How to outsource customer service effectively
Looking to outsource the customer service department?
You are not alone. Almost 54% of all companies utilize third-party support teams to connect with customers.
Want to know an interesting fact?
The outsourced customer care services industry is set to become a $110 billion industry by 2024!
And it’s no surprise.
Outsourcing tasks is an appealing idea. It can save you money, resources, and often, a great deal of stress. Farming out your customer service to an external team can cut overheads significantly.
But it’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all solution and there are no magic outsourcing beans.
Planning to take the plunge with outsourcing, where an external company directly interacts with your customers?
Then weigh your options carefully.
What to expect from this article?
This article is a handy guide to help you decide if customer service outsourcing is the right choice for your business.
You’ll find some of the best practices for customer service outsourcing including:
- Identifying the right reasons to outsource
- Establishing a mindset for a successful transition process
- Choosing the right platform to conduct your customer support
- Finding remote customer service professionals and teams
- Conducting the transition process smoothly.
Let’s start with a fundamental question:
What is Outsourcing?
Choosing to outsource an area of your business means you’re hiring a third party to handle it on your behalf.
While this article focuses on outsourcing customer service, almost any part of a company can be outsourced, including graphic design, billing, collections, or data entry.
Ready to ship out support duties?
First, you need to figure out the objective and the benefits of outsourcing your customer support.
The ‘Right’ Reasons To Outsource your Customer Support
To Lower Operational Costs
Looking for the same quality of customer support, but at a lower cost?
Outsourcing your customer service staff is a good alternative to hiring a full-time support team.
Outsourcing allows you to hire contract workers rather than full-time employees. This means you don’t have to pay a fixed salary and offer benefits like healthcare, transportation costs, overtime, etc.
You can save around a total of $3000 in initial setup and infrastructure costs alone!
That’s close 25 years of Amazon prime subscription at current rates 🙂
Moreover, your workforce costs are further reduced if you outsource customer service to a country with a lower cost of living.
For example, the cost of living in India is 65.98% lower than that of the US. This means you can offer lower and more competitive rates to your outsourced customer service team based in India.
Unsure whether outsourcing customer service will generate savings for your business? Find out free of charge with Tru29’s Business Partnership Consultancy via firstname.lastname@example.org
To Increase Support Coverage Quickly
Some businesses like e-commerce might be busier during the holiday season.
So you might have to hire additional help to meet the higher customer support demands quickly.
If you choose to hire employees – the process of finding, interviewing, and training applicants can take a few weeks.
To Streamline Repetitive Tasks
Different customers might have the same query or run into the same problems.
Instead of trying to resolve the same issues over and over again, you and your team’s time is better spent on other projects. An outsourced customer support executive is a good option when the questions are not too technical.
To Scale Up Your Business
When your company is undergoing rapid changes and growth, you might not be able to focus on customer support.
This is the right time to outsource support to maintain responsive, high-quality service while figuring out the long-term goals of your company.
To Increase Global Coverage
Let’s say you want to increase the geographic reach of your business.
You will need to hire multilingual support employees that can communicate with your new customers effectively.
If you outsource this support requirement, you can easily advertise this feature to broaden your customer base.
The ‘Wrong’ Reasons To Outsource Your Customer Service
Outsourcing has been around since the internet age. However, there is still a large knowledge gap that gives rise to all sorts of myths and misconceptions.
Don’t fall into these pitfalls when deciding to switch to outsourced support teams.
To Exercise High Budget Cuts
While outsourcing can cut costs in the short run, it might affect your quality of service. Low-cost customer service providers are generally equipped to handle only repetitive support requests.
So they might not be well-equipped to handle highly-specific or technical requests.
To Avoid Support Responsibilities
Outsourcing isn’t a way to just get rid of customer support responsibilities. It’s a partnership that requires communication and hard work on both sides. If you leave your outsourced support team to fend for themselves, they might get disconnected from your brand. As a result, your customer support quality can drop at an alarming rate.
To Make A Quick Fix
Yes, customer service providers are experts, but don’t expect them to solve all your problems overnight! Delivering a great customer experience takes time, consistency, and planning. You may need to put in a lot of initial hours training your outsourced team.
Five Secrets To Flawless Customer Service Outsourcing
Before you even begin to search for external help, you need to create an action plan on how to achieve your customer service goals.
How do major companies ensure top quality customer service while outsourcing their staff?
Here are five secrets to efficient customer service outsourcing processes.
1. Establish Brand Voice And Tone Guidelines
Whether in a text, phone, or through your branding – your customers are used to the way you talk to them.
When you use an external support team, they should sound exactly like your internal support staff.
So how do you train your outsourced support team?
- Create a set of brand guidelines that specify what your team can or can not say.
- Run through hypothetical scenarios that they may have to face in the future and gauge their reaction to the situation.
- Make them watch Dilbert cartoons in a loop so that they know how to handle difficult people.
Okay, the last one might be a stretch but definitely the other two.
2. Research Multiple Options
You should spend a considerable amount of searching for viable customer service solutions.
Some call centers are great at handling high-volume or repetitive conversations, while others focus on in-depth situations.
You would have to consider the time differences, language needs, and the minimum support volume among other things.
3. Consider Legal and Security Risks
You need to review your internal security before you allow a third party to access your documents. Figure out which customer data is sensitive. You can then restrict access to certain information like credit card details, health records, etc.
Before you sign any binding contracts with the customer service provider, have your legal team review the documents.
4. Invest In Tools
Since you might need to communicate with your outsourced support team, you would need to use tools like Slack or Skype.
5. Set Aside Time for Training
No matter how busy your schedule, you would need to dedicate a large chunk of your time to train your team.
Why is training so important in customer service?
The quality of customer support can make or break your company.
After one negative experience, 51% of customers never do business with that company again!
Moreover, customers are 65% more likely to spread negative feedback because of a single poor service interaction.
All of this shows the importance of maintaining a high quality of customer service at all times.