When to / Why to Outsource Customer Support
There’s more than one kind of outsourcing
Business Process Outsourcing is a big industry, generating $135 billion a year in revenue.
Companies outsource work of all types, not just customer service. (Perhaps your own company outsources payroll processing or health care services, for example). When there is work that can be done more efficiently or effectively by a third party, or you simply don’t have the staff or budget to hire a dedicated resource, outsourcing can be a cost-effective solution for businesses.
Outsourced support doesn’t have to mean super cheap, script-driven call centers. Other options are available that position themselves as remote partners or flexible extensions of your own team.
When outsourcing isn’t a good fit
Outsourcing is not appropriate in every situation.
1. Don’t outsource support just to lower costs
It is true that the per hour (or per customer interaction) costs will typically be lower than an internal hire. However, hiring small numbers of well-trained outsourced agents isn’t the cheapest possible option. The large very low cost BPOproviders are targeted at much larger companies with much higher volumes of repetitive support requests.
2. Don’t outsource to avoid thinking about customer service
Outsourcing isn’t a way to hand off support to someone else and wash your hands of it. A successful outsourcing arrangement is a partnership that requires work on both sides. Communicate regularly, continually train, review quality, and work with your external provider to get the most out of your investment in them.
The key to successful outsourcing
The experience your customers have when they come to you for help is a huge part of your company brand. So if you’re considering outsourcing some of that support, it’s vital to do it well.
1. Make sure you have buy-in from the top.
Making outsourcing work requires commitment — you can’t get the benefits without putting in the work to the partnership. If your executive team is only looking for lower costs, you may not have the time and resources needed for long-term success.
2. Don’t expect huge cost savings up front.
Yes, your per hour costs will be lower, sometimes significantly so. But this sort of support partnering is often more about adding flexibility while maintaining quality than it is about driving down costs.
3. Invest in your internal tools and systems.
It’s common for companies to have home grown tools that are unclear or create risk of data loss or compromise when used incorrectly. Audit the tools your internal team uses before allowing external access. And there are many tools avialbel in the marketplace that make the partnership much stronger!
4. Understand your voice and tone.
Your customers are used to the way you talk to them, whether in text, on the phone, or through your marketing. When you use a third-party support team, you want them to sound just like your internal staff does. That means you’ll need to be really clear in your training, give plenty of examples, and be prepared to work with your provider to help them really understand your approach. Find a partner that can demonstrate YOUR tone to your customers.
Ultimately, it is your customers who will judge your support effectiveness. If they are getting responsive, friendly, empathetic and effective help, then it won’t matter to them who they are talking to.
Find out why leading companies trust us to represent their brands. mindStart is a leading contact center / BPO (business process outsourcing) firm based and staffed in Austin, Texas. We seek to demonstrate the voice of our customer to provide the same level of service, with greater flexibility and functionality, as if we were in the HQ office. We work with some of the world’s leading brands such as Peak Design (peakdesign.com) Rachio (rachio.com), YPB (ypbsystems.com) Rolls Royce (rollsroyce.com) and Louis Vuitton (lvmc.com). Contact us to learn more.