For nations like India and others around the world, the outbound and inbound call center has become an integral part of customer service. The industry houses 850,000 employees in India alone with $16 billion in revenue generated from business process outsourcing (BPO) services exported just this year.
But several factors have become game changers for the BPO industry, according to this Voicendata piece. With the abundance of inexpensive, educated labor available in the country, the competition within the domestic market has grown stiff. State regulation is also affecting BPO growth. Call centers have developed a reputation for repeatedly hounding consumers. For this reason, the “Do Not Call Registry” has gained popularity.
As the guidelines for customer engagement evolve, it becomes increasingly apparent that the inbound call center is the main opportunity for revenue generation and growth into the future. Now, it is at the customer’s discretion to determine who they will interact with and when. This newfound empowerment is putting the emphasis on consumer initiated conversations, which is driving the need for inbound call center services.
For India, such a change represents a major paradigm shift. Traditional outbound marketing techniques have directed vast sums of resources into hunting down would-be buyers via means such as cold calling, email, and direct mail. But other countries have seen the potential of the BPO market and want their piece of the pie.
The popularity of the inbound call center has reached the ears of South East Asia, which threatens Indian operations with an equally massive pool of low-cost, quality workers. China especially poses a threat, and per a report from Voice Data, Chinese inbound call center operations might overshadow Indian offerings in just three short years. We are already seeing the effects of this represented by a 50 percent decrease in the number of voice contracts being secured with India as clients weigh their options in other countries.
Making the transition from cost to profit center requires the integration of key technologies that will allow the inbound call center to have more customized and genuine conversations with their customers. The real occasion for growth lies in the call center’s ability to transform the customer experience into something positive.
One way call centers are accomplishing this goal is through the use of strategic data analytics. In the past, disjointed systems resulted in customers having to re-explain the reason for their call each time it was transferred to another operator or department. Data mining techniques provide a way for India to differentiate itself from others in the market by augmenting the customer experience and presenting opportunities for additional sales.
Another method to improve growth and profitability is the use of real-time data for decision making. Surveys show that having access to real-time data improves organizations’ ability to match customers with personalized offers and improve retention rates. This is important as it is much easier and cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one. Real-time data may also be critical for repairing relationships with customers who have a past negative experience. In an economic climate of uncertainty, the inbound call center must use all tools at its disposal to deliver top rate service at the best possible cost.
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Edited by Rich Steeves