"Centers of Interaction with clients (CIC), Transformation and Offshoring"
"I ... have seen things that you would not believe". Those of us who continue to survive in this passionate industry for a whopping thirty years now can undoubtedly use the phrase from Ridley Scott's legendary film "Blade Runner" to describe, not the future, but the recent past of the same.
We saw the birth of Ibercom, the ACDs, the Intelligent Network (numbers type 90X), IVRs, Contact Managers, CRMS, the new Contact channels (Digital Channels), the phenomenon of Operational Globalization (Off shore, Nearshore)... Some of them, elements that some visionaries predicted as keys for the disappearance of the Industry. Industry that has not done more than grow year after year, yes, transforming and adapting permanently to these realities.
That perspective is the one that sustains my impression, the vision is too solemn, about what the future of the Centers for Interaction with clients (CIC) can bring us, an impression that this process has taken me not only professionally but also fundamentally vital.
In a world, always in permanent change, we all try to find immutable principles on which to build our reality, and the business world is no exception. I build it on the idea that although the change is permanent, the motivations that support and drive it are always the same.
Hence my idea that the so-called new AI (Artificial Intelligence), Big Data ... technologies will have the same role that Technology has always had, optimize business processes and generate differential elements in front of competitors, and so I understand that it will be necessary to address them in the same way that it was done with their predecessors. The great difference with respect to past epochs lies in the speed of the transformation process. This increases exponentially, testing the agility and proactivity of the Organizations. This point, which has always been important in business evolution, now becomes critical. We see how many of the fundamental companies of the world today did not exist 30 years ago and some of the top companies of that time no longer exist. Unthinkable 30 years ago. The business transformation to adapt to this speed and the evolution of the organizational models to respond to it will be the basis of the Transformation, that organizational transformation will really lead to the use of new technologies.
And this is where I want to introduce what I consider the main immutable driver / driver of the Transformation. Customer Satisfaction.
Anticipating the evolution of our client to meet their expectations is the other challenge fundamental of our Organizations. Always, of course it has been, but now we have a more demanding consumer, more informed, more participatory, more connected, who does not understand barriers between physical and digital commerce ... I would define it as "more professional".
The speed of adaptation to the new reality by this professional consumer is being faster than that of most companies to satisfy them, generating significant risks and opportunities.
The current customer demands a Brand not only price, delivery time and fulfillment ofexpectations regarding the product or service; seeks recognition, seeks anticipation, seeks ease, seeks relationship... summarizing, look for "Experience", an "Experience" based more and more on the sensations / emotions. Knowing how to manage those emotions in the whole process of Relationship with a Client becomes the great differential. The rest are necessary but not sufficient conditions for the success of our brands.
That is why we have placed the Client at the center of our Strategy. He should never have been anywhere else.
Here and for all of the above, it is precisely where the Omni-Channel Strategy converges and where the Customer Interaction Centers become essential for that Customer Experience management. The execution of this Emotion Management Strategy through the different Contact Channels taking advantage of the new Technologies will be one of the keys to achieve success. A success that must not forget, of course, another of the Immutable drivers of change. THE EFFICIENCY. Concept that meets one of the also immutable business mistakes: Confusing Efficiency with only reducing costs.
Currently and for reasons closely related to the above, is one of the main obstacles that exist and therefore one of the biggest challenges for companies.
The reasons, often very related, fundamental origin of the situation have been three:
1 º Uncontrolled focus on reducing costs not being sensitive to the harmful effect that certain reductions represent the income of it.
2º Organizational structures where the world of costs and revenues are divided making departmental objectives prevail over those that should be global. Nowadays, a Customer Interaction Center is a fundamental source of Direct and / or Indirect Income, so treating it as a mere Cost Center is a serious error.
3º Slavery on the part of the Managers to the short-term results, preventing or slowing down the development of policies in the medium and long term, which I consider very necessary in all areas.
The CICs are precisely based on the Efficient Management of relationships using each channel according to the type of customer and reason for interaction, but without forgetting not only the reduction of costs but also and more importantly, the increase in income. A few months ago, when we explained to a Purchasing Director of an important Client the policy of process automation in the CIC, he asked us why the expense was increasing year by year. The answer was simple, it had been reduced in process costs according to value criteria contributed more than 35% in three years but at the same time it had gone from being just an information channel to suppose 30% of the sales of the Entity. This I think is the way.
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to talk about my experience on the relocation effect / globalization of Contact Centers. Go ahead that experience has made me a convinced defender of them. When you get Costs reductions of between 60% and 70% by concentrating in certain countries an Interaction Center getting the same or better KPIS than disintegrated we can only ask ourselves why the practice is not more widespread. Unfortunately we find the immutable: Prejudices, legislative restrictions falsely protectionist..., in a word "Fear".
It is true that although my experience is very positive, in the industry not all have been. Thebad experiences that I know, and they are also enough, have been originated fundamentally by the how they have been contracted and consequently managed those Centers. How in many cases the error is not in the "WHAT" but in the "HOW".
Success in the Management of Offshoring Models is based on:
1º Efficiency based not only on lower labor costs, but fundamentally on a greater optimization of Technological Infrastructures. Models of use of the Platforms with 20-hour day averages (derived from managing countries with different time frames) compared to 10-hour local averages.
2º Correct compensation of the personnel that allows you to invest in an important way in the formation of the resources and limit the indexes of the rotation of the same ones.
3º Understanding and policies of adaptation to the Culture of the countries to which you are going to give service.
4th Correct choice of Country / Countries from where you will manage the operation (Accent, Macroeconomic stability, socio-demographic characteristics ...).
I have not been able to limit the length of the writing to the objectives, but I hope it is for the benefit of the readers. And as a frustrated writer, perhaps I wanted to make amends with this opportunity that has been given to me. For that reason I want to end with a phrase also from "Blade Runner": "It is quite an experience to live with fear, that is what it means to be a slave".