The key to helping customers in a market that values empathy
Matching culture and language resolves customer needs faster
When the trend of U.S. businesses offshoring their customer service began a couple of decades ago, the opportunity to cut costs was paramount. Savings in the form of reduced labor costs were significant. However, they came at the expense of deteriorating customer satisfaction.
Foreign-based agents, while often skilled and well-educated, present communication challenges which can hinder their ability to help callers in all the dynamic ways that come ingrained for local agents.
For instance, customers who reach a foreign agent, according to a study by CFI Group, are 52 percent more likely to have to speak to more than one representative, 10 percent less likely to resolve an inquiry and 25 percent less likely to do so on the first call.
In other words, to deliver a consistent customer experience, a U.S. based brand should have U.S. based customer care. In fact, having the right team of professionals onshore to support customer care operations is a powerful driver of customer experience, which is becoming the key differentiator among brands.
There’s a critical reason to staff sales and support in the states: Your customers expect it.
Customer care pros in the U.S. not only have an inherent understanding of the same culture as a U.S. customer but often also use the same products and services.
“When I’m taking calls, it’s a customer-to-customer conversation more than a salesperson-to-customer conversation. I’m able to use real stories to serve the customer because either I have and love the product myself, or I have strong interest in it or my family has it,” shared Sharon Meeks DeBouse, a Liveops agent who has worked in customer service for 20-plus years.
“I’m able to use real stories to serve the customer because I have and love the product myself.”
This is fundamental to providing the level of personalized service that consumers place in increasingly higher value. “New research proves that consumers are expecting, if not demanding, highly personalized experiences,” customer service expert Shep Hyken wrote for Forbes. “And the good news, for those businesses that can deliver, is that customers are typically willing to spend more when they receive such custom-tailored service,” Hyken said.
It takes a fair amount of insight to deliver this level of service over the telephone, a quality much easier found in people who already know a culture and the context in which the products and services they’re supporting.
Still, enterprise leaders say attracting talent to fill their needs for customer service agents—particularly in this hot economy—is next to impossible. What they’re overlooking is the fact that onshoring doesn’t have to mean limiting hiring to the typical, geographic-based approach.
Think outside brick and mortar when building your U.S. customer care workforce
You can source virtual agents from anywhere in the U.S., including from rural communities where employment options are limited, but language and cultural knowledge are second nature. This option comes with significant benefits for organizations and their customers.
There are a couple of key benefits to using a remote agent workforce. One of the biggest fiscal benefits is that it saves your organization the overhead investment and ongoing costs of opening and operating a physical call center location. From a hiring standpoint, allowing agents to work remotely opens up your talent pool to all corners of the country so you can bring on the best, most qualified and most motivated professionals to serve your customers.
Beyond just environment, the differences between call center agents and virtual, remote agents are tangible:
Interested in finding out how a flex workforce might mean for your customer service team?
Learn more about deploying a remote agent workforce.