05 May 2020

De-risking operations: Building a flexible operating model for the future


In the past right-shoring usually meant finding the right location for your Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) operations. It was always a mix of outsourcing to the right partner and offshoring to the right location - hence right-shoring. In the wake of the need to de-risk organizations after the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic I believe we need to think again about how right-shoring is defined.

There is a greater need for customer experience (CX) specialists to deliver more than just a contact center. They need to offer a mix of services that encapsulates onshore and offshore contact centers alongside Robotic Process Automation(RPA) and work at home agents (WAHA).

Right-shoring now has many more dimensions, including:

  • Location of an onshore contact center

  • Location of an off/nearshore contact center 

  • Percentage of WAHA agents regularly used, with an option to always go to 100% in times of crisis - like a pandemic

  • Automation applied to both the agent experience and customer experience to improve the interaction for both

  • Artificial Intelligence and how machine learning can learn about the most common customer issues and intervene using chatbots or Natural Language Processing 

  • Self-service has increased in importance as many customers now search for information on their phone, or using Alexa, before ever trying to reach the contact center. It’s important to ensure that these customers find useful and accurate information.

What is changing is that the CX specialist is taking on a much stronger partner role. CX has become more complex in the past decade and is now extremely complex to deliver in-house. Imagine delivering support for a European e-commerce platform in every major European language across voice, email, chat, text, and social media - the challenges are clear and this is why the CX specialists can no longer just be considered contact center providers.

What a strong CX partner delivers is lower risk. Companies that choose a partner wisely have the advantage of being able to deliver a better customer experience, but also should have a partner that is ensuring they can keep on talking to their customers when a crisis hits.

Imagine how many customers were contacting airlines, hotels, and government services in recent weeks? These customer interactions can often be critical services, such as contact center agents answering healthcare questions. The level of domain knowledge in many of our agents is extremely high - they are experts in the brand or products they support.

This crisis has demonstrated to companies across all industries that they need agility. They need partners that are flexible and have a sustainable operating model that can survive a crisis.

There are very few people alive today who will have ever witnessed a global crisis on this scale. In our own area of customer service though, it’s clear that the path to a new era for CX is by redefining right-shoring. This is the initial path to de-risking your entire organization.

Peter Tetlow

Global Head of Solutions and Bid Management