Strategies for Keeping Customer Contact Centres in New Zealand

There’s no doubt about it. Contact centers are core to a business’ success, and a key part to improving customer experience.

When you create a P&L for a contact centre, you’re on track to eroding the customer experience. The 2023 Contact Centre Industry Research Report showed that 16% of New Zealand’s contact centres are partly or fully offshore. Yes, offshoring has a cost-benefit. But, the downside is that you start to lose local knowledge, and cultural understanding. The result is a diminished customer experience. Industry leaders argue that contact centers are profit centers; not cost centres. Why? Because they contribute more fully to a business’s success by enhancing the customer experience.

The Importance of Local Knowledge in Customer Service

While having an onshore team is beneficial in many ways, it’s even more important in specific scenarios. Onshore contact centers typically have the upper hand in the following areas:

  1. Handling complex inquiries: Local agents understand local norms and business practices well. They are better equipped to handle complex or sensitive customer inquiries that require a nuanced approach.
  2. During product launches: Onshore contact centers offer real-time support and detailed product info to customers. This help is crucial during new product launches. At these times, quick issue resolution and fast feedback are key.
  3. Crisis management: In a company crisis or PR issue, onshore agents can give quick and culturally sensitive responses. These are critical for safeguarding a brand’s reputation.
  4. Technical support for specialized products: When offering support for technical products, local agents often understand the technical details better. These details are important to customers in their own country.
  5. Services for the elderly: Older customers may prefer speaking to someone from their own cultural background and language. They benefit a lot from onshore centers, where agents are more tuned to their needs and styles.
  6. High-end service products: Premium brands or services promise great customer care. They often find that onshore contact centres keep the brand’s high standards better.
  7. Healthcare services: For healthcare-related inquiries where understanding local healthcare systems and privacy laws are crucial, onshore agents are inherently more knowledgeable and compliant.
  8. Banking and finance: In sectors like banking, customers discuss sensitive financial information. Onshore centers instill a sense of trust – especially by knowing local financial laws and speaking the native language.
  9. During peak business hours: Onshore centers operating in the same time zone can manage sudden surges in call volume more effectively during local peak hours.
  10. Cultural events and promotions: For promotions tied to local events, onshore centers are better positioned when using culturally relevant messaging and support.

These scenarios show the strategic advantage of using onshore contact centers. Local knowledge, prompt support, and cultural understanding play critical roles in delivering great customer service.

The Growing Emphasis on Te Reo Māori in New Zealand

Historically, Te Reo Māori has been underrepresented in commercial settings. Now, it’s seeing a revival due to governmental policies and a growing public interest in Māori culture and language. This sets the stage for its integration into more public and private sector operations. Contact centres are uniquely positioned to play a part in these revival efforts.

Integrating Te Reo Māori allows contact centres to connect deeply with customers who value cultural engagement. Additionally, using Te Reo in everyday business settings also familiarises non-Māori speakers with the language. This can be as simple as incorporating Te Reo into our day-to-day communication, in the way we refer to places, businesses, and departments.

This cultural shift also poses an opportunity for iwis and contact centres to work together to establish businesses specifically dedicated to addressing this need.

The Changing Role of Technology in Contact Centres

Looking ahead, contact centre are set to become even more technologically advanced. With AI and automation technologies taking over more routine tasks, the role of the contact centre agent is even more important. There is a growing need for skill development in areas like digital literacy, complex problem-solving, and emotional intelligence. Training programs now focus on these areas, helping agents shift from being information providers to being more like customer engagement specialists.

The integration of AI and human intelligence will deepen, with technologies like machine learning, natural language processing, and robotics playing a larger role. These advancements will further revolutionise customer service, making it more proactive, personalised, and efficient.

Strategic Benefits of Keeping Contact Centres Local

Keeping contact centres local offers several strategic benefits:

  1. Enhanced Customer Experience: Local agents are better equipped to understand and solve customer problems. They have cultural empathy and the right contextual knowledge.
  2. Brand Loyalty: Businesses that invest in customer service are often perceived as more trustworthy. This enhances customer retention and loyalty.
  3. Economic Benefits: Investing locally supports the domestic economy by building a skilled workforce. This workforce is more attuned to the local market’s nuances and needs.
  4. Agility and Responsiveness: Local centers can quickly adapt to market or customer changes. This is crucial in fast sectors like retail and telecom.

The value of keeping contact centres in New Zealand cannot be overstated. We must continue seeing contact centers as investments in customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

By combining modern technology, AI, and local knowledge, we can set new standards in customer service – not only in New Zealand; but globally also. The choice to keep and invest in local contact centres is not just a business decision. It’s a strategic need. It can define the future of customer relationships in a culturally rich, and diverse market.


Elias Kanaris
CEO, Contact Centre Network New Zealand (CCNNZ)

Mobile: 021-615-449


Contact Centre Network New Zealand (CCNNZ) was established in April 2009 by Contact Centre professionals, created and nurtured by a group of dedicated Contact Centre professionals. Our community thrives on collaboration, shared knowledge, and the mutual goal of elevating customer contact standards across industries.

At CCNNZ, we are unwavering in our commitment to promoting excellence in every customer interaction. We believe every call, email, or chat presents an opportunity to create a positive impact, and we strive to empower our members to make the most of these interactions.

We serve as a dynamic network dedicated to inspiring, engaging, and connecting customer contact professionals from various fields and backgrounds. Through this network, we facilitate a vibrant exchange of ideas, strategies, and best practices, all aimed at enhancing the skills and knowledge of our members.

More Blogs

Why and How AI and The Contact Centre Sector are an Opportunity for Job Seekers
The New Zealand contact centre industry is an opportunity for unemployed amid civil ...
Read More
contact centre operator in a training environment
On the cutting edge of AI, contact centre sector needs more people
Not only is the New Zealand contact centre industry offering a lifeline to ...
Read More
Image of Headset near a laptop depicting a work from home environment
Staff Call Time on ‘Work From Home’ Trend
The New Zealand Contact Centre industry is calling for staff to return to ...
Read More
mount eggmont in new zealand
Strategies for Keeping Customer Contact Centres in New Zealand
There’s no doubt about it. Contact centers are core to a business’ success, ...
Read More
Image of a man working in a contact centre
Prioritising Customer Experience in New Zealand Contact Centres
By Elias Kanaris, CEO of CCNNZ. I believe it’s time to challenge the ...
Read More
Woman on hold on the phone near her laptop
Kiwis Can Endure to be on hold, So Long as Their Problem is Sorted?
Kiwis are more likely to put up with wait times for their calls ...
Read More