A Glimpse of the Future – Customer Service & BPO trends - Sitel - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
Trends and innovation are also moving at breakneck speed, powered by an engaged, sophisticated, curious global consumer. This interview takes a snapshot of key and emerging trends for 2016, spanning technology, people management and business models that are and will keep transforming the global contact center and BPO industry.
By Gesner Filoso, Sitel Global Marketing & Brand Director
Q: According to you, what are the TOP Trends to Watch in 2016?
As we have observed in the previous years, when it comes to customer service, the conversation will not be about what consumers think, touch points, new technologies, or contact length. Great service will again be defined about feelings; it will be about experiences.
And this is not new in ours and other industries. Intuitively, most business leaders recognize the value of a great customer experience. Brands that deliver them are ones that we want to interact with, that we become loyal to, and that we recommend to our friends and family.
The challenge is delivering outstanding experiences to customers and it’s been transforming the BPO industry, but we can also point out other forces that are making companies mold their strategies in 2016. Some of TOP Tier trends to watch in our industry are:
- Customer experience focus, as we have just highlighted above, will still be one of the most important elements to deal with in 2016 and in the following years,
- Increasing level of complexity, based primarily on new consumer behaviors and in the unstoppable and accelerating change brought by new technology,
- Offshoring & nearshoring pace will remain stable and grow in some regions. Global sourcing services is expected to grow to a $500 billion industry by 2020,
- Continued shakeup and consolidation of the top BPO and Customer Relations vendors. Research and recent acquisitions reinforce the prediction of increased vendor consolidation in the following years.
- Global BPO will keep growing in excess of GDP
Q: You have mentioned Offshoring and Nearshoring as one of the trends to watch in 2016. Can you elaborate on this topic?
Indeed, outsourcing and offshoring will continue to be major drivers in the global economy, especially in industries such as Information Technology and Business. The previously mentioned increase in complexity
B6and focus on experience, along with the concern on the costs, have resulted in a demand of mixed service models (offshore + nearshore) in order to offer first class experience to customers at a very reasonable price.
But offshoring is still facing some criticism that needs to be addressed by global outsourcing vendors in 2016 and upcoming years. Main concerns of executives are related to lag time of up to 12 hours that can erode program management, lack of control and communication. So it’s not surprising that many executives are having second thoughts about offshoring and are beginning to consider the virtues of nearshoring. Ex-communist Europe and Central America, for instance, are grabbing a lucrative niche in the global outsourcing business. Pressure to stay competitive is slowly forcing governments of those regions to acknowledge and remove bureaucratic barriers, in an effort to promote their countries – outsourcing companies are looking to these countries as an option to offer to their clients locations that are cheap and very close rather than very cheap and far away.
But while “cheap” is still important, outsourcing companies keep investing in technology that enables workforce intelligence, tools, processes and new capabilities to enhance efficiency and mitigate the risks of offshore + nearshore engagements.
Q: What role will Work@Home play in the new environment?
The home-based virtual model is reaching a new level of maturity. Technologies have addressed bandwidth, security and reliability concerns. It is becoming common for home agent positions to meet or exceed the security standards of a brick-and-mortar site. Different researches and analysts point out that the adoption curve has reached a critical mass and work-at-home agents exceeded 100,000 two years ago, in 2013.
At a basic level the Work@Home solution is a mutually advantageous model in which the company saves in terms of rent, energy and sometimes hardware costs, while workers save commuting time and expenses. Beyond that, the Work@Home model made it much easier for vendors such as Sitel to find and recruit agents than when hiring conventional “brick and mortar” agents. According to data provided by Sitel Work@Home Solutions team, on average we’ve seen a productivity that reaches 15% to 20% better than the equivalent “brick and mortar” agent, and what that means is logging in on time, taking breaks at the exact timeframe, leaving at the end of your scheduled shift, and an overall reduction in the nonproductive time that occurs on calls.
Q: Now tell us a little bit about the challenges you are facing. What are the cautions points as we enter in 2016?
That is a very good question. As I’ve mentioned before, the BPO industry is under a fundamental transformation process. Every business is becoming a digital business and change is coming fast. Most vendors and TOP Tier companies we do business with are planning to accelerate the implementation of its integrated digital business strategy to respond quicker to customers’ redefinition of markets.
We also see many vendors in the Contact Center and BPO industry planning to develop new capabilities and invest in a disciplined marketing engine to drive key messaging and positioning for non-voice related services, such as consulting, analytics, technology and network capabilities that previously had been overshadowed by traditional BPO services. Market demand for Workforce Intelligence, for instance, is on the rise as business leaders increasingly recognize that its recruiting, retaining, and motivational initiatives have been critical to business growth and prosperity.
The increase in customers’ control of their experience will also continue to challenge the processes, organizational structures, and systems that companies have put in place to communicate with customers, and will continue to challenge corporate mindsets. Since customers expect a consistent level of service from an organization at any given time, regardless of their initial point of entry, we will keep investing to provide a holistic view of the customer across all divisions, business areas, and even branches.
Across the industry today, one of the most important competitive paradigms is to be at the right place, at the right time, on the right channel, to serve customers as they expect to be served.
Publish Date: February 26, 2016 5:00 AM
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