Call centre service an alternative to offshoring

Home based agents a good cultural fit

Launching a new call centre service, United Customer Management Solutions (UCMS) said the new offering is a viable alternative to offshoring for Australian companies.

Dubbed UCMSremote, the service provides a network of skilled, home based agents.

First users of the service are already live, with the company initially providing inbound customer service support to customers using metropolitan Melbourne home based agents. Plans are in place to roll out the model nationally over the next 12 months, to incorporate home based agents Australia-wide.

For companies considering heading offshore for contact centre services, using home based agents is simply a better alternative, according to UCMSremote executive general manager, David Barnes.

He believes the total associated costs of offshoring are generally not well calculated by companies that make the move.

"It's a recurring theme. Companies typically head offshore for contact centre and administration support services in order to reduce the cost of labour but too often the planning and consideration of how to best culturally align their service branding requirements with offshore service providers is incomplete," Barnes said.

"Within two years, companies are heading back home again because the subsequent reduction in customer satisfaction levels, attrition and impact on brand perception simply out weigh the initial savings.

"That said, offshoring is here to stay, it's a global reality and there are many organisations outside Australia that are serving local clients today.

"However where the front line service culture of a brand simply cannot support the offshore risk or when there simply is not the time to source and establish agreements with offshore providers, using home based agents is a fantastic alternative."

Barnes cited lower pricing, less agent attrition, high rates of agent satisfaction, the ability to appropriately culturally align service and brand and rapid ramp up capacity as some of the benefits of using home based agents.

"Ultimately, it means clients can source the best possible agents from anywhere in the country and not be constrained by the local availability of talent," he said.

"This is important at a time when increasing numbers of skilled knowledge workers are choosing to leave the corporate and public sectors in favour of becoming Independent Professionals (IPros), contracting their skills into the market."

Organizations are increasingly looking to innovative schemes when it comes to dealing with skills shortages. One example is in the United States where prisoners are being used to fill help desk and contact centre positions.

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