If you are here, you probably already know how outsourcing customer service can save you costs, assist in scalability, and improve your focus on core activities (if not, check out a detailed article on reasons for outsourcing). In fact, 66% of businesses in the USA outsource at least one department, and 59% of them associate it with cutting costs significantly.
Either you’ve decided to outsource customer service to save costs, optimize the customer experience, scale, or for any other reason, you need to have a comprehensive strategy to succeed. It is the only way to avoid costly mistakes (and safety issues).
To help you choose the right partner for your needs and make customer service outsourcing process smooth, we’re going to share the red and green flags to consider and a step-by-step guide to walk you through successful outsourcing.
The discussed best practices for outsourcing that go beyond the surface-level advice that most articles discuss will help you understand how to hire a true partner, not “just a service.”
📎 Disclaimer: Although EverHelp offers customer support outsourcing, we did our best to make this guide not sales-y, but full of actionable advice you can apply to hire us or any other service. We’d rather have you choose the best customer support service for your needs than the best marketed one. 😉
When you entrust a third-party business to handle customer service on your behalf, you want to lower your overhead and make your company’s operations leaner. So, to be on the safe side and achieve your goals, you need to know about potential red and green flags to consider when hiring customer service outsourcing.
Considering the negative and positive signs above, here are the factors to consider when looking for your A-class outsourcing service:
Where are you right now? Before you can reach out to a partner, answer this question in detail. This step involves a thorough analysis of your existing operations, identifying areas for customer experience optimization, and setting clear goals for what you hope to achieve through outsourcing.
Here’s a list of questions to answer for a clearer picture:
Evaluating Current Performance:
Technology and Tools Assessment
Outsourcing Goals and Objectives
Once you have the answers to the previous questions, it’s time to determine the level of customer service you need to optimize the customer experience.
Note❗Most customer support providers don’t provide explicit pricing on pricing pages since it will depend on every business's specific needs. So you need to contact the company directly to get the estimated pricing for your cooperation.
The most important criteria to consider are the minimum performance metrics, cost-friendly policies, transparency and regularity in reporting, compliance with relevant data protection laws and industry-specific regulations, capacity to adapt to your company’s growth, and seamless integration.
Also, we recommend doing benchmarking exercises to get inspired by the best customer service examples and adapt their strategies to your needs.
Now, it’s time to launch the customer service outsourcing process and choose a partner that matches your organization’s values and goals.
We recommend creating a Google Sheets document to record all the information about potential partners and then choosing based on the comparison.
It can be something like this:
Research their reputation, experience, and client testimonials to get successful outsourcing examples.
Once you have all your potential partners gathered in one place, it’s easier to make a decision.
Ensuring clear and comprehensive outsourcing contracts is vital for a successful partnership. This contract sets the foundation for expectations, responsibilities, and how issues will be managed. For sure, we’re not legal experts, and you should consult here with legal counsel.
But based on our experience as an outsourcing company, we can recommend paying particular attention to a non-disclosure agreement (especially if sensitive information will be shared), a precisely outlined scope of work, dispute resolution and termination procedures, a detailed pricing structure and schedule, the liabilities of each party and any indemnification provisions.
After completing all previous stages and having a safe and sound outsourcing contract at hand, you are ready for the duty transition.
Success starts with a structured approach to transitioning workloads that ensures minimal disruption to your customer service operations and sets a solid foundation for your partnership with the outsourcing provider.
Establishing an effective customer service data analytics and tracking system for your outsourced customer service team is essential to ensuring high-quality service. Here’s how you can approach it:
Most important KPIs to include in customer support are response time, resolution rate, customer satisfaction scores, call abandonment rate, and first contact resolution. Depending on your business type and customer needs, you might also consider industry-specific KPIs or unique metrics that reflect your service standards.
To manage KPIs effectively, also consider:
By establishing clear KPIs, regularly reviewing performance, and maintaining an ongoing dialogue with your outsourcing partner, you can ensure that your outsourced customer service team aligns with your business objectives and consistently delivers high-quality service.
Tracking all these KPIs may sound overwhelming. If you want a shorter, essential piece of advice, here it is: always focus on customer satisfaction. Keep it as a central goal. Use the insights gained from feedback and call evaluations to improve the customer experience.
Prioritizing transparency in your partnership with an outsourced call center is crucial for maintaining trust and ensuring quality service without the need for constant oversight. That’s why this point deserved to be chosen as a separate step.
Establish clear and open lines of communication between your business and the outsourcing partner. Regular check-ups, updates, and discussions about ongoing operations should be standard.
Ensure that you have direct access to monitoring tools and dashboards. This enables you to independently review call quality, response times, and other relevant metrics whenever needed.
From the outset, clearly communicate your expectations regarding transparency and the level of quality you expect in customer interactions. Foster a collaborative relationship where feedback is welcomed and acted upon. This encourages both sides to maintain high standards and be open about their operations.
Collaboration and regular calibration are key to a successful long-term partnership with an outsourced call center. Here's how to effectively engage in this collaborative process:
By regularly collaborating and calibrating with your outsourced call center partner, you ensure that your customer service operations remain effective, efficient, and aligned with your business objectives.
❗ Remember to discuss with your partner and adjust regularly outsourcing customer service costs as business growth and duties increase. It will contribute to both external and internal motivation.
Hope that now you understand the tricky nuances of the customer service outsourcing process and how to walk through them with confidence.
Remember that most of this article's points apply to both parts. You employ an outsourcing partner to simplify customer service, reduce your workload, and deliver results for your money. So, in theory, a dedicated outsourcing partner will be pleased to take on at least half of these activities and initiate various improvements to optimize the customer experience.
At EverHelp, we train our representatives on customer support regularly. We are pleased to consult with customers on customer support strategies, provide tech solutions to track KPIs, and pledge transparency, quality, and alignment with your business's beliefs and goals.
For organizations outsourcing customer support, our expertise in building strong and successful customer service operations and our track record of exceeding partner expectations make us a great choice. Contact EverHelp today to see how we can improve your customer support and grow your business (while helping you follow every step in this article).