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Homeshoring Brings Call Centers and Customers Closer

Homeshoring Brings Call Centers and Customers Closer

Homeshoring allows call centers to return work to the US at no high cost.

  • The call center industry is notorious for outsourcing offshore to save money, but it is often at the expense of customer satisfaction.
  • As teleworking technologies and models evolve, call center jobs are returning to the United States in the form of homeshoring.
  • Homeshoring enables proprietary agents to provide excellent customer support while taking advantage of the flexibility of teleworking.
  • This article is for business owners who are evaluating their customer service outsourcing opportunities.– The call center sector is known for offshore outsourcing, transportation and work abroad in places such as India or the Philippines. Outsourcing customer service to an offshore call center reduces costs, but it is often a cost of customer satisfaction.

But outsourcing practices are improving. According to the Site Selection Group, no. 1 country for foreign direct investment in customer contacts, shared services and technical support centers is now the United Kingdom and the US in second place.

In particular, jobs in the customer service call center are back in the US, mainly due to a trend called “homeshoring”. We will examine the trend of homeshoring as well as the advantages and disadvantages of offshore and domestic call centers.

What is homeshoring?

Homeshoring is the process of using domestic agents in the US to achieve cost savings and a high level of customer satisfaction. The homeshoring trend is the result of the development of call center models and technologies.

Traditional call centers are located in office buildings with hundreds of booths and ringing telephone lines. In the US, where workers are likely to be highly educated and demand higher wages to achieve a relatively rich standard of living compared to most of the world, these established call centers cost a fortune. For this reason, offshore outsourcing has become a trend that allows companies to provide customer service without high labor costs.

While outsourcing customer service to an offshore call center can save companies money, this practice can damage customer relationships. Clients often report language barriers, difficulties in understanding agent accents, and other communication problems. In addition, representatives in other countries are not always subject to the same control requirements as employees in the United States, which raises data security and privacy concerns.

With the development of communication technologies and ubiquitous Internet-powered connectivity, a new solution has emerged. In the homeshoring model, customer service staff can use secure corporate laptops and headsets when working from home and access customer information through secure data transfer. No expensive office infrastructure is required and there is no need to rent a call center on the beach.

“The basic beauty of homeshoring is that you can nurture talent with highly educated individuals,” said Peter Hargittay, former vice president of marketing and sales at Arise Virtual Solutions, one of the pioneering companies in homeshoring.

What are the benefits of a call center for homeshoring?

Homeshoring call centers have a number of benefits for businesses, employees and customers.

Benefits of homeshoring for businesses

  • Significant cost savings: Because employees work remotely, companies do not have to pay office rental costs to meet customer care and technical teams.
  • No rental location restrictions: When using the homeshoring model, businesses are not limited to a specific geographic area when hiring call center agents. They can find talented customer service and technical support representatives across the country.
  • Better customer satisfaction and retention: When customers gain immediate attention through a strong connection and are able to communicate well with customer service executives in solving their problems, they are more likely to have a better experience and be happier.
  • Potential payroll savings: As a homeshoring call center employing independent contractors as needed, there is no need to provide additional benefits or comply with regulations that apply to large companies.

Homeshore benefits for workers

For employees, homeshoring offers more than just a job.

  • No need to commute: Customer service staff at home can relieve the stress of commuting to and from work.
  • Flexible working hours: Agents have flexible schedules when working remotely. For independent contractors, how much they work depends on how much they want to earn.
  • Benefits of working full-time with benefits: Some virtual call centers use a full-time customer service agent remotely. These agents are entitled to the same benefits as a customer service agent in the office.
  • Freedom to pursue opportunities: People who are self-employed or have up-to-date information (other sources of income in addition to their main job) are on the rise. These individuals can request customer service shifts to suit their schedules and needs.

Benefits of homeshoring for customers

Customers will also benefit from companies using the homeshoring method.

  • Better customer experience: Homeshoring brings benefits to callers who want to communicate with naturally fluent English-speaking agents through a strong telephone connection.
  • Local service: Hargittay said his former company could divert calls to the nearest available home agent to connect the caller with someone in the same region or even in the same state. “The goal is to provide local services and leverage local talent. When you call from Louisiana, we want the call to be brought as close to that place as possible.” Routing calls to domestic agents anywhere can be critical in the event of a natural disaster. For example, future calls to a storm-affected business may be made by a domestic agent outside the affected area.

Home call centers vs. offshore call center

Whether you are considering setting up a home call center (whether in-house or remote) or an offshore call center, you need to evaluate the benefits and efficiency of each model before deciding on the right solution for your operation.

Advantages of domestic call centers

  • Direct management: With an internal call center, you have control over on-site management. You can dictate the relationship of representatives to managers and learn training programs for new employees and ways in which experienced employees can increase their knowledge. With a home call center, it’s also easier to measure key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Recruitment Management: You can hire or outsource on-site personnel with detailed details of the skills and new needs of call managers and management positions.
  • Inspection training: Call center agent training is essential to maintaining customer confidence. If you use a local call center and experience customer dissatisfaction, you can resolve the issue immediately and retrain the agents if necessary.
  • Language and cultural experience: Although businesses need to be diverse, your local representative is likely to share many language and cultural practices with your clients, making communication smoother and more productive.
  • Public Relations: A home call center company can promote this aspect of customer service. Many American customers will feel happier and more comfortable knowing that calls within the country are being processed.
  • Data Security: Data usage and security practices vary worldwide. America’s approach to security and data management is primarily to prevent and prevent network security threats and vulnerabilities. Knowing that their private information is secure can increase customer comfort when dealing with a home call center.

Disadvantages of domestic call centers

  • Significant start-up costs: Setting up a call center with the necessary technology in a location with fast and robust communication is expensive. If you deploy your employees directly, you will deal with salary and benefits. If you hire through a recruiter, the recruiter’s fee is much higher to fill the call center from scratch.
  • Commercial space rental and equipment: Because they need access to a wide range of rental shops, home call centers are often located in city centers and busy business parks. The annual rent of these units is expensive and usually requires rent for 10 years or more. Equipment rental can also be expensive.
  • High Salary: Salary levels for call managers, trainers, managers and other field workers are higher in the US than in most other parts of the world.
  • Competition: If competitors open a call center near you and offer better paid positions, your company will be forced to raise salaries to retain good employees.
  • Financial incentives: To recruit and retain the most talented employees, you may need to offer bonuses and commissions that further increase the cost of labor.
  • Scalability: It is difficult for any business to predict the future. If you sign a 10-year lease, you may have room before the lease ends because your business is growing. Even if the demand for a call center in a certain place disappears, it can be expensive to buy a rental discount.

Advantages of offshore call centers

  • Low labor costs: In the US, the average hourly wage of a customer service representative is $ 17. In India, the average wage is 99.19 rupees per hour, which corresponds to 1.33 USD.
  • Non-employee agents: In most cases, foreign customer service representatives are recruited through a recruitment agency. Even if you don’t have much control, the recruitment agency offers protection from legal action if local employment or related laws are violated.
  • Government Incentives: Developing countries provide US companies with tax cuts and other incentives to transfer their customers and technology.
  • Multilingual support: There are fewer applicants for multilingual customer service in the US and the UK. as in other countries. Overseas Customer Center can communicate with your clients in the US, such as customers in France, Spain, Germany and others.
  • Scalability: It is easier and cheaper to increase or decrease a third-party third-party vendor when needed.
  • Business continuity: In the event of an emergency, calls can be routed to an offshore call center, allowing your customers and suppliers to speak with a sales representative. The home call center can be affected by both interruptions and inactivity.
  • Remuneration Reimbursement: If you usually offer severance pay as part of an employee benefit package, you do not have to pay severance pay to call center employees that you do not use directly. Because offshore agents technically work for a staffing company, they are not required to lay off any redundancies if your company downsizes or closes departments.

Disadvantages of offshore call centers

  • Communication: Clients may be prompted to communicate effectively if the agent has an unknown accent. Customers can be frustrated when they have a product issue or billing quiz and do not communicate well to resolve the issue.
  • Training: Before you talk to your clients, you need to make sure that the agents have a great knowledge of your products, services and corporate culture. However, there is no opportunity to offer self-training to offshore agents, and there is little or no incentive for a foreign contractor to train its employees to do your business better. It is challenging and expensive to travel to an offshore location and train employees to achieve performance goals.
  • One of many clients: The offshore call center business model requires a minimum number of people working at a given time. If you hire 20 people an hour from your offshore call center and another company hires 100, their calls may have priority.
  • Data Security: Offshore call centers are not under US jurisdiction and the data security laws of the country of operation may not be as strict as in the US. financial loss and damage to reputation.
  • Staff Quality: You cannot inspect call center staff to see if they meet your performance goals and adequately meet your customers’ needs.

Multi-channel customer service

According to Aaron Kannowski, a former marketing and media manager at Working Solutions, the transition to remote work and homeshoring to meet customer needs is not limited to picking up the phones. For example, Working Solutions integrates social media management and customer communication through online comment sections.

As customers seek help via phone, email, social media and live chat, service platforms begin to integrate as customer service agents respond to all customer communication requests, regardless of the channel.

“The ultimate goal is to provide excellent customer service,” Kannowski said, “and you have to act to do that.”

Bring jobs back to the US with homeshoring

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 2.9 million Americans in customer service. The number of customer service employees is expected to decline slightly in the coming decades, although the dynamics of homeshoring seem to be gaining momentum.

Transport is clearly not a means. Many US companies still outsource customer service and other business processes to other countries.

However, the rate of return on customer service jobs can be determined by the number of people who reintroduce employees to these roles as self-employed agents.

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