When you call, the answer is always: ‘No’
It is an industry-standard mantra to say “no” when you hear a call centre worker speak.
But this year the same mantra is increasingly being trotted out as a way to avoid outsourcing.
In fact, there are many companies that are still trying to convince themselves they are in a position to save jobs.
In the end, outsourcing is not a solution to a crisis, says Antonio Zuniga, chief executive of the International Association of Call Centres.
“It is a way of creating a situation that does not actually create jobs,” he told Football Italiano.
“What happens is the jobs are taken, the costs are higher, and the jobs that are saved are fewer.
This is how we have got into this mess.”
It’s a position Zunigo has adopted with the help of the Spanish company Infront.
Infront is one of the most successful companies in the industry, with more than 60,000 employees in its five main regions and three subsidiaries.
Its call centres are located in the United States, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Belgium, and its operations in Italy, France and the United Kingdom.
Zunigan says that Infront has a contract with the Spanish Government to deliver over 100,000 call centres a year for free, with the right to offer a one-off fee of €3,000 for an additional five years of service.
The firm also offers services for other countries and has contracts with major retailers such as Target, Tesco, Home Depot and Sainsbury’s.
But it has also invested heavily in its call centres and it has a long history of outsourcing its operations.
In addition to outsourcing its call centre business, Infront employs more than 3,000 people in the Philippines, according to Zunigas team, and is planning to build more call centres in the coming years.
“We are in the process of reopening two of our call centres.
We have been working on this for a long time.
We want to continue to provide services to our customers and the public,” Zunigeras team told Football Ital.
“The fact is that we have to make choices about the future.
We cannot have our business and our jobs and our people be in jeopardy.”
Zuniagas team says the outsourcing has allowed Infront to save more than €1bn on costs, but he insists that this is a long-term investment.
“This is a strategy to make sure that we stay competitive with the competition,” he said.
Zuuniga believes that outsourcing is the right solution to the outsourcing crisis, but there are other companies out there who are struggling to save money.
In 2014, Zunigias team announced a contract to work in South Korea for a year.
It will be a one year commitment and it will take place in May, the same month the end of the Olympics begins in the city of Pyeongchang.
“In the next two to three years we will have an agreement with a South Korean company to work for two years in South Korean call centres,” Zuunnas team said.
The company said that it was offering a three-year contract with a contract length of four years.
This means that the team will receive €20,000 a year and it is still looking for a contract.
The problem with outsourcing is that it is also not sustainable, says Zuninias team.
“When we do a one month contract, we do not have any guarantee that we can keep doing the same job for two more months,” he explained.
The main reason for this is that there is a large gap between the cost of the labour and the profit margin of the company.
“Every contract we make has to have a guaranteed profit margin.
This can only be reached by using cheap labour,” said Zununiga.
And this is where the outsourcing is proving problematic.
Zunaigias teams biggest customers are companies like Apple, Amazon and Netflix.
According to a report by the consultancy consultancy McKinsey & Company, outsourcing to these companies has increased over the past four years by more than 75 per cent.
In this year alone, the number of call centres contracted out has doubled to more than 300.
“There are many opportunities for us to save a lot of money,” Zunaigas said.
“But we are not looking for savings on our own, but on the company that we work for.
We see a clear distinction between us and them. “
Our company is profitable but we are also working for companies that have very poor margins.
We see a clear distinction between us and them.
Our goal is to make our customers more profitable and also to be a good business partner.”
In a world of constant innovation, it’s no surprise that the call centres industry is suffering.
However, Zunaigan believes that the answer lies in the companies’ own success.
“Companies should look at themselves