Industry Commentary

Cloud CX a Major Threat to the Multilingual Hub

By October 28, 2020January 10th, 2024No Comments

Without a doubt, CX delivery has undergone significant changes in 2020.  The omnipresent pandemic has altered every facet of commercial and personal dealings, and the customer management space is unlikely to ever be the same. Among the most vulnerable established business models is the multilingual hub, upon which many BPO providers have doubled down as a means of servicing different groups of consumers from a central point.  Enterprise CX executives are embracing the advent of homeworking in the face of the multilingual hub’s operational limitations. This, in turn, is enabling a new and potentially unlimited distributed approach facilitated by cloud technology.

Clearly, multilingual hubs have been an important legacy component in servicing consumers.  Over the past 20 years, Dublin, Barcelona, Lisbon, Warsaw, Cyprus, Kuala Lumpur and Cairo, among others, emerged as key liguistically-diverse delivery sites.  The rationale for multilingual hubs is straightforward and logical – house as many speakers of different languages as possible in contact centers located in an urban area where real estate is cost effective, foreign-language talent is abundant, and network connectivity is strong.  Ideally, the economies of scale associated with this approach should provide the operator with significant cost savings versus running multiple contact centers in different countries, which in some cases may contain only a small number of agents.

However, the multilingual hub model has been under strain in recent years.  Much of this has to do with the ability to source linguistic talent at scale in order to drive operational value. Competition among outsourcers in many of these cities has bid up prices for multilingual agent wages.  This dynamic has led many players to recruit from abroad. Invariably though, they end up spending large sums on travel and temporary housing for out-of-country recruits.

This is where the cloud CX model comes into play.  Over the past decade, the advance of home-based working has been increasingly apparent; the crescendo of virtual agent deployments in the past seven months has validated this approach to non-facilities based customer management.  Now, the next generation of cloud CX solutions provides a clear pathway toward a potential alternative for multilingual deployments.

Using a virtualized technology platform, an outsourcer can bring together a sizable pool of home-based agents with different language skills.  This vastly expands the map of potential recruits.  It is also cost-effective.  No longer will recruitment take on the form of an auction among outsourcers for the best agents with linguistic skills to work in a contact center facility.  Rather, providers can select from a larger pool of talent, one that is not restricted to a single urban center.  No need for flying-in and housing agents – they need only work from their home location using a cloud solution.  If cloud is properly leveraged, the multilingual hub could soon wither.

All of this has not been lost on forward-looking members of the outsourcing community.  Teleperformance’s Cloud Campus, TTEC’s Humanify, OneTeam by Sykes and Alorica’s Alorica Anywhere: these are just a few examples of BPO cloud CX proactiveness and provides a distributed access to multilingual talent.  The Solv solution by Concentrix and LiveXchange’s platform takes this cloud approach to a new level by incorporating gig working. By contrast, providers that rely exclusively on the traditional hub model for multilingual work need to move quickly if they are to remain competitive with their cloud-enabled competition.