Outsourcers Rethink Horizontal Functional Strategies in Light of Global Recession

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London — April 23
The economic crisis is forcing outsourced contact-center providers to revisit tried and trusted methods of providing their services to clients, asserts a new Datamonitor report, “Managing outsourced contact center functions during the economic slowdown (Strategic Focus).”

With prospects and existing clients looking for more creativity than ever in how their products and services are represented, outsourcing vendors need to determine new ways of delivering customer service, marketing and sales, technical support and debt collection.

End-User Retention at Lower Costs
A clear signal that the recession has impacted both outsourcers and their clients relates to a change in customer-service delivery goals. No longer is increased revenue generation cited as a principal objective; rather, the need to ensure a maximum degree of end-user satisfaction is key. Datamonitor lead analyst for contact-center outsourcing, Peter Ryan explained:

“In a recessionary period, outsourcing clients are more concerned with retaining as much of their client base as possible. Clients understand the opportunity to cross-sell and upsell will come with the recovery, but the immediate future means keeping customer churn to a minimum. If this can be achieved through lower-cost alternatives, such as automation or offshore/home-based customer-service agent delivery, all the better for the client’s bottom line.”

Technical Support Is Evolving
The domain of technical support is no longer the commodity it once was, with more consumers globally using devices and solutions that are more complex than ever. However, according to Ryan, this is an area in which contact-center outsourcers have the chance to win significant business in the coming years.

“There exists significant opportunity for contact-center vendors in the field of technical support,” he said. “Clients selling any type of technology are tired of the headaches related to recruiting savvy customer-service personnel who can address end users using multiple channels and guaranteeing excellent levels of interactions.

“A savvy outsourcer, using a combination of offshoring and automation, can not only take on and improve the technical support end-user experience, but also do so at a reduced price. In the technology sector, where margins are constantly being squeezed, this is an important success factor.”

Debt Collection Holds Promise
Debt collection and accounts receivable management have been highlighted by many firms recently as a growth area within outsourcing. This is due to rising personal indebtedness in Western markets and the need for creditors to recoup these funds. However, there are a number of obstacles for outsourcing vendors looking to enter this space. Datamonitor has identified statutory compliance requirements and saturated markets as being among the most important. But if an outsourcer is willing to invest the funds necessary to take on the right management team, or potentially buy a debt collection specialist, the long-term rewards could be significant.

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