Design can give contact centre outsourcers an edge in the North American market

As we learned in our previous post, there is a trend in the North American market to resist outsourcing with third-party contact centers [1].

“Despite a trend of shrinking in-house contact center budgets, the North American market is one in which many enterprises are more willing to assert their own buying power rather than partner with a third party,” said Peter Ryan of Ryan Strategic Advisory.

If contact center outsourcers (CCO) want to edge their way into North America, they have to prove they have more than what in-house services can offer.

It turns out the proof is in a CCO’s ability to deliver a smooth and personalized customer experience (CX). CCOs have to deal with increasingly complex propositions and highly demanding customers, and do it in style.

The way to do that: use a digital solution properly designed to enhance CX.

To explain how, we have to take a step back.

Vision first, then design

Before design comes vision. The vision will define the design’s range of functionality and potential for growth. A narrow vision leads to a narrow design. A broader, more thoughtful vision... you get the picture.

A narrow vision of CCOs is that they are meant to simply take care of customer problems quickly and cheaply. Certainly customers want a quick first-call resolution (FCR), but it’s a mistake to think that’s all they want. A narrow vision like this might over invest in automation as if it were a contact CCO’s panacea.

But the data shows that customers want more than quick FCRs. Fifty percent of customers find automation to be annoying, and 43% dislike that it takes so long to reach a human agent[2]. Why? Because they want to talk to real people to solve their complex issues and demands.

Use a solution with an inclusive design

A big-picture vision of CCOs is inclusive. CCOs have to do a lot to break into the North American market: solve customer issues; tailor sales journeys; generate revenue via cross sells and upsells; increase CX and net provider scores (NPS); and ultimately help create customer satisfaction (C-sat) and leverage the customer lifetime value (CLV).

Maybe this sounds too big a vision, but there is a reason why the term “call centre” is out of date. We’ve gone beyond the days of only phone-to-phone customer assistance. Digital platforms have advanced to make all of the above happen.

Don’t forget the human touch

Digital platforms are facilitating omni-channel, intuitive customer journey patterns. Channels include phone/mobile, live chat, social media, self-service portals, and the options for customers to choose which channels they prefer. Each of these channels are likely to include a human agent on the other end.

Aside from easy-fix issues that can be handled by automation, the more complex issues require human agents to satisfy customer demands. This means that digital platforms must integrate not only other technological channels, but also workflows with agent-to-customer interactions.

The platform design that will help CCOs prove they have more than in-house services is one that combines the human touch with digital functionality. The two must be balanced. The digital solution should integrate channels into one omni-channel flow and provide all the right data, and the human agents should be equally empowered to serve customer needs and generate revenue.

“A great way for CCOs to increase revenue is by using digital tech. and human agents to differentiate service offerings for existing and prospective clients,” said Ryan.

Finally, the CX leads to ROI. A digital + human platform design can help CCOs look more attractive as a third-party partner by demonstrating a positive ROI. However, a positive ROIs is not easy to produce.

Read on for overcoming the biggest obstacles to ROIs at CCOs.



[1] Ryan Strategic Advisory, “North American Contact Center BPO Trends”, Honeybee commissioned study, 2018

[2] Get it Right: Deliver the omni-channel support customers want," Ovum 2016 

[3] “2017 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report”, Dimension Data 2017



[1] “Get It Right: Deliver the Omni-Channel Support Customers Want,” Ovum, 2016.

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About Us

honeybee was created by people who've lived and breathed the challenges of complex retail businesses and contact centres, where creating exciting and engaging customer experiences was always threatened with speed to market pressures, legacy systems that were hard to intergrate and small project budgets.

We realised there had to be a better way, so we brought together the right people - from operational execution and employee engagement through to journey design and technical experts to make our vision a reality. We wanted to make it easier for companies to design and launch exceptional customer journeys.