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Cyber City Touts 'Shared Service' Contact Centers
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Cyber City Touts 'Shared Service' Contact Centers

June 08, 2009
By David Sims
TMCnet Contributing Editor

Officials from Stratford Upon Avon-based Cyber City, note that as the recession continues to bite, "many companies are looking at how they can achieve the impossible; improve the level of service they offer for an ever increasing demanding customer base at the same time as reducing their costs.

In call center outsourcing, shared service typically involves paying a call center a fee pay per minute, rather than the hourly paid business model. The in-house call center operates at medium-level staffing levels, switching to overflows any calls past a certain point.
This ensures more efficient productivity for the in-house center and cutting down on the abandon rate. And this is a concern: "With the downward pressure on costs, some centers are now experiencing abandon rates in excess of 20 percent at busy times of the week, which in the long-run has been proven to have a negative impact on customer retention," company officials say.

It's not for everyone - shared service call centers are "typically more suitable for applications of a purely transactional nature," Cyber City officials note.

Some companies like to use shared service overflows to deal with any activity which stimulates calls not handled efficiently in-house, such as responding to media advertising, or when there are heavy call volumes due to billing periods. "Many of our clients use our shared service to handle calls resulting from DRTV, catalogues or press advertising," Cyber City officials say, adding that in the retail sector, shared service overflows "are often heavily used during the run up to Christmas or whenever call volumes are higher."

Then, of course, there are those companies who see a 24x7 call center as too expensive for the cost per call, and prefer to use outsourcers to keep the cost per call answered down to a minimum by paying per call minute rather than the fixed costs of dedicated staff. It's also attractive to those concerned about disaster recovery.
In December, TMC reported that Dr. George Sorio, executive director of Cyber City Teleservices, declared the Philippines Business Process Outsourcing industry "will not be affected by the international financial crisis." Sorio said that if the financial crisis would force international BPO firms to close shop, its effects (to the Philippines) "are not that drastic."

Actually, "there is still a scarcity of manpower in the BPO industry here in the Philippines which is why call center agents whose companies closed shop would only be absorbed by other BPOs," Sorio told reporters during a press conference after the opening of Regional Cluster Intrapreneurship Congress.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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