Managing customer experience will be vital in holding on to SA's top BPO ranking.

Recently, South Africa was recognised as the top global location for front office CX (business process) services. This accolade has been lauded as a recognition of the country's ability to deliver high-quality services to international clients and cements us as a player on the global stage when it comes to outsourcing. The industry offers a plethora of services, with outsourced contact centres being central to the offering. While being recognised as a world leader is undoubtedly an achievement that will unlock opportunities for local providers, it will be our ability to maintain the leading edge through great customer experience that will matter in the months to come.

As a Voice of the Customer technology provider, Smoke Customer Intelligence is well versed in how customer experience plays a vital part in the overall success of contact centre service delivery. Over the past decade, the organisation has partnered with both local and international organisations. It has enabled the improvement of service delivery, and the intelligent use of customer feedback data has help organisations realise optimisations and savings.

Balancing operations with customer experience

"It is one thing to run a smooth contact centre operation, but a totally different matter to operate in a way that offers both operational support and customer delight", says Sarah Lubbe, Head of Sales and Marketing at customer feedback specialist, Smoke Customer Intelligence. "For BPO's that run multiple contracts across different geographies, it is so important to gather customer feedback. Not only to prove their effectiveness to their clients but also to gather real-time insights into where operations can be improved. It is this balancing act between efficiency and satisfaction that will go a long way in helping South Africa to stay ahead of the pack when it comes to outsourced contact centre solutions".

Lubbe further explains that the purpose of Voice of the Customer feedback within a contact centre is multifaceted. An effectively implemented programme can impact everything from staff performance to process enhancements and customer satisfaction.

"When playing on a global stage, it is important to bear in mind that not all customers expect or want the same thing. It is only through understanding the experiences of each of these unique customers that one can deliver the right service to the right geography", says Lubbe.

Customer feedback delivers invaluable data

From a BPO point of view, implementing a wide-ranging voice of the customer programme provides them with the data points needed to measure customer satisfaction, manage teams, and be used as a differentiator when competing for business. The ability to gather feedback across channels and customers provides a holistic view of the overall offering, but the ability to segment to a customer, campaign or even individual agent level provides a level of insight that is invaluable.

As we emerge from a tumultuous economic period, our global business services sector has been identified as one of the green shoots contributing to economic recovery by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The industry currently employs just under 300 000 people, with this figure set to continue to grow steadily as our industry capitalises on its leading position within the global market. There is no doubt that we already possess the skill and digital infrastructure to deliver world-class service. With that in mind, however, the industry would be missing a trick if we were to overlook the importance of customer experience within our value proposition to the market.

"Voice of the Customer within any contact centre is important, but for BPO providers looking to compete on a global stage even more so. We know we already have the people and the operations to deliver the services the world want, but the ability to report on recognised CX metrics and use such data to continue to improve will arguably be the key to the industry maintaining its number one place in the years to come", concludes Lubbe.


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