Customer Service Rightshoring: Striking a Balance in an Omnichannel World


Customer Service Rightshoring: Striking a Balance in an Omnichannel World

By TMCnet Special Guest
Colleen Miller, Vice President, Contact Center Solutions, Harte-Hanks Response Management
  |  January 10, 2014

There’s a lot of talk about contact center rightshoring – and with the discussion comes misperceptions. What is rightshoring, and where does the approach fit in today’s complex omnichannel environment?

Rightshoring is defined as a restructuring of workforce or processes with the goal of utilizing a mix of offshoring, nearshoring and outsourcing to achieve the optimum level of efficiencies and productivity. Buyers will typically procure services to optimize operational margins. To do so, they will procure services from the most efficient source, the right location, and in the right proportion. To effectively rightsource is to secure a balance of multishore locations with an eye toward sourcing closer to customer demand. This shift to so-called globally local operations offers many benefits, including reduced lead times, a better experience for customers, improved agility, and an increased bottom line.

In today’s omnichannel world – where consumers demand 24/7 service across channels –companies looking to rightshore need to be mindful of factors beyond location and cost. While location and cost are key considerations, so too are factors such as contact interaction volume, the number of channels through which customers are engaged, customer valuation and global presence – to name a few. In this context, rightshoring is about evaluating a customer’s lifetime value to determine the best way to interact, at what level of financial investment, through what channels, and in what locations — with the end goal of providing the appropriate level of service that will result in customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Rightshoring then is less about gravitating toward popular geographical areas to find the lowest cost and more about customer segmentation, call segmentation, and the impact on Net Promoter Score and overall customer satisfaction. Knowledgeable and experienced vendors will encourage a company to evaluate both critical and non-critical calls to determine where they will best be managed, for example.

Success lies in marrying strategy with execution

Companies that buy contact center services and outsourcers alike face complexities and find that one solution does not fit all. What is known and accepted today will likely be challenged in the coming years. In determining the shoring strategy that is right, a company should ask these questions of itself and/or its vendor(s):

  • Are interactions going to the right location? (Have metrics been established for evaluating success or failure?)
  • Are customers being supported through the right channel(s)?
  • Are first-contact resolutions being achieved?
  • Is the impact of current location on customer satisfaction and/or Net Promoter Score a positive one?
  • Do all vendors have access to the entire range of appropriate program-level data so that they might deliver a holistic solution?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, then a company needs to take a step back, reevaluate and work toward:

  • establishing a clear vision and strategies for sourcing;
  • providing proactive solutions to drive customer loyalty, using data to create a better customer experience and maintaining the customer experience;
  • selecting and managing vendors that have experience adapting to market developments and which have the resources to meet changing needs; and
  • ensuring a strong infrastructure and management buy-in.

Creating a partnership

It is common today for companies to rely on multiple vendors for help in executing their programs as not all vendors excel in every service. However, selected vendors should not only meet industry expectations but also work with companies in partnership to create an improved, integrated, flexible and data-driven customer support solution. Sophisticated companies think differently about the partnership process today, opening up as much data as possible with all vendors so that each will examine transactions with a 360-degree view rather than on a transactional basis. This type of transparency will ultimately result in more cost-efficient solutions and improved customer care.

In an always on, always connected consumer environment, vendors need to be able to dive deeply into all available data. They should leverage analytics to create the customer valuation and segmentation strategies necessary to recognize and appropriately manage high-value customers, drive loyalty, and improve customer experience across channels.

Rightshoring is more than determining the most cost-effective solution and location. The foundation of the concept rather should be grounded in knowing and leveraging the lifetime value of customers; sharing data; and basing strategies and tactics, locations, vendors and more on that data. The success of rightshoring depends upon it. 

Edited by Blaise McNamee
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