Trend: 'insourcing' external customer contact employees


ddm-insourcen-externe-klantcontactmedewerkers

Remote agents, a well-known term in the world of customer contact. For some it simply means an agent who doesn’t work from the contact centre, but, for example, from home. For the other, it concerns employees who are employed by an external company that provides customer contact services from their own location.

In this blog we discuss the latter, and we mainly highlight the trend of 'insourcing' external employees. What are the advantages and disadvantages, and which factors play a role in choosing this hybrid contact centre variant, which is somewhere between an in-house and a (partly) outsourced customer contact centre?

Why choose an outsourcer?

There are many benefits to outsourcing contact centre activities. For example, it allows you to up- and downscale the number of employees and hours as needed, and you don't need to set up an in-house space for the team to work from. For organisations that offer 24/7 customer service, it can also be of interest to hire employees in different time zones. Moreover, there’s no need to invest in the technology that is required to efficiently run a contact centre. The question is, of course, how you deploy the external employees. For telephone interactions only, or also for digital channels such as email and chat? Only inbound, or also outbound?

The costs of hiring an external party can be lower thanks to the advantages described above and because the recruitment and onboarding are done externally. A side note here is that especially small contracts with outsourcers are often relatively expensive, which can raise questions as to what the actual cost savings are at the bottom of the line.

Trust

Moreover, these types of contracts are often difficult to measure. For example, suppose you hire a number of external employees who work for your organisation four hours a day, at the location of the outsourcer, using their tooling. How productive are these employees? How do they spend their 'downtime', i.e. the time between customer interactions? How can you be sure that this time is not spent on other customers of the outsourcer? In extreme cases, the services of some outsourcers can resemble a 'black box' that you have little or no insight into.

In addition, some organisations are – rightly or wrongly – concerned about the security of their customer data due to the tightened GDPR regulations. But also about (the lack of) brand awareness or other relevant knowledge that is necessary to deliver quality customer contact. Due to the fact that there is often a reduced amount of customer feedback compared to in-house contact centres, the uncertainty grows.

Taking quality into your own hands

It is for these reasons, among others, that a trend seems to have started where organisations are choosing to ‘insource’ external employees. In other words, they choose to take on the management of these employees and to make them part of their own team, even if they are still on the outsourcer’s payroll.

The advantage of this is that these agents now work with the contact centre tools of their own organisation, making reports a lot more unambiguous and complete. Moreover, it often increases productivity and brand awareness, resulting in a better quality of customer contact.

Incidentally, it does not necessarily mean that external employees also physically work at the 'in-house' location, because this entails extra costs. They tend to work from home, as part of the 'virtual' contact centre, which makes it especially important to actively make them part of the in-house team.

Employee engagement

The reason for this is that providing excellent customer service is largely determined by the team of customer contact agents. Because of their knowledge and skills, but also because of their sense of involvement with the organisation. That is precisely the reason that the choice to outsource or 'insource' employees can have a huge impact on the customer experience.

Ultimately, this choice depends on the specific wishes, needs and objectives of the organisation. Do the benefits outweigh the potential drawbacks? Does it make financial sense? What are the customer's expectations? These are all important considerations that play a role in choosing the contact centre structure that best suits your organisation.

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About DDM

At DDM Consulting we believe that our customers benefit most from tailor-made advice, without preference for a particular product or specific supplier. That is why we offer a wide range of intelligent omnichannel contact centre solutions, delivered by renowned partners who are all specialists in their field. This approach makes us flexible in finding the solution that best suits our customers’ specific needs and ambitions.

We guarantee a successful implementation, ensure integration with all existing back-end systems, and take care of managing and maintaining the platform. Our clients come from a wide range of sectors, from major financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies, to telecom operators, healthcare institutions, government agencies, retail, and media. We are especially known for delivering customised solutions for corporate clients with complex structures, such as customer-specific integrations with back-end systems and the development of add-ons. Sometimes we even build a completely new product! That is how we ensure that the chosen contact centre solution exactly matches our customer’s wishes, needs and business processes.

We have grown into a team of about 30 contact centre experts and are mainly active in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.