01 Sep 2011
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Onshoring is the new offshoring

One of the hot topics around the water cooler still seems to be offshore contact centre horror stories. Someone has phoned a New Zealand-based company only to find that they’re speaking to someone in India, the Philippines or some other distant land, which has grown a reputation for providing cost-effective (cheap) contact centre solutions.It is true that good processes and training should be able to prepare most contact centre employees to deliver good customer service. However, what is the price we pay when our customers are not satisfied? Is customer satisfaction even the right measure for customer engagement and brand loyalty?In the book Marketing Management, marketing gurus Philip Kotler and Kevin Lane Keller say that customer satisfaction and customer loyalty is not proportionally linked. We need to ‘delight’ customers on a regular basis, if we want to fully engage them and develop their brand loyalty.Delighting customers is different from simply satisfying them. This is being discussed at length in contact centre circles. Simply ‘satisfying’ customers means that they are still likely to switch to another brand if a better offer comes along. The trick is to understand what being delighted means to your customers and then building your business processes to deliver on their expectation of your brand promise every time.Two New Zealand owned and operated companies have realised the extra cost that offshoring their customer service can incur and the benefits that onshoring with New Zealand-based contact centre partners can provide.Z Energy, the new owner of Shell New Zealand, brought their contact centre onshore nearly a year ago. They say that their customers tell them it makes a real difference speaking to a Kiwi, someone who is based in the same country or even the same town as them and who shares the same context. Further, they say there is a real financial advantage."There is a misconception that outsourcing contact centres offshore is more cost-effective, but it’s not,” says Z Energy’s Corporate Communications Manager, Jonathan Hill. "When we ran the numbers for bringing our contact centre back from the Philippines, we found we’d save huge amounts of money every year and we are. It made economic sense.”Z Energy’s research shows that their New Zealand-based contact centre partner, Telnet, is driving up their customer satisfaction levels, which along with customer service and engagement, is at the heart of their 100% New Zealand brand.Another New Zealand company, Glidepath, services its customers around the world through its partnership with North Island-based contact centre Phoneplus, fielding calls from customers in Australia, USA, Canada, Peru, South Africa, Chile, Botswana and here at home in New Zealand."We’re a New Zealand company and our customers call a New Zealand phone number, so they expect to speak to a Kiwi,” says Glidepath Airport Services Manager, Dave Kerrigan.Glidepath has found a number of advantages to using a New Zealand-based contact centre, including being able to meet their customer service representatives, who are based just down the road from their own location. They can be personally assured that, through their contact centre provider, they are delivering a service to their customers that they would provide themselves, if they could.For Glidepath, who offer 24/7 customer support, having a contact centre partner, who is in the same time zone as you, means they can filter out the urgent calls that require getting a Glidepath employee out of bed in the middle of the night, from the non-urgent calls, which can be recorded and responded to the following morning.This new trend of onshoring customer service delivery for New Zealand owned and operated companies is a trend we embrace at CCiNZ, and we look forward to hearing about the next success story.Hopefully, more Kiwi companies, who value their brand and customer loyalty, will listen to what their customers are asking for – which is likely to be something as simple as hearing a familiar voice from someone who understands them, the next time they phone in. 

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