For years, UK call centres regularly offshored their operations, predominantly driven by a desire to create greater cost efficiencies. As most of us will remember, this was effective for some time, but soon led to a consumer backlash against the level of service received.
This is significant in today’s digital world. If someone receives a poor experience from their service provider, it’s not long before they’re telling their online networks. And, when someone hears of another persons’ negative experience of a service provider, it has an immediate impact on their perception of the organisation and their likelihood to engage with their services in the future.
As a result, more and more organisations are moving their call centres back to UK soil, in the belief that this will allow them to deliver a better customer service. While this may potentially increase workforce costs, this can be offset through investment in automation, as well as implementing homeworking policies.
However, lots of companies are going one step further than this. They’re using the UK as the base for their Europe-wide contact centre; centralising a number of European contact centres into one centre in the UK. Often, their size and scale does not allow them to manage multiple contact centres across Europe, and the UK is an attractive base for their operations.
As a result, demand for multilingual talent in the UK has skyrocketed. So it’s become increasingly difficult to find people with these skills – particularly German, Dutch and Nordic language speakers.
However, while demand for these skills has increased, supply has decreased. One reason for this is probably quite obvious: Brexit. Many candidates are still unclear of the concrete implications of last year’s referendum; particularly as the free flow of labour is one of the fundamental tenets of the European Union. With the eyes of the world on the UK and Europe, employers must play a role in protecting the attractiveness and desirability of the UK as a labour destination.
One piece of the puzzle
Finding someone who speaks the required language is just one piece of the puzzle though. The individual also needs to want to work in a contact centre, and have the required skills to do so.
After all, as I’ve already mentioned, there’s a very high expectation on customer service these days. UK consumers criticised the service received by offshore contact centres; business leaders don’t want to replicate this experience elsewhere.
It’s critical that the multilingual candidates who are based in the UK are able to provide exactly the same level of service as someone based in the same country as the caller. The customer should have no idea that the person they’re speaking to is based in the UK. The talent pool of people who are able to achieve this is small; particularly when recruiting for first line technical roles, which often consist of technical, jargon-heavy conversations.
The hyper targeted approach
What does all of this mean for employers who want to recruit multilingual workers into their contact centres? Quite simply, it means you need to think more long-term about candidate engagement. There’s no quick fix. It’s extremely unlikely that you will post an advert onto a job board and receive an application from your ideal candidate. There are simply not enough active candidates in this talent pool. Instead, you need making talent pooling a real priority.
To do this, a hyper targeted approach is required. This means investing in social profiling, demographic analysis, and extensive research and insights – to identify the precise individuals that your attraction activities should target.
With this intelligence in hand, the next step is to consider the best way of approaching and engaging with your organisation, and your job vacancies. After all, when you’re targeting a select pool of individuals, there really is no excuse for a bad candidate experience. They may not be looking to change roles right now, so this isn’t just about ‘selling’ your job to them. It’s about building trust over a period of time. This will mean you’re the first organisation they turn to when they’re ready for a job move.
Maximise your reach
That’s where Manpower can help. With a global network of more than 3,500 offices in over 80 countries and territories worldwide, we combine an unparalleled global reach with on-the-ground knowledge of local jobs markets.
We have the people, knowledge and technology to attract and retain the talent you need, no matter if they live down the road or on the other side of the world. That’s why some of the world’s biggest brands turn to us for support in resourcing and managing their multilingual contact centre requirements – including Ford Credit Europe.
If you’d like to find out more about our ability to recruit multilingual talent for the contact centre industry, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me directly on Andrew.Derrick@manpower.co.uk.
To learn more about Manpower and its work with Contact Centres click here