. But the key to a successful outsourced CX approach is the business partnership. It is a critical element of CX and the customer journey, which we understand better than most organisations. It’s why our average client tenure is more than 10 years.”
But customer behaviours are constantly changing. Organisations like Alorica are data empowered and data rich, in terms of understanding customer journeys, and are able to service unique interactions at different parts of the customer journey, ensuring that customers are catered for as individuals rather than a generic group of people.
Another top priority for businesses is globalisation, a move rife with complexities and potential language and cultural barriers. Brands are increasingly turning to BPO companies as strategic partners, using their contact centres for omnichannel support across international markets, and Alorica’s recent expansion into the EMEA region gives it a strategic advantage. “Globalisation as a target-operating model has become more important than ever,” says Sims. “Working with an outsourcing partner that provides multilingual services is critical, but understanding culture and context is even more important to a brand’s connections with its customers and to its reputation with
The war for talent
Exceptional CX relies on a talented, engaged workforce. The rationale is clear: happy employees lead to happy customers. In the current climate of acute talent shortages, organisations are exploring more diverse talent pools and markets. With an eye on increasing flexibility and scalability, they are also evaluating multi-shore, hybrid and work-at-home delivery models to avoid exposure to talent shortages and disruptions. Rather than trying to do it on their own, it’s more effective to outsource to a BPO partner that offers it as an embedded service.
Sims says: “First and foremost, Alorica is a people business and a very culturally aware and culturally diverse organisation that takes into consideration the different cultures of our staff in the same way that we would with the different cultures of our customers. Our focus is on hiring people who understand the industry and are ambassadors of our customers’ brands; providing that relevance is very important. This ensures our customers will always get the support they need from people who understand the brand they’re interacting with.”
Alorica’s teams are equipped with the training and tools to build confidence and maximise performance, while its Hypercare platform – enabling a 360-degree process based on employee feedback, data and insights to improve performance and retention – facilitates a rich, two-way communication and engagement experience between management and staff. The company, officially designated a ‘great place to work’, is heavily committed to career development including future leadership. Last year it promoted 5,000 employees, more than half of them women.
“The more successful we are at attracting and retaining talent, the better we are at supporting and partnering with our customers for the long term,” says Sims. “And we are doing something right: in our Sofia business our average attrition rate was just 2.2% attrition per month across the entire organisation.”
Automating CX BPO
It’s a common mistake for companies to fast track the implementation of new technology based on a promise of efficiency gains and digital-first resolution. But it has to be about empowering the consumer, and tech is the catalyst for enhancing CX. It has to make a positive impact on the consumer and the business, all while interacting through customers’ preferred channels.
“Different consumers will interact with different contact channels in different ways at different times during their customer life cycle,” says Sims. “If you want to make a complaint because you’ve had a bad experience on an airline, you’ll probably go to Twitter. But if you want to make a change to an upcoming flight, you’re almost certainly going to use the telephone. Don’t push people to use chat just because it’s available. Give people the choice and recognise the importance of that.”
By leveraging analytics from every customer interaction, contact centres can evaluate how to best resolve customer inquiries and automate only when confident the experience can effectively be handled without live support. Here, BPO companies can offer their experience and expertise in deploying the right technologies in the right ways at the right stage of the customer journey.
“Customer behaviours change on an ongoing basis, while technology continues to evolve rapidly,” says Sims. “Recognise the changes, and recognise the fact that you need partner-oriented people in your organisation with the knowledge, capability and sophistication to help customers understand how the technology is capable of improving and impacting the future, not just today.”
Other CX-related challenges facing contact centres include economic instability, accelerated product life cycles and ramps. Legacy infrastructures and rapid technology changes also create difficulties for brands to master and manage on their own. BPO companies deliver sustainable CX to make businesses across industries recession-proof and serve as expert tech integrators.
“CX is an investment, not a cost,” says Sims. “CX is also a practice, not an adjunct to a business that provides a service or a product. Organisations like Alorica have that breadth and depth of experience that comes from working with a multitude of different verticals in many different guises for some of the world’s largest brands.”
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