OFFSHORE OUTSOURCING CALL
      CENTRE SURVEY
                 Prepared By:

              Rob O’Malley
           Managin...
1.0 Introduction

1.1   In the period between 2005 & 2006, there was a large amount of
      media hype surrounding the ou...
2.0 We asked the question “On the following scale, how you feel
about customer service in UK call centres? “

2.1 Results ...
3.0 We asked the question “On the following scale, how would you
rate your experiences with offshore call centres?”

3.1 R...
3.7.2 Consumers in The UK were initially very opposed to domestic centres
      but over time have come to understand that...
4.0 We asked the question “Should charities use offshore call
centres to receive donations and spend the savings on their ...
5.0 We asked the question “Would you prefer to be serviced by an
offshore call centre or an automated service?”

5.1 Resul...
6.0 We asked the question “Would you prefer to wait an additional 3
minutes to have your call answered by a UK call centre...
7.0 We asked the question “If anything, what concerns you the
most about offshore call centres?”

7.1 Results for 2009

  ...
8.0 We asked the question “Which type of offshore call centres
concern you?”

8.1 Results for 2009

                      ...
9.0 We asked the question “What is the main reason you believe
   that companies outsource call centres overseas?”

9.1 Re...
10. We asked the question “When choosing a bank, which of the
following influences you the most?”

10.1 Results for 2009

...
11.0 Conclusions

11.1 There has been a marked improvement in the perception of offshore
call centres particularly those o...
12.0 Methodology

12.1   1004 people responded to the survey

12.2   The survey took place between January 28th 2009 at 22...
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OFFSHORE OUTSOURCING CALL CENTRE SURVEY

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OFFSHORE OUTSOURCING CALL CENTRE SURVEY

  1. 1. OFFSHORE OUTSOURCING CALL CENTRE SURVEY Prepared By: Rob O’Malley Managing Director, UK Phone: 01608 679092 Mobile: 077400 96598 Email: rob.omalley@call-centre.co.uk Website: www.call-centre.co.uk February 2nd, 2009 www.call-centre.co.uk 01608 679092 rob.omalley@call-centre.co.uk
  2. 2. 1.0 Introduction 1.1 In the period between 2005 & 2006, there was a large amount of media hype surrounding the outsourcing of call centre activities to offshore locations. 1.2 In the period 2003-2006, there were a number of reports suggesting that the British public was opposed to offshore call centres. 1.3 Call-centres.com has always strived to provide impartial information to decision makers within the call centre industry and so we commissioned our own study to check the validity of the information in the marketplace. Other surveys had focussed simply on whether a consumer would prefer to have their call answered in The UK as opposed to offshore. We felt this was over-simplistic and failed to appreciate the business imperative of offshoring for many companies and the reality that the UK labour market has always been very tight for call centre agents. 1.4 In 2006, we conducted a survey to ask questions about the specific concerns that consumers had, the type of work they felt should be kept onshore and how they rated offshore call centres against other low-cost alternatives such as automated systems and by understaffing UK call centres so that the high costs of operating UK call centres could be brought down. 1.5 The report highlighted many of these concerns. In 2009, we decided to perform a similar study amongst a larger group of UK consumers to see whether their positions had hardened or softened on the issue. www.call-centre.co.uk 01608 679092 rob.omalley@call-centre.co.uk
  3. 3. 2.0 We asked the question “On the following scale, how you feel about customer service in UK call centres? “ 2.1 Results for 2009 Answers Votes Percent 1. Very Good 26 3% 2. Good 322 32% 3. Average 543 54% 4. Poor 107 11% 5. Very Poor 6 1% 2.2 Results for 2006 Answers Votes Percent 1. Very Good 25 12% 2. Good 57 27% 3. Average 90 43% 4. Poor 34 16% 5. Very Poor 4 2% 2.3 On the scale of 1 being very good, 2 being good, 3 being average, 4 being poor and 5 being very poor, the median score for UK call centres for 2009 was 2.74 2.4 On the same scale in 2006, UK call centres were rated as 2.69 2.5 For both years, UK call centres were rates as good to average 2.6 The results for 2006 & 2009 are statistically the same given the margin of error for the sample range. www.call-centre.co.uk 01608 679092 rob.omalley@call-centre.co.uk
  4. 4. 3.0 We asked the question “On the following scale, how would you rate your experiences with offshore call centres?” 3.1 Results for 2009 Answers Votes Percent 1. Very Good 2 0% 2. Good 208 21% 3. Average 633 63% 4. Poor 148 15% 5. Very Poor 13 1% 3.2 Results for 2006 Answers Votes Percent 1. Very Good 1 0% 2. Good 17 8% 3. Average 53 25% 4. Poor 73 35% 5. Very Poor 66 31% 3.3 On the scale of 1 being very good, 2 being good, 3 being average, 4 being poor and 5 being very poor, the media score for offshore call centres for 2009 was 2.96 3.4 On the same scale in 2006, UK call centres were rated as 3.89 3.5 For 2006, offshore call centres were rates as poor to average 3.6 For 2009, offshore call centres were rates as average 3.7 The improved results may be due to 3 areas; an increasing acceptance of offshore locations, the poor quality centres going out of business and a general improvement in operations of those offshore call centres still in business 3.7.1 A number of offshore call centres were set up by local entrepreneurs in countries such as India with little idea of how to operate a call centre. Many of these centres operated poor quality training and recruitment processes and offered very low rates. These centres discovered that there was limited demand for low-end centres from developed nations and many have gone out of business www.call-centre.co.uk 01608 679092 rob.omalley@call-centre.co.uk
  5. 5. 3.7.2 Consumers in The UK were initially very opposed to domestic centres but over time have come to understand that they are here to stay. To an extent, the same is happening in the offshore area. 3.7.3 The more professional call centres have dramatically improved their operations and have invested heavily in staff development and training. www.call-centre.co.uk 01608 679092 rob.omalley@call-centre.co.uk
  6. 6. 4.0 We asked the question “Should charities use offshore call centres to receive donations and spend the savings on their good causes” 4.1 Results for 2009 Answers Votes Percent 1. Yes, it would be a good idea 949 95% 2. No, they should use UK call centres 30 3% 3. I have no opinion 25 2% 4.2 There is no previous data available as this question was not asked in 2006 4.3 This question was asked to determine whether consumers would be more receptive to offshore call centres if the advantages were passed on to the consumer 4.4 Of all the questions, this had among the most overwhelming results 4.5 The results may suggest disillusionment with the way charities spend their donations they receive rather than a love for offshore call centres. 4.6 The charity sector has far more reluctant to offshore donation lines than the commercial sector has been. 4.7 Of all sectors, offshoring could actually enhance the brand of charities especially those involved with international development. The outsourcing business including IT and call centres has contributed heavily to the reduction in poverty levels in countries such as India & The Philippines as the incomes earned by employees in these industries filtered down to all classes of society in these countries. www.call-centre.co.uk 01608 679092 rob.omalley@call-centre.co.uk
  7. 7. 5.0 We asked the question “Would you prefer to be serviced by an offshore call centre or an automated service?” 5.1 Results for 2009 Answers Votes Percent 1. Prefer Automated Service 83 8% 2. Prefer Offshore Call Centre 824 82% 3. No Preference 97 10% 5.2 Results for 2006 Answers Votes Percent 1. Prefer Automated Service 80 38% 2. Prefer Offshore Call Centre 81 39% 3. No Preference 49 23% 5.3 For many individuals, offshore call centres are a pet-hate but nowhere near on the same scale as automated systems. Despite heavy investment in this area by a number of companies, the British consumer is firmly opposed to automated systems 5.4 The results for 2006 were similar between using an automated system and an offshore agent. 5.5 In 2009, over 700% more people said they would rather speak to an offshore call centre agent than an automated system. . www.call-centre.co.uk 01608 679092 rob.omalley@call-centre.co.uk
  8. 8. 6.0 We asked the question “Would you prefer to wait an additional 3 minutes to have your call answered by a UK call centre or be answered by an offshore call centre immediately?” 6.1 Results for 2009 Answers Votes Percent 1. Wait 3 minutes for a UK call centre 86 9% 2. Answered immediately by an offshore call centre 816 81% 3. No preference 102 10% 6.2 Results for 2006 Answers Votes Percent 1. Wait 3 minutes for a UK call centre 150 71% 2. Answered immediately by an offshore call centre 47 22% 3. No preference 13 6% 6.3 There is a general misconception among many of our European neighbours that the British consumer doesn’t mind waiting and may even enjoy the experience. Many companies operating with only domestic call centres will typically have longer wait times as they have looked to increase the average time spent on the phone to offset the substantially higher costs of operating in The UK as opposed to offshore. 6.4 The results have turned around completely since the 2006 where most people said they would prefer to wait for a UK based agent. In 2009, over 80% of respondents said they would rather speak to an offshore agent immediately. 6.5 The results may indicate a general softening of views on offshore call centres as indicated in sections 3.4-3.6 www.call-centre.co.uk 01608 679092 rob.omalley@call-centre.co.uk
  9. 9. 7.0 We asked the question “If anything, what concerns you the most about offshore call centres?” 7.1 Results for 2009 Answers Votes Percent 1. Nothing concerns me 505 50% 2. Data security 143 14% 3. Loss of jobs in the UK 311 31% 4. Lower quality service in offshore call centres 45 4% 7.2 Results for 2006 Answers Votes Percent 1. Nothing concerns me 7 3% 2. Data security 46 22% 3. Loss of jobs in the UK 33 16% 4. Lower quality service in offshore call centres 121 58% 5. I am more concerned about UK call centres 3 1% 7.3 This question was asked to establish why people objected to offshore call centres. Is it simply that they feel they are better serviced by a British agent or are they more concerned about their personal details being dealt with in another country? 7.4 The results for 2009 are very different than in 2006. 7.5 A far higher percentage of people stated that they had no concerns with offshore call centres which is reflected in the answers in sections 3.4-3.6 7.6 The percentage of people highlighting the loss of jobs as an issue almost doubled between 2006 and 2009 reflecting the economic downturn currently being experienced. 7.7 The response “I am more concerned about UK call centres” was removed in 2009 7.8 Data security was still classed as an issue in 2009 but was a substantially lower percentage than in the 2006 report. 7.9 The percentage of people reporting the lower quality of service as their main issue has also dropped dramatically which highlights the general overall improvement in the quality of offshore call centres www.call-centre.co.uk 01608 679092 rob.omalley@call-centre.co.uk
  10. 10. 8.0 We asked the question “Which type of offshore call centres concern you?” 8.1 Results for 2009 Answers Votes Percent 1. Offshore call centres conducting cold telemarketing 836 83% calls 2. Offshore call centres providing customer service 22 2% 3. I object to both customer service and telemarketing 44 4% calls equally 4. I have no concerns with offshore call centres 100 10% 8.2 Results for 2006 Answers Votes Percent 1. Offshore call centres conducting cold 52 25% telemarketing calls 2. Offshore call centres providing customer service 71 34% 3. I object to both customer service and 82 39% telemarketing calls equally 4. I have no concerns with offshore call centres 5 2% 8.3 Over recent years, the number of telemarketing calls being received has escalated mainly due to the low cost of offshore centres and many Indian start-ups being prepared to work on "pay per performance" model. 8.4 The results were far different in 2009 than in 2006. 8.5 Far more people now object to offshore telemarketing calls which may in part reflect that many of the low-value Asian outsourcers operate in this area where the more professional centres tend to focus on inbound. 8.6 The results may also indicate a general concern about outbound telemarketing rather than simply the location these calls are made from. www.call-centre.co.uk 01608 679092 rob.omalley@call-centre.co.uk
  11. 11. 9.0 We asked the question “What is the main reason you believe that companies outsource call centres overseas?” 9.1 Results for 2009 Answers Votes Percent 1. To increase profits 962 96% 2. To make their product/service cheaper for their 41 4% customers 3. Because they can't find enough staff in the UK 0 0% 4. To improve the level of customer service for their 0 0% customers 5. No idea 0 0% 9.2 Results for 2006 Answers Votes Percent 1. To increase profits 184 88% 2. To make their product/service cheaper for their 25 12% customers 3. Because they can't find enough staff in the UK 0 0% 4. To improve the level of customer service for their 0 0% customers 5. No idea 1 0% 9.3 The results were very similar in 2009 as compared with 2006 9.4 This has the most overwhelming response of any question indicating strong views in this area. www.call-centre.co.uk 01608 679092 rob.omalley@call-centre.co.uk
  12. 12. 10. We asked the question “When choosing a bank, which of the following influences you the most?” 10.1 Results for 2009 Answers Votes Percent 1. The interest rates offered 326 33% 2. The bank’s financial stability 646 65% 3. Their advertising of UK only call centres 15 2% 10.2 There is no previous data available as this question was not asked in 2006 10.3 Ironically, the two largest financial institutions who have marketed their UK only call centres have had far bigger problems than the ones who have used offshore centres as part of their strategy. The largest of these was The Royal Bank of Scotland group whose retail banking arm includes an advert ridiculing the use of non-UK based call centres. HBOS have also been a strong proponent of UK only call centres. HSBC Group have significant offshore call centre operations in India, The Philippines, Malta and Malaysia although these are captive facilities rather than outsourcing these functions. Barclays maintain a strong process of UK call centres but have also outsourced a significant proportion of their activity to India. 10.4 This question was designed to ask whether in today’s turbulent financial climate, the location of call centres for banks have any bearing on their decision to choose a bank. Less than 1% of respondents felt the location of the call centre had any bearing on their decision which casts a shadow over the huge amount of advertising budgets Natwest has invested in this campaign. However, if all of the 1% who said it had a bearing switched banks then this of course does represent a significant number of consumers. 10.5 The advertising of “UK only call centres” appears to have only had a very limited impact on people’s decision making process when selecting a bank compared with other issues. www.call-centre.co.uk 01608 679092 rob.omalley@call-centre.co.uk
  13. 13. 11.0 Conclusions 11.1 There has been a marked improvement in the perception of offshore call centres particularly those offering inbound customer service. 11.2 Consumers do not feel the benefits of offshoring are passed on to the consumer. 11.3 The main area of concern surrounding offshoring has switched from data security to job losses in The UK. 11.4 Consumers now prefer offshoring to waiting to be answered and to being answered by an automated system. 11.5 The advertising of UK only call centres seems to have little impact on the consumers decision to become a customer. These results are highlighted in the fact that the market share of companies such as RBS has not risen against companies such as Barclays. www.call-centre.co.uk 01608 679092 rob.omalley@call-centre.co.uk
  14. 14. 12.0 Methodology 12.1 1004 people responded to the survey 12.2 The survey took place between January 28th 2009 at 22:00 GMT and ended on February 1st 2009 at 21:34 GMT 12.3 Any responses received after the cut-off point were not included 12.4 All responses were anonymous 12.5 All responses were submitted over the internet. 12.6 All respondents were UK residents with no interest in the call centre industry 12.7 No definition of the term “offshore call centre” was made allowing the respondent to answer with their own definition. 12.8 The report was carried out by Rob O’Malley, a non-independent call centre outsourcing expert with 17 years experience in the industry. www.call-centre.co.uk 01608 679092 rob.omalley@call-centre.co.uk

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