By weight, an average person is 200 million times the size of a mosquito. Yet, when a mosquito buzzes in your ear, it seems far from inconsequential. Sometimes small or subtle things have far greater impact than we’d expect. Service desk expert Andrew Vloedman continued his discussion on onshoring versus offshoring by highlighting some incidentals of offshoring that could have greater consequences than anticipated.
“Besides the more direct effects I mentioned, there can also be ‘unintended consequences’ to offshoring. Cultural differences or even just a tight labor market lacking enough people with the right skills can create performance inefficiencies that show up in overall costs. For example, on one service desk we brought back to the U.S., we were able to exceed performance goals with nine people working on the desk, instead of the 23 people staffing the operation when it was in Costa Rica. When you look at total costs instead of the per-person labor costs for offshoring, the price benefit can be far less than expected. Other small things add up, too, such as the time and expense for company executives to travel internationally for site visits. These kinds of incremental costs and disruptions can further diminish offshoring benefits.
The current economy is also causing some backlash in the marketplace. When customers hear a different accent, they assume calls are being handled overseas. For many, that’s a sensitive subject. You hear, ‘I want to talk to someone in the U.S. There are people here who aren’t working. Why is this company shipping jobs offshore?’ This backlash can affect both company reputation and customer satisfaction scores. It’s a serious enough issue that we’re seeing North American response. Some Canadian provinces require that first point of contact for a call originating in Canada must also be in Canada. Many of ours and others’ customers are now requesting similar call routing. So, it’s not just about government mandates. It’s an indication customers want to support at least some job creation. Companies that are considered customer satisfaction leaders are following suit, with North American support being a requirement for those calls from the U.S. and Canada.
Shared geography can create common ground between a customer and a service desk rep. Offshoring, though, can cause the customers to feel a disconnect — whether due to a perceived difference in sense of urgency or willingness to chat or the agent’s ability to relate to their culture. Even if you have great metrics, this can undermine customer relationships. If you’re the manager responsible for customer service, you’re not going to have a job long if you lose customer loyalty. In the end, CSAT is your driver. So, you really need to consider how offshoring affects those scores.”
Amidst all the buzz of onshoring versus offshoring your service desk, it can be tough to hear the voice of the customer. Do your CSAT scores agree with what you’re hearing?
Contact Andrew Vloedman by email at AndrewVl@vmc.com or 877.393.8622.