In a new survey from VoltDelta of contact center professionals who manage and are responsible for international customer, a common opinion expressed was that that international expansion is no longer an inexpensive alternative for servicing US customers, but rather commands a more strategic role in business expansion and growth. There is a strategic choice to be made as to how and where international customers should be serviced from.
To better serve customers in overseas markets, most respondents felt it is important to establish contact centers at a regional location where a variety of regional language skills can be recruited or at an international hub to gain some efficiencies of scale. Only one fifth of the respondents at organizations with smaller operations overseas said they backhauled support to the US where the expertise resides.
Global expansion brings a whole new set of business and cultural challenges to these organizations. From a staffing perspective, the top three challenges that the respondents are faced with are:
• Recruiting qualified and suitable staff
• Adapting to various cultural differences
• Training their staff
Respondents stated that they do enjoy a lower staff turnover rate overseas than they experience within the US. The only exception to this is experienced in some South and Central America countries. From a business perspective, all respondents are focused on improving their customer satisfaction score. Customer service engagement and task completion emerged as the primary metrics used for measuring success regardless of regions or countries supported.
Although customer satisfaction was the primary measure used, other metrics were also employed to measure performance. More emphasis is placed on “time to answer” and “average handle time” metrics amongst those organizations with ten or more contact centers.
However, the respondents were almost equally split three ways on their strategy for dealing with the cultural aspects of handling customer experience between:
• Harmonizing the customer experience regardless of culture
• Allowing the cultural aspects to drive the customer experience
• Slightly varying the customer experience based on culture
You can download the White Paper resulting from this study which alsoidentifies strategies for expanding contact center customer support beyond US boundaries.