Telemarketing and Call Center Information

Off-shore Call Centers

More Big Businesses Switching to Offshore Call Centers

As I’ve mentioned before on this blogsite, the cosmetic company, Avon Corporation, has begun using off-shore in-bound call centers to serve it thousands of sales representatives. 

Recently Avon Corporation signed a big contract with an offshore call center to take over Avon’s big customer service centers.  Thousands of call per day are now streaming offshore from Avon representatives and customers.

Avon hopes to lower its expenses since much of its business is conducted over the phone to its customer service departments.  Manpower has been a huge expense for them.

With a 50% to 75% lower cost for telemarketing and call center services, what was already a popular and growing industry is now booming. 

As US companies need to reign in expenses to balance the downtrend in the financial market, lowering costs is part of the equation.

Avon plans to continue this program and save significantly.

Recession Talk Leads More Companies Offshore

The latest indicators are showing that businesses will have to tighten up financially to stay afloat.  

One area reaping the benefits is the offshore call center industry. Recently,  Avon Corporation signed a big contract with an offshore call center to take over Avon’s big customer service centers.  Thousands of call per day are now streaming offshore from Avon representatives and customers.

Avon hopes to lower its expenses since much of its business is conducted over the phone to its customer service departments.  Manpower has been a huge expense for them.

With a 50% to 75% lower cost for telemarketing and call center services, what was already a popular and growing industry is now booming. 

As US companies need to reign in expenses to balance the downtrend in the financial market, lowering expenses is part of the equation.

Which Offshore Call Center Countries Rank Best

A recent study by industry publication Global Services (and investment advisory firm Tholons) showed what countries (by city) rank best in offshore call center services. 

Based on scale and quality of workforce, financial infrastructure, risk environment and quality of life, these are the top 15 ranked cities in Offshore countries:

  1. Chennai, India
  2. Hyderabad, India
  3. Pune, India
  4. Ceba, Philippines
  5. Kolkata, India
  6. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  7. Colombo, Sri Lanka
  8. Shanghai, China
  9. Chandigarh, India
  10. Beijing, China
  11. Cairo, Egypt
  12. Hanoi, Vietnam
  13. Shenzhen,China
  14. Buenos Aries, Brazil
  15. Sao Paulo, Brazil

So, India still remains the #1 technology outsourcing destination, but concerns of a rising rupee and soaring wages may slow their competitive edge.

India Call Center Costs May Be Increasing

Costs are surging in the prime cities in India, as property values and rentals rise and wages increase, at an annual pace of more than 15 %.

Outsourcing firms are feeling the pinch from appreciating rupee, which reduces dollar-billed earnings. They are having to cut costs by expanding to less expensive locations.

India’s outsourcing companies have thrived with contracts from companies in the US and Europe.  This tapped the country’s low costs and large employee pool.  It has included jobs ranging from inbound call center staff to risk management and financial analysis.

About 50 billion dollars in revenue was logged last year by the entire information technology industry, which also includes software giants.

Offshore Call Centers on the Increase

As American companies struggle with budget trimming, their telemarketing budgets are being trimmed too.  Off-shore telemarketing is one answer to this dilemna.

India and the Philippines have surged ahead in supplying call centers for many American telemarketing projects.  The low cost, of as much as 50% to 75% LESS than on-shore competitors, has driven this growth.

Now other countries, including Korea and some African countries are joining the competition for American business dollars.  Off-shore telemarketing appears to be here to stay.

Even with complaints about understanding the English spoken by off-shore telemarketers, businesses are determined to keep these call centers.  Not only are they less expensive, they are supplied by a large number of employees who have strong technology training.  American employers complain that there are not enough trained people available in the science and technology fields in the United States.

So, like it or not, off-shore telemarketing is only going to grow.

The Language Barrier and Using Off-Shore Telemarketing

Off-shore telemarketing is being used primarily for in-bound customer service related projects.  And, it continues to be used mainly by large companies with huge in-bound needs.

The reason, of course, is the lower costs involved for off-shore services.  And in order to establish a large off-shore call center, the promise of  long lasting, huge projects are needed and only very large companies can guarantee that kind of contract.

But one complaint about using off-shore call centers that continues to plague these companies is the language barrier.  Sure, India and the Phillipines have English speaking populations.  But the accent is often so unclear to the American ear that the customer has difficulty getting his needs met.

Large busniesses such as Microsoft and Dell, for example, are apologetic.  Continual refresher English courses are part of the training these off-shore telemarketers receive.  And American phrases and trendy words are being inserted into part of the responses.

But still, lamentably, complaints are high regarding the language differential.  The problem for the customer is that they have no recourse.  Large companies are not offering another option.  So, for now, off-shore services are cheap and that’s more important than periodic complaints about unintelligible English…

When to Use Off-Shore Telemarketing

Within the last year or so, the cosmetic company, Avon Corporation, has begun using off-shore in-bound telemarketing to serve it thousands of sales representatives.  Other companies, such as Microsoft, and other large companies had already made the shift to off-shore telemarketing over the past few years.

The key word is “large.”  To make off-shore telemarketing worthwhile, your business must have large projects which service thousands of customers regularly.  The cost savings is also large.  Even huge.

Using off-shore telemarketing can save as much as 50% to 75% compared to the same telemarketing job done here in the U.S.  It’s no surprise then, why companies are making the switch off-shore.

Because of the logistics of travel and training for off-shore telemarketing, it takes a company with lots of resources to set up the projects.  And there needs to be a long-term committment so that locations in the Philippines, India and Korea can count on continual work for the thousands of hired employees there.

If you have  a business with smaller projects, it’s better to stay with a North American telemarketing service.  Though more expensive per call, the overall project is still financially manageable and easily overseen because it is local.

But if your company is growing and requiring huge telemarketing services over the long term, off-shore telemarketing is the best and most cost effective choice.

Off-Shore Telemarketing Services Save Money

Telemarketing continues to grow and, at the same time, companies are looking for better ways to use it.

One better way is to save money.  If your business is planning a very large telemarketing project, with thousands of calls that need to be generated, then off-shore telemarketing services may be your answer.

India and the Philippines are among the largest outsourcing services for telemarketing.  One reason U.S. companies choose these locations is because they originate from countries with large English speaking populations. 

But the main reason, and most often reported reason, for choosing off-shore call centers is the much lower cost.  It can be as much as 50% to 75% less than a similar service in the U.S.  It’s hard to overlook a savings like this.

Cost and Services of Outbound Telemarketing

Outbound telemarketing is a phone call that’s generated from a call center to prospects who are often unaware of the product or service, and who did not request such a call (cold-calling).  This type of call can be used for lead generation, sales calls, appointment setting, research surveys and information verification. 

The key to the success of outbound telemarketing is that a specific market can be targeted using call lists with demographics that correspond to the type of buyer that would use the product or service.  For example, people in the “over 60” age range can be called regarding special travel packages for seniors.  A percentage of those called will respond favorably because they are the right type of client and are interested in what you offer.

Pricing:  In the U.S, a telemarketing service usually charges about $2 per call plus a base fee that depends on the size of the whole project.  500 calls is usually the minimum accepted, and larger projects typically receive a better per call rate. 

Additionally, a minimum down payment of around  $1,500  is often required.  So, plan on about $20 to $40 per hour plus the base fee.  Outsourcing globally (off-shore) is becoming more popular because the cost can be as much as 50% to 75% less than an on-shore service.  This option is usually used for huge projects.

The Right Fit for Outsourcing Telemarketing

 If you want the right telemarketing service, ask questons!  And ask lots of them, such as:

Does your telemarketing company have…

  1. the latest software
  2. the latest equipment
  3. specialty services such as:
  • digital recording,
  • off-site monitoring,
  • hot transfer,
  • web enabled call stations,
  • 3rd party verification
  • digital back-up

Does the telemarketing company have a plan that guarantees your campaign is not interrupted, or valuable data lost if there is an outage or disaster?

Most businesses don’t think to ask these questions when they interview a prospective telemarketing service.  If you don’t know what some of these services are, don’t assume that means you don’t need them.  A good telemarketing service will be glad to take time to explain whatever you ask.  If they don’t have time to explain things now, why would they take time with you later?