CGS Solves Cultural Issues of Contact Center Outsourcing
March 05, 2013
Since customer service is the main priority of any contact center, there are many factors to consider when it comes to outsourcing. Two major factors that need to be considered are language barriers and cultural differences. Today, outsourcing contact centers to manage costs should never mean sacrificing quality and customer service.
“A lot of it depends on what an agent has been told they can do. If they are only allowed to follow the script then the caller will be frustrated regardless of language,” Tom Christenson, president of the Contact Center Division for CGS, told TMCnet in an exclusive interview.
In any good contact center, you route the call to a person based on the language of the person calling, and once the person is through, the dialect barrier could be perceived as the root cause, when in reality, it could be the training of the agent. There’s a perception of a challenge with language barriers, but to understand what that perception is, you have to understand whether the challenge is related to the agent’s problem solving ability or rather the dialect difference, according to Christenson.
“It’s a question of leveraging the infrastructure that’s required for a basic set of contact center solutions across multiple clients, therefore you’re essentially leasing the equipment and not investing in your own,” he commented.
This is where CGS, a global provider of end-to-end, technology-enabled business solutions, does things differently, because CGS services U.S. customers domestically. For instance, the company’s Romania contact center has its own Romanian clients so that they have a better understanding of its clients. CGS’s geographic reach is second to none, delivering 24x7 coverage in 18-plus languages across seven global locations in North America, Europe and South America – and has made investments in burgeoning areas of IT outsourcing including Romania and Chile.
When it comes to an organization that is focused on operating contact centers with multiple clients and multiple processes, there are people that can think creatively on a regular basis about how to redesign the program.
“Outsourcing manages costs not by paying agents less, but by higher utilization rates, better training of agents, and leveraging best practices brought in by other clients and processes. Quality and training are enhanced when you go to an outsourced solution because there are defined service requirements and penalties and rewards for achieving those SLOs,” explained Christenson.
Today, CGS serves U.S. customers with both domestic and international agents by pulling the best team with the best talents at the right compensation levels and cost structures, enabling it to differentiate versus other competitors serving US customers. “The people we hire on a global basis, in general, are more problem solvers than ‘script readers,’” he said. “We empower our agents to resolve a caller’s issue versus asking our agents to be handcuffed by the script they are allowed to read.”
CGS has made investments in global technology platforms that enable seamless delivery to clients across the globe, including chat capabilities, social media monitoring, software, proprietary case management tools and telecommunications infrastructure. Clients that had previously experienced the quality of service from CGS asked, based on their current footprint, to service them in other areas of the globe. In the case of Romania, CGS’s clients wanted it to have the ability to support multiple languages from a single contact center.
“At the time we were only serving English and French Canadian out of our Atlanta facility. They asked if we could consolidate all of their European languages into a single center. With that, we acquired a company in Romania that was quite small but had the capability to grow with us and our existing client,” he explained.
Today, this is CGS’s strategy for entering into new geographies because it believes that offshore BPO centers are most successful when the offshore BPO operators understand the meaning of what it is to have a client.
Christenson explained, “Having that sense of urgency and client responsiveness is very important in our mind and that’s how we will continue to grow, by looking at existing businesses that have the capability to absorb our business as we expand.”
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo
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