Should Your Business Outsource Customer Service?
Should Your Business Outsource Customer Service?
It is essential for businesses to provide helpful customer support more than ever. Customers are becoming smarter and demanding faster response times across multiple channels. Having helpful timely responses to customer issues can make all the difference in retaining customers or losing them to competitors. However, a crucial decision needs to be made; should your business outsource customer service or keep it in-house?
Understanding Customer Service Outsourcing
Customer service outsourcing refers to the practice of contracting a third party service provider to handle customer inquiries, complaints and support on behalf of your business. These service providers can be located globally and offer a range of services, including phone support, chat assistance and email services.
Advantages of Outsourcing Customer Service
One of the reasons why businesses choose outsourcing is due to cost savings. Outsourcing can significantly reduce labor and operational expenses as you won’t have to hire and train an in-house
team. In some cases, you can save as much as 70% in labor costs.
Access to Expertise
Outsourcing companies specialize in customer service. Bring expertise along with tools and technologies that can enhance the quality of customer interactions.
Outsourcing gives your business the flexibility to scale up or down its customer service operations based on demand. This ensures that you don’t have staff during periods or insufficient staff, during peak times.
Focusing on your core competencies
By delegating customer service to experts your business can concentrate on its strengths, such, as product development and marketing while ensuring effective customer support.
Factors to Evaluate Prior to Outsourcing
Nature of Your Business
The decision to outsource should be influenced by the industry you operate in and the nature of your customer interactions. Certain businesses, like e commerce enterprises may find outsourcing advantageous than others.
Take into account your customers’ expectations. If they prefer support or have language preferences outsourcing might not be the most suitable option. They also might require answers 24 hours a day, and outsourcing your customer service to an outsourcing partner can definitely help you achieve that coverage.
Your budget significantly impacts this decision. Assess cost savings against compromises in quality but keep in mind that outsourcing is going to be severely more cost effective than hiring a local in-house team.
Make sure that any outsourcing partner you consider complies with all regulations particularly if your industry requires strict adherence to compliance standards.
Choosing the Right Outsourcing Partner
Research & Due Diligence
Conduct research on potential outsourcing partners. Review their track record, client testimonials and overall industry reputation. Request references from the outsourcing provider. Communicate with their clients to gauge their level of satisfaction.
Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
Establish SLAs that define expectations and hold the outsourcing partner accountable, for meeting performance metrics. The SLA’s can be modified as you grow with the outsourcing company you are working with, but define some baseline to work with in the beginning so you set your expectations up right.
Effective Communication Channels
Make sure that your chosen outsourcing partner has the ability to communicate effectively with your customers using a variety of channels, such, as telephone, email and live chat. It is mandatory that your outsourcing partner can write and speak English at a high level.
Implementing and Managing Outsourced Customer Service
Training and Onboarding
Invest in training and onboarding processes to ensure that the outsourced team fully grasps your brand values and customer service expectations. Make sure you spend the time getting your new support team up to your in-house team’s level so that there is no gaps in knowledge.
Regularly assess the performance of the outsourced team. Provide feedback to promote continuous improvement. Perform quality assurance tests and reviews of answered support interactions.
Encourage your outsourcing partner to contribute suggestions for enhancing customer service delivery fostering a culture of innovation and improvement. It is important that there is two-way communication to ensure that the outsourced support team feels as in-house as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Is outsourcing customer service a cost effective option?
Yes, generally speaking, outsourcing customer service is a cost effective option. Cost savings can be as high as 70% but it is crucial to consider quality as a factor as well.
2. What are the potential risks associated with outsourcing customer service?
Risks may include loss of control potential issues with quality, language barriers and concerns regarding data security.
3. How can I ensure that my outsourcing partner aligns with my brand values?
Clearly communicate your brand values and expectations from the outset when selecting an outsourcing partner who shares an ethos.
4. Which industries benefit most from outsourcing customer service?
Industries that handle high call volumes like e commerce and tech support often find benefits in opting for outsourcing solutions.
5. What occurs if the outsourcing collaborator fails to meet Service Level Agreements (SLAs)?
You need to establish solutions for circumstances which may include penalties or termination provisions.