11 Mar
min to read

How To Choose Your Customer Service Outsourcing Partner: Quick Checklist

Written by

Andrii Panteleinko

Chief Commercial Officer at EverHelp
Linkedin profile

Andrii is a senior business leader who helps companies build stronger growth, go-to-market strategies and great teams. Known for bringing new insights, best practices, digital technology, and strategy together in order to achieve high-impact results

Many EverHelp clients come to us scared about outsourcing partnerships, worried a remote team won't grasp their brand or deliver the care their customers deserve. The thought of a costly mistake looms large, especially considering the time invested in selection and integration. And it’s reasonable to have such fears.

Unlike other articles, we're not here to tell you “one-size-fits-all” tips. We understand unique business needs, and that's why we've drawn on our years of experience helping businesses like yours find the perfect customer service outsourcing partner.

This guide will equip you with the critical things to check (with actionable expert tips) to confidently navigate the selection process, ensuring you choose a customer service outsourcing company that aligns seamlessly with your business goals and customer needs. Also, you’ll find a list of red flags to watch out for to avoid costly mistakes.

Before you hire an outsourcing partner: Know your customer challenges & support needs

To choose your perfect outsourcing partner, you need to first know your specific goals and needs. For instance, we at EverHelp offer multilingual and omnichannel support options, but if your customers are mainly from English-speaking countries and all prefer the same language, you can save lots of money by mentioning that at the beginning, since there is no need to pay for extra services.

Know answers to these questions about your customers

Knowledge about customers to concentrate on
  1. Can you categorize the top 3-5 most frequent types of requests your customers have for your support team (e.g., technical issues, billing questions, order tracking)?
  2. Do customer requests fluctuate throughout the year? Are there specific times with higher volumes or more complex issues?
  3. Are there any specific needs required for your customers, such as multilingual support?
  4. How do your customers prefer to be contacted for support (e.g., phone, email, live chat)?
  5. What are your current support hours? Do your customers need extended or 24/7 support?
  6. What is your current customer satisfaction rating for support? What is your target level for improvement after outsourcing?

Compile a list of must-haves and nice-to-have things

Based on your customer research, business needs, and other unique critical factors, it’s recommended to have an explicit list of things divided into sections

Section 1: Must-have things (things that your potential partner should have, which are critical for your business and your clients)

Section 2: Nice to have things (things that are good to have, but they are not the priority; let’s be realistic—it’s almost impossible to find a partner that meets both all the necessary criteria and extras, especially if you are on a limited budget)

Here’s an example of how the list can look like (be as specific as possible!):

 list of must-haves and nice-to-have things example

Remember - this is just an example. Customize your list based on your unique priorities. Carefully weigh “must-haves” against “nice-to-haves” to find the best fit for your business.

❓FAQ: What if I don’t know my current customer support needs and don’t have enough expertise to learn them?

Even if you're unsure of the exact support model you need, a good outsourcing partner can guide you through the process. In some cases, it works even better since both you and your outsourced team become synchronized strategic partners who explore, create, and test different support strategies.

7 Most critical things to check when choosing your perfect customer support outsourcing partner

So, based on the experience of working with different B2C and B2B companies, here're the key things our customers prioritize when choosing a trusted customer support partner.

Social proofs and successful outsourcing examples

Never rely just on a company's website (yes, even if you decide to start cooperating with us :) 

Look for real-world validation of their services. Here are a few options:

Seek Recommendations: Reach out to your network and ask for referrals from businesses that have successfully outsourced customer support. Also, a quick tip is to use LinkedIn smart filters. By typing customer service outsourcing, you can add the filter “1st connection” and see a list of companies that with your mutual connections.

Screenshot of Linked In customer support outsourcing search

Check case studies: Ask potential partners for case studies that showcase their work with clients similar to yours. This allows you to see their approach in action. Also, you can find case studies in a separate section on the company’s website. 

Test the support: Many outsourcing companies offer trial periods. Check if a company has a trial period, with support agents handling a few real customer inquiries to assess their quality.

Industry and client expertise

Review your potential client portfolio. Look for companies in similar industries or with comparable business models to yours. For instance, if you are a B2B SaaS company, look for how much experience working with SaaS customers a company has. Ask for specific strategies and nuances of providing support for SaaS customers—a dedicated partner will be happy to share expertise during the onboarding call if the company is confident in the industry.

❓ FAQ:  How about the years of experience?

💡Expert tip: It makes sense to pay attention to relatively young vendors. If they already have 10+ clients, they have established good processes and sufficient expertise. However, their services will be more budget-friendly than those of the market giants. The advantage of such companies is also that they focus heavily on quality and try very hard.

Communication channel expertise

If a multichannel approach is a must-have on your checklist, pay close attention to their experience with various channels (email, chat, calls, chatbots). Confirm their ability to handle your specific needs, including combining channels if required.

So what to do? 🤔  Make a list of your essential communication channels (email, chat, calls, social media) and prioritize them based on usage. During your initial conversations with potential partners, ask for specific examples of their experience with each channel.   Can they demonstrate success stories in industries similar to yours? Do they have the technology and training to seamlessly integrate these channels? 

Don't settle for generic answers. You need a partner who can handle the complexities of your specific communication needs.

Employee retention

This one is less obvious.

Investigate the outsourcing company's employee turnover rate. High turnover can negatively impact service quality and customer satisfaction. Look for signs of a positive work environment (e.g., retention rates and employee referral programs).

For example, at Everhelp, the retention rate is 94%, and 30% of the people we hire are referrals. Obviously, people like working with us; they note the exceptional attention and care from managers towards them as individuals and their work. Such stability in staff allows us to focus on deep and quality customer service, rather than firefighting with hiring.

Scaling opportunities

If you know that your business will grow, make sure to check that with your potential outsourcing partner. Also, you can rely here on your partner’s expertise as well to anticipate scaling opportunities and plans from their side right from the kickoff moment with the business. Before making a commercial offer, you must ensure that your partner can meet your scaling needs.

Quote from Ruslana Dubchak 1

Technology adoption

A good outsourcing company will stay up-to-date on the latest AI advancements in customer support.

Assess their openness to modern technologies like AI-powered chatbots for basic inquiries, self-service portals for order tracking and troubleshooting, and sentiment analysis tools to better understand customer needs and improve service delivery. This ensures a future-proof approach to customer support.

The suggested tools to pay attention to ask about are:

  •  Chatbots & Virtual Assistants for 24/7 support (and high-season management)
  • AI-powered sentiment analysis to analyze customer satisfaction
  • E-commerce return & exchange automation
  • AI-powered fraud detection
  • AI-powered tailored answers to automate the process  

Security policies

Security should be a top priority when choosing a customer support outsourcing partner, to handle sensitive customer data. Data breaches and leaks can have devastating consequences, damaging customer trust and potentially leading to financial penalties. 

To ensure your data is secure, investigate the outsourcing company's security policies and compliance certifications. Ask about their data encryption practices, access controls, and incident response procedures. Look for certifications like SOC 2 or PCI DSS, which demonstrate their commitment to data security best practices. 

Don't hesitate to request a detailed document outlining their security protocols for peace of mind. Also, ask about their internal team security education and workshops. The dedicated partners would have that in place.

Here’s an example of how we handle security at EverHelp:

security policies at everhelp

Quality control metrics

How will your potential partner handle customer support quality metrics? Does it have its own internal quality control specialist who monitors the vendor’s work and tracks metrics? These are just a few questions to ask before signing a contract with your potential outsourcing partner.

You want to ensure your partner implements a strategy that prioritizes the alignment of your team with the genuine needs and feedback of your customers. By tracking essential indicators such as response times, satisfaction scores, first contact resolution, and specialized metrics like refund and chargeback rates, your customer support team can constantly improve, enhancing the customer journey. 

This isn't just a must-have step—it's a commitment to elevating the customer experience to new heights. At Everhelp, for instance, we have a very strong quality control team that creates scorecards tailored to each business. However, the possibility of constant alignment with an in-house person from our client's company greatly influences the result.

Quote from Ruslana Dubchak 2

Bonus: Red flags to avoid for successful outsourcing partnerships

Finding the perfect customer support partner feels like online dating – you want a good match, not a mismatch waiting to happen. Here's a red flag checklist to help you navigate the selection process:

List with red flags

Red Flag #1: A partner acts like the one who knows better what you need

Beware of potential partners who don't engage in a thorough needs assessment. If a partner doesn’t ask many questions about your buyer persona, business goals, customer expectations, and/ or tone of voice, it’s a dead end. A proactive and inquisitive partner will delve deeply into your business model, customer base, and specific support requirements. They're not just selling a service; they're building a tailored strategy for you.

Red Flag #2: The one-size-fits-all pitch

Does your potential partner push customer support as a mandatory add-on, regardless of your specific business model? Maybe you're a B2B niche company where personal account managers are the key. A good partner recognizes this and works with you to find the best solution, even if it means not outsourcing at all!

For instance: Super complex products, like those in the gambling industry, require tight control over information and employee vetting.  Outsourcing such customer support, with its inherent need for data sharing and potentially less-stringent security protocols, might be a gamble you shouldn't take.

Quote from Ruslana Dubchak 3

Red Flag #3: Promising extremely low pricing

Unbeatable pricing can be tempting, but remember, you often get what you pay for.  Extremely low quotes might suggest cutting corners on training, technology, or employee benefits. This translates to potentially higher turnover, lower quality service, and ultimately, unhappy customers. Again, if you want to save money, look for small and new companies that already have 10+ success cases instead of industry giants. 

Red Flag #4: A potential partner ignores or responds slowly to your messages

Clear and consistent communication is vital. Watch out for partners who are slow to respond, vague in their answers, or struggle to articulate their capabilities.  Remember, they'll be the voice of your brand, so effective communication is non-negotiable.

Red Flag #5: A partner is an ambassador of the old-school approach to customer support

Today's customer support landscape thrives on innovation.  A partner stuck in the past, with limited experience in AI-powered tools or omnichannel support strategies, might not be able to keep pace with your evolving needs.

Red Flag #8: A partner doesn’t share many details about strategy and approach

Don't be afraid to ask for transparency! A reputable partner will readily share details about their team structure, employee turnover rates, and security protocols.  If they're hesitant to provide this information, it's a red flag for potential hidden problems.

Final advice: Choose ambassadors rather than just customer support outsourcing

By following the above mentioned steps, you'll be well-equipped to choose a customer support outsourcing partner who seamlessly integrates with your business and elevates your customer experience.

The final (and quite inspiring) piece of advice is to look for people who are excited about your business and customer service. Those who will be an advocate for your client and who will rejoice in your successes. Such ambassadors of your business will work above expectations, as they cannot do otherwise. If, during the first meeting, you notice that your potential partner is not like this - run away.

Ready to find your perfect match? Sign up for a free demo call with EverHelp today! Our experienced team will assess your needs, showcase our capabilities, and answer any questions you may have.  We're confident we can be the trusted partner you need to deliver exceptional customer support.


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