Magazine article Marketing

Speaking in Tongues

Magazine article Marketing

Speaking in Tongues

Article excerpt

Today's brands are increasingly being challenged by the need to balance brand protection against financial constraints.

We are all-too familiar with the growing pressure being applied to budgets in the current economic environment, but, equally, we recognise the importance of brand image, reputation and the need to meet customers' expectations to ensure their loyalty during tough times. So how can brands achieve the best of both worlds?

Offshore contact centres are by no means novel and, in the past, have earned a poor reputation for quality of service, with critics doubting the promised price advantages, on the grounds that lack of understanding leads to longer call times and a greater numbers of aborted calls.

In spite of these factors, reduced labour rates in countries such as India continue to attract UK clients needing low-cost, customer-service solutions. However, it has been proven repeatedly that success rates are far higher when agents are native English-speakers, using a communication style that matches that of their customer targets.

So, the challenge clearly lies in finding a solution that enables clients to make the best use of constrained budgets, while retaining native-language communication quality. This is particularly tricky for those brands that have a pan-European presence, which can only retain native communication by maintaining small pockets of contact centre activity dotted throughout the region.

A further, very significant, consideration is the level of engagement required by the brand owner within a specific contract. For both inbound and outbound contact centre activity, the degree of interaction and scope of agent responsibility will be determined by the client's desired outcome. This could range from a high volume of brief, efficient and basic information exchanges to a much smaller number of unhurried, in-depth conversations designed to nurture and protect high-value customer relationships.

Obviously, in those destinations where agents are struggling to understand the most basic communication exchange, any hope of achieving multi-faceted sales of high purchase-value products, or resolution of complex queries and problems, would be futile and, indeed, damaging to the brand. …

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