For us at Ubiquity, geographic diversity in service delivery isn’t just about cost savings—although that’s certainly a draw for many of our clients—it’s also about business continuity. I dare say we’ve all learned quite a bit more about business continuity planning in the past 18 months than we ever cared to.
But what many of those plans have never accounted for was the current labor market. Minimum wage is on the rise in the U.S., which is great for workers. But businesses have struggled to keep pace. The time to adapt is now. And while raising wages and signing bonuses in your domestic contact centers might be options, it’s not going to solve the whole problem—because everyone else is offering those, too. You need a multipronged workforce management plan, and it’s got to include some nearshore or offshore options—even if it’s just for overnight service.
Delivering on the brand promise of 24/7
Take this recent example. I was booking a flight online with an airline that prides itself on being customer-first. I ran into an issue getting the last seat on the flight I wanted, so I called. I was informed that wait times were long and offered a call back. I got a gracious call back, and the agent was extremely knowledgeable, personable and helpful. Unfortunately, I was going to have to call back to pay for my reservation once my rewards credit card arrived in the mail.
On that second call, which I made at 9 at night, I was once again warned of long wait times. However, this time I wasn’t given the option of a callback. So, I stayed on the line … for an hour.
If you’re going to promise 24/7 customer support, then your customers should expect the same experience whether they call at 9 in the morning or 9 at night. Even if I’d had to wait, the callback feature would have made a tremendous difference in my overall customer experience.
The thing is: I know I’m not alone. And for some, the waits have been far worse. A recent Washington Post article cited wait times as long as 12 hours for some airline customers. And although I’ve focused my attention on the U.S. market in this article, other countries are grappling with the same issues. In the U.K., for example, brands are taking longer to answer the phone and some aren’t answering at all, according to recent Money Mail report.
In this environment, brands have an opportunity to differentiate themselves with stellar customer experience. That starts with rethinking service delivery locations, staffing and recruitment processes to attract more workers across geographies and to retain customers for the long haul.
We’d love to help.