Data: the oil of the information age, an asset as valuable to retailers as gold. If you’re in retail, you won’t need the importance of data explaining again. What can often get lost in the rush to monetise it, however, is where it comes from:
Customer data is used to many ends in retail, in many ways played back to the customer in the form of digitally-led experiences and personalised offerings with the aim of driving revenue and customer acquisition and retention.
In order to achieve this, retailer often have to share their most valuable asset with third parties. When information is now as valuable as the commodities you sell, you have to think hard about who you can trust with it. The risk of customer data being handled incorrectly is great, so there’s an imperative for retailers to find partners in whom they can put their full, unadulterated trust.
Contact centres are at the heart of this, employing over 1.3million people in the UK alone and seeing a huge surge in calls during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the eCommerce sector alone, customers make around 100,000 calls a day, while there has been a rise in customer activity outside traditional hours. With a 40% rise in mobile shopping alone, eCommerce was the big winner in 2020, as consumers reacted to the global health challenges with a big shift in behaviour and preferences.
This new behaviour is here to stay, and it generates a lot of data. This data provides vast opportunities for retailers to analyse and cater to their customers’ preferences in more granular detail than ever. But with this opportunity comes an imperative for retailers to handle data seriously and securely, including that generated at all customer touchpoints.
Contact centre providers that do this offer much more than manpower. The list of services handled by contact operatives has broaded in recent years to include appointment management, live web chat, email support, social media management, order processing, virtual reception services, business process management, market research and lead generation, among others. And much of this work is driven or informed by data.
As such, customer contact centres can be vital sources of data. With many brands choosing to outsource their contact centre operations to cut costs and free up internal resources, it’s really important for them to choose their providers with great care.
Key charactertistics retailers need to look for in contact centre providers go beyond the previous benchmarks of speed and volume. Now, contact centres must proven resilience, processes and the operational capability to act as best-in-class data custodians. That means ensuring regulatory compliance and acting in the best interests of the customer. Vitally, contact centres musn’t just use brand customer data. They must nurture it, by employing innovative methods to deliver the analytics and insight necessary to turn data into a genuine, living asset.
So who can UK retailers put their faith in to deliver this raft of business-critical services?
UK-based contact centres have widely been seen as the best option in terms of quality, but can be prohibitive in price – hence the tendency to opt for offshore providers. Many business leaders see this a trade-off, an uneasy middle ground between service quality and service cost. But retailers don’t have to make this compromise. It’s possible to have a UK-style contact centre without the UK price tag. By looking further afield to culturally-aligned countries with highly-skilled workforces, brands can enjoy the services of trusted data custodians and the low prices of offshore providers at the same time.
In doing so, it’s hard to look beyond South Africa. One of the fastest growing contact centre industries in the world, with world-class telecommunications network and IT infrastructures, the country also boasts an exchange rate that makes it one of the least expensive countries in which to do business. A large pool of highly-skilled and educated workers means high levels of English language fluency.
This combination of quality and cost containment surpasses the offerings of onshore operations, significantly. Quality local talent that we can onboard as required, offers a flexible, scalable solution.
Durban, where Synergy is headquartered and has two sites, is the most culturally aligned South African city to the UK. It boasts the largest skilled, accent-neutral workforce in South Africa, which means seamless conversation with customers and lead times on a par with onshore providers.
Our staff are sophisticated, analytical, compassionate and informed, perfectly placed to manage the ‘oil of the information age’ for brands across the UK. With real-time analysts and business intelligence experts, we can provide real-time, bespoke management information reporting for actionable insights – insight that transforms data from numbers or figures on a screen to real value.
To find out how Synergy can help you make the most of your customer data, enhance customer experience standards and save your business money, get in touch with us today.