For many many years customer service operations have been using external resources or outsourcers to get additional capacity for their customer service operation. For the customer this means that the customer experience may be different from one outsourcer to another.
For whatever reason this ‘hybrid’ model has become very common, but for many organizations, this model has made the service offering far more complex to manage. It has not always delivered the standard of customer service that many top brands would expect and has not necessarily delivered the business benefits that were originally thought would be delivered.
The provision of the outsource service and its infrastructure to support it is usually separated from the main contact center environment meaning that it is isolated in its own silo.
Let’s look at the three key models generally used by organizations.
1. Network Delivered Outsourcing
This has been the traditional model where the calls are delivered to the outsourcer from a specific number dialed by the customer (dial plan) or network IVR option selection. The services offered by the outsourcer are completely separate.
The positive points about this approach are that it’s easy to set up with few technology changes to make, and so it is ‘quick to market’. It can also be removed or changed quickly making it flexible. It’s also easy to operate with no internal resources needed to make changes. Finally it puts (most of) the responsibility for resource planning onto the outsourcer as their contracts are usually based on a number of available seats at any particular time.
On the negative side there is no visibility into how the outsourcer manages resources, no way to manage real-time adherence, it’s difficult to adjust resourcing in real-time to meet service objectives, and it’s very difficult to provide a ‘screen pop’ of customer data for outsourcer’s agents to use.
2. Enterprise Routed Outsourcing
Calls all come to organization’s ACD but are then redirected to the outsourcer’s ACD for local distribution
The positive points about this approach are that it provides greater control over what traffic goes to the outsourcer and it can be adjusted in line with service objectives. The resource planning is still the outsourcer’s responsibility, usually based on providing a fixed number of seats at certain times of the day and providing a ‘screen pop’ of customer data is now often possible.
On the negative side, there is no visibility into how the outsourcer manages resources and no way to manage real-time adherence.
3. Virtualized Outsourcing
Calls all come to the organization’s ACD but are then redirected to the outsourcer‘s agents who are connected to the organization’s ACD
The positive points about this approach are that it provides the greatest control over what traffic goes to the outsourcer, and it can be adjusted in line with service objectives. Resource planning is done by the organization for outsourced agents, and real-time adherence can be managed for both in and outsourced agents, and outsourced agents fully utilize the organization’s systems. It can also allow ‘competition’ to be introduced; both outsourcers and in-house operations can compete for work based on ‘value’, and this can be accurately measured.
The only real downside to this approach is that the contract with the outsourcer now needs to focus on resource availability and service quality, which can make it more complex to manage.
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