Pros and cons of MTN's hybrid contact centre shift

In the wake of MTN's announcement that the company would be shifting its contact centre operations, some confusion has arisen over how the company's contact centre will be run.

Diana Varisova via Wikimedia Commons
MTN has stated that it will be outsourcing a portion of that sector of its operations, but retaining some of the contact centre operations in-house, in what is termed a 'hybrid outsourced' model. Despite industry fears over potential job losses, MTN is confident that a shift to a hybrid outsourced contact centre will suit the company’s business model and benefit customers.

CEO at INOVO, Wynand Smit, is a specialist when it comes to providing contact centre business solutions. He says of the move:

“Hybrid outsourced contact centres have their pros and cons and do not suit all kinds of contact centre operations. It must be taken into account that sales, customer service and debt collection (as three of the primary focus areas of contact centres) have differing business requirements, and even within those three areas a solution that works for one company may not suit another similar company. Each solution should be developed according to the individual company’s specific needs to drive positive improvement in the business as a whole. Different companies thrive with different contact centre solutions.”

The hybrid contact centre sees a combination of outsourced (pay per use) and insourced operations, so a third party represents the company in a portion of its contact centre structure.

The benefits of this could be:

• Increased effectiveness: skilled labour and reduced cost requirements contribute to the productivity of the contact centre.
• Management capabilities: Instead of having multiple managers, a small team led by one manager can oversee operations and enhance workflow.
• Standardisation: the hybrid model can allow for processes that are optimised across all locations.
• Cost saving: eliminating costs of training, benefits and overhead – all contribute to improving operational efficiency and lowering costs.

The cons of such an operation can be:

• Decreased efficiency: unless processes are properly optimised and the quality of contacts monitored, the outsourced portion of the business may not run efficiently.
• International challenges: if the outsourcing is done to offshore contact centres, language, skills and even cultural differences can hinder operations.
• Lack of integration: The outsourced operation’s business processes must be integrated with the insourced operation or there will be loss of business and customer intelligence, leading to a poor customer experience.

Says Smit: “When businesses optimise their contact centres, the goal is aligned with that businesses growth strategy. This may include revisiting staffing requirements in the short term, but the contact centre sector is a key contributor to employment in SA. As a company grows, the need for consistent business-to-customer (and vice versa) contacts will grow apace. A specialist contact centre analyst can evaluate what kind of contact centre environment will be conducive to efficiency, productivity, profitability and, of course, excellent customer service across all platforms.

"A hybrid outsourced contact centres is just one of many options, with premise-based (PBX) contact centres, virtual contact centres and cloud computing contact centres all as choices. As technology advances, different solutions will be generated that continue to optimise operations.”



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