Call Centres

Everybody reading this will no doubt be aware that call centres can be based all over the world, and there are no rules or regulations on where they are based. For alot of people, this isn’t a good thing, as some feel it’s taking away jobs from their country. But for businesses, hosting your call centre abroad could be one of the best investments you could make.

There is a certain stigma attached to having an out of country call centre where people generally would prefer an in-country one. Sadly, there is nothing anyone can do about this stigma; people like to talk to people from their country. For the vast percentage of people, it’s not an issue at all, but the vocal minority is always against it. Fortunately, the benefits often outweigh the costs here.

For businesses which need constant support, an off-shore call centre is often the best option due to labour expenses. The cost of running a UK based call centre, with comparable service to an off-shore one, is over 4x higher. Alot of businesses simply can’t pass up this saving, and the bottom line is that these savings are transferred to the customer.

Small businesses may not need a call centre, in which case they may be best using a combined service. By having a single operator trained in multiple businesses, that person can answer queries and fix problems at a fraction of the price of a full team. Most small businesses don’t need a call centre, but the larger ones often benefit from having one.

UK based call centres are often mostly marketing, with few dedicated to providing support and services. Student Finance is a great example of this, with all UK based support, but this directly costs more money than having the call centre abroad. Other companies such as BT have a combination of UK based centres in the day, and abroad based ones at night. This minimizes the impact of having a non-resident answer the phone, while also saving on costs.

It’s always difficult to judge the potential value in having an in-country based call centre over an off-shore one, but the best way of doing it is by seeing how much a company would lose by trading over. If the company boasts being UK based, then having an off-shore call centre is going to be highly detrimental. Whereas if the company simply offers 24/7 support, then its a non-sequitur.

One of the major issues with any call centre is one which is hard to change; not understanding accents. Even with in-country call centres such as in the UK, many people find it hard to understand the native accents found all over. For example, there are many UK based call centres based in Scotland and Wales which many users report as finding ‘hard to understand’. There isn’t much you can do about this other than to train staff correctly; any issues can be easily worked through even with a heavy accent.

The value of having the phones answered constantly during business hours cannot be underestimated, and almost everyone would prefer to have the phones answered from abroad, rather than not at all. Of course, doing this in house is always the best option; staff are trained, knowledgeable, and can help with any problem. The issue is always with cost vs benefit, where often there’s a higher value in lower wait times.

At the end of the day, it’s up to the company to decide as there is no regulating body involved. And no matter what is decided, having the phones answered is vital; there’s nothing worse than ringing a company for help and getting no answer, most customers will simply change services if this happens too much.