By Sean Goforth, Director of Syndicated Research at Ryan Strategic Advisory
Europe’s major economies are tottering near recession. Yet, 3rd quarter US GDP growth far surpassed estimates coming in at 4.9% on an annualized basis. Certainly, the American job market remains strong, defying the doomsayers’ calls for contraction. But then again, there’s China—who knows the real strength of its economy.
For much of the past year, things have felt uncertain no matter where in the world you lived. As one might expect, this angst has infused CX budgets. Over half of CX enterprise decision-makers expect their budgets to remain flat during 2024, according to the latest Ryan Strategic Advisory Front Office CX Omnibus Survey.
Moreover, within this tight-fisted budget environment, many firms are trying to prioritize investment in artificial intelligence (AI), even if they are unsure how generative AI will deliver measurable value.
But not all operators are similarly befuddled. In recent years, Teleperformance has embraced high value services that stand apart from its traditional CX offerings, both as a means of exploring growth opportunities in higher margin verticals and to help diversify its revenue base. As a result, today Teleperformance’s Specialized Services see the combination of uncertain economic growth and dramatic technological change as an opportunity to deliver customized solutions across an array of niche verticals.
Teleperformance’s Specialized Services division encompasses five different businesses:
- PSG Global Solutions — a recruitment process outsourcing and employee screening organization
- Health Advocate — a healthcare advocacy and navigation business devoted to employees of client companies in the US
- LanguageLine Solutions — on-demand interpretation and translation with coveted certifications and industry-leading training standards
- Alliance One — an accounts receivable management operator focused on consumer debt collection in the US market
- TLScontact — a travel visa processing outsourcer with sites in over 160 countries
Teleperformance executives detailed the Specialized Services offering in a webinar for industry analysts. What stands out about the five business lines is their autonomy, while still delivering solutions and services to enable complementary growth for Teleperformance overall. LanguageLine has been providing translation services for over 40 years. Today it offers language solutions in over 240 languages, with around two-thirds of its linguists located outside of the United States.
Health Advocate, meanwhile, distinguishes itself in the burgeoning telemedicine space with HIPAA and other credentials and a 100% Stateside workforce. (Overall, enterprise clients are dealing with regulatory uncertainty in healthcare and insurance by tacking toward nearshore partnerships instead of offshore delivery. Many readily confess they would prefer the sort of domestic delivery that Health Advocate offers.)
TLScontact sees its growth coming from ex-US markets by monitoring a host of tourism-related trends, some quite small but nonetheless promising, including an upsurge of Australian university students seeking visas to study abroad in Africa.
Still, Teleperformance Specialized Services share a few things in common. The businesses were all early adapters of AI. Perhaps more revealing is that Teleperformance uses its own services: When Health Advocate needs interpreters LanguageLine’s linguists step in; pre-screened candidates by PSG Solutions are used to fill openings around the world for Teleperformance agents.
Each of the businesses also provides clients with a “proof document.” Produced annually and updated on a semiannual basis, the LanguageLine document, for example, breaks down key language capacities and process metrics. In 2022, the company recorded over 60 million calls, a 21% increase over previous year volumes. Remarkably, requests for video contacts were filled after just 24 seconds on average. Wait times for Spanish-language video calls were filled in 20 seconds, on average, while video requests for American Sign Language were filled in 26 seconds.
Across the Specialized Services businesses, advanced technology and the cross-business synergies exist to facilitate two major benefits.
First, it allows the businesses to quickly take advantage of unmet demand in high-value niches. For US-centric Alliance One, this means growing opportunities to help educate consumers and devise workable solutions for those on stretched budgets. Amid the recent sting of rising interest rates for certain consumer segments, EVP of Operations at AllianceOne, Erez Fishman said, “We’re ready.” Sure enough, just days after the webinar, Bloomberg reported that Americans were falling behind on auto payments at the highest rate since 1994.
Second, instead of whizzbang technology for its own sake, the businesses are unified by the notion of using AI and other leading tech to make the skills of the human agent more quickly accessible. As Suzanne Franks, Chief Marketing Officer at LanguageLine, says, “For us, technology exists to showcase the empathy that only a human can deliver.”
Just as technology enables human empathy, Teleperformance’s resources aim to enhance the growth of its businesses. And thanks to that autonomy, the Specialized Services businesses are poised to capture complementary and diverse growth opportunities, even in a multi-speed global economy.