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Commercial call centers move their operations from country to country, often to save just a couple of cents per call. But that may be penny-wise, dollar-foolish thinking, given the customer fallout that often follows.
A mixed approach
To be fair, the advent of cloud-based contact centers does not spell the end either for offshore contact centers or bricks-and-mortar operations in the U.S. When it comes to contact centers, no one size fits all.
This truism is underscored by Stewart/Xerox's commitment to having an in-house contact center.
"Being local matters to our customers, and talking to real people who they know also matters," Magiaracina said. "That's something that has value for our business, even if it is hard to quantify."
"It's a big, marvelous mix of things right now," he said. "Operations are going offshore, coming back — or, as we saw recently with one client — moving from one offshore country to another.
"The overall trend we see is 'right shoring.' That is, understand your business needs first, analyze the different functions performed by your contact center, and then determine where to perform them most effectively and efficiently. That may mean having the bulk of your operations onshore but off-shoring certain tasks, or vice versa. Keep in mind, however, that most facilities that service North American customers are still in North America, and will stay here."
While the solutions may vary, the key factor shaping contact-center strategies has stayed the same: All things begin equal, cost will remain the driving force.
"It's all about the bottom line," Fluss said. "The actual ways in which contact centers are deployed and operated may change over time, but cost will always be a primary factor."