New Research: Which Geographies are Better for Outsourcing Complex Contact Center Operations?

Oct 11, 2023 Featured Article
South Africa Outsourcing Contact Center

Nearshore Americas™ recently published an analysis on the growing competition between the Philippines and South Africa wherein they outline the labor costs, scalability, connectivity, and risks of each. Their research concludes that South Africa is beginning to emerge as the geography best suited to handle the growing complexity of contact center operations, something that the Philippines has struggled to keep pace with over the past few years. Yet, the Philippines remains the better option for high-volume and low-cost operations. 

Apart from selecting the right outsourcing partner, choosing the right location for your contact center plays a huge role in the success of your program.  Location determines your ability to attract and retain talent, accessibility to specific skill sets, and it affects costs such as taxation, real estate, labor and in some cases regulatory compliance.  Yet, among the long list of criteria for selecting site locations, ‘interaction complexity’ is rapidly growing in importance.

Here is why:  Interactions between customers and organizations are becoming increasingly complex thanks to automation and self-help solutions, which are undeniably powerful tools to help customers and gain cost efficiencies. But moving into 2024, it’s more important than ever to make sure your digital investments don’t drive a wedge between your customers and meaningful human experiences that build brand loyalty.  As a Deloitte study points out, automation lacks empathy, is unable to deal with nuanced situations, and struggles with non-standard answers. Further, there are still customer demographics who prefer to talk to a live person.  A post-pandemic study conducted by OnePoll found that 69% of survey respondents indicate that talking to a live agent by phone is their top preference. We agree with Deloitte’s findings that “contact center automation initiatives need to occur hand-in-hand with improving human connections.”

The interplay between automation, human connection and site locationThe CX Leaders Trends & Insights Corporate Edition outlines multiple growth opportunities that contact center executives should consider with their 2024 plans. We are spotlighting two of them here:

  1. Multichannel strategy needs to be a priority: 39% of organizations still have no cross-channel initiatives in place, up from the previous year. While technology can be implemented in nearly any location, the labor pools of some geographies tend to have more technical acumen than others. This is where South Africa is starting to pull ahead of the Philippines. Additionally, faced with numerous communication options, customers are using multiple channels simultaneously until they get the help they want.  This ‘channel hopping’ not only consumes the time and costs of multiple agents (potentially across differing locations), but customers are also submitting questions or information as they go. Organizations who have neither the cross-silo visibility or a holistic strategy to deal with such situations are likely overspending, creating unnecessary customer friction, and/or are yielding customer retention and loyalty rates lower than what is otherwise possible.
  2. Employee Experience (EX) is an untapped opportunity:  While some organizations are mapping the customer journey to identify the appropriate interplay of technology and human interaction, most are not taking the extra, critical step of mapping the employees’ end-to-end experience as it relates to the customer journey to identify and remove friction points. For example, the abovementioned CX Trends & Insights report found that 24% of CX leaders have no insights or method for comparing the effectiveness of training provided remotely to training provided onsite. In addition to training, other friction points tend to stem from agent scripting, process design, availability to resources like supervisors, call routing, lack of real time capacity to intervene in the call, the way customer information is displayed to agents, and more. Another untapped opportunity relates to the fact that customer satisfaction is a derivative of employee satisfaction. While there is much empirical data on ways to effectively engage employees, poor design is often the cause of agents feeling overwhelmed and unhappy, resulting in high turnover. When clients first come to us, we consistently find it to be an opportunity to transform their design and outcomes. We have invested significantly in mapping the end-to-end employee experience to ensure our employees are engaged, empowered to be successful, and highly motivated to deliver the best outcomes for our clients.

Conclusion

When considering which outsource locations are right for you, choose a partner with your best interest in mind. Consider using a partner offering solutions tailored specifically to your organization’s ever-changing needs derived from a unified and transformative end-to-end process. Ideally, their approach should holistically evaluate every touch point across the brand for all stakeholders, including customers, employees, and users across all digital channels and platforms.

Ready to learn more about outsourcing options in South Africa? Let’s talk.

About ACT (Advanced Call Center Technologies)

ACT is a U.S.-based business process outsourcing provider and global leader in customer care. Our approach is founded on a winning formula – that the best solutions integrate Employee Experience (EX) + Customer Experience (CX) + User Experience (UX) + Digital Experience (DX) + Multi-experience (MX) for an outstanding Total Experience (TX) overall. As a 100% employee-owned company, we have placed Employee Experience at the center of our business strategy because we know that engaged employees ensure the best customer outcomes. As shareholders in the business, our Employee Owners have a personal interest in delivering value to our clients, and their motivations are uniquely aligned to our clients’ success.

We have more than 25 years’ experience helping our partners drive growth and brand loyalty by providing amazing experiences across every touchpoint and channel of the customer journey. We serve many of the world’s top companies spanning a wide range of verticals, including numerous Fortune 50 clients. We offer a broad range of leading-edge technologies and custom solutions tailored to your business needs to make every unique customer connection count.   

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