The current economic environment is turbulent and thus is forcing organizations to rethink what is required to spur growth whilst managing cost, time and adding value efficiently and effectively.
Andrew Kokes, vice president, global product management, Sitel in an intercation with Global Services highlights what the year 2012 holds.
GS: In 2012, what areas do you think will face budgetary cuts and how will these cuts impact BPO activity? Or is there a scope for increased spends?
Andrew Kokes, VP, Global Product Management, Sitel
AK: Technological, social and economic changes have made at-home agents a viable business model, especially for experienced outsourcing providers. With broadband access now available in much of the US, end users can supplement existing call center operations by drawing from and connecting to a new and substantial labor pool. In 2012, Sitel believes the BPO industry will see a decrease in traditional call center environments where agents work in a typical office setting. Instead, work-at-home agents will emerge as a customer-care solution that favors a more flexible labor environment.
Sitel is also seeing a significant cost-savings opportunity for global call center BPO providers to achieve optimal operational efficiency by transitioning from on-premise legacy systems to cloud-based call center offerings that scale as a direct operating expense. This will also open the door for companies to replace large, captive operations with faster and cheaper outsourced operations, particularly in areas where customer experience can be enhanced by specialists.
GS: Describe the shifts in the dynamics of global services that you would expect in 2012?
AK: In 2012, Sitel believes outsourcing will continue to see growth driven by cost pressure, increasing complexity to deliver the latest technologies and the need to align scalability to market demand. Call center BPO’s with the right people, process and technology will be in a great position to deliver solutions that organization do not have the ability to invest in delivering, or would take years to develop their own operating best practices.
Traditionally, call centers are limited by their geography to a job-recruiting radius of about 50 miles, and the hiring constraints that come with that geographical location. In 2012, Sitel expects to see an increase in the utilization of a flexible home-based labor pool to drive operating efficiency. The virtual model will provide a wider hiring footprint with the hub-based environment focused on hiring and training at a physical location to improve work/life balance for employees. This concept will ultimately overcome the rigid scheduling challenges of call center-based operations while complementing existing in-center customer care support, providing various types of talent, shifts and scale for seasonality and call volume, regardless of location.
Cloud-based customer experience management solutions will continue to replace the traditional costly and capital-sensitive CRMs and other multi-channel enablement platforms. Sitel sees more strategic relationships between cloud providers and leading BPOs driving robust turnkey solutions. These “just-in-time” hosted solutions are operating expenses that allow customers to “buy-as-they-go,” allowing for a more efficient allocation of funds.
GS: Do you think any specific emerging area or geography will emerge in 2012?
AK: Sitel is constantly evaluating markets across the world to ensure we leverage available labor pools and infrastructures to provide our clients with the best possible service and return on customer investment.
In regards to emerging areas, Sitel sees Serbia as a great option for businesses that need a low-cost, multi-lingual customer service offering. With such a large, untapped talent pool, Serbia provides a wide breadth of language capabilities, including English, German, Italian, French and Russian. Sitel is the first foreign outsourced call center provider to open in the country, and the Company has been extremely impressed with the support of Serbian government to develop a growing infrastructure and economic environment. From a hiring perspective, potential call center agent candidates have high standards of education and cultural affinity with Sitel’s North American and European customers.