Outsourced customer support has become a staple in the IT industry. With so many talents all around the world, it’s easier than ever to choose versatile and skilled teams for projects. Through customer care outsourcing, companies reap numerous benefits and improve their customer relations. No more geographical constraints!
In this piece, we want to share our specialized outsourced IT support knowledge with you, and approach the topic with nuance and understanding. Firstly, we’ll give you a general idea of what customer support outsourcing is. Then, we’ll explore outsourcing pros and cons. Finally, we’ll get to what you should expect when outsourcing customer support.
This material will help you in navigating your support journey, maybe even help you find the most suitable customer care strategy for your business.
What is customer service outsourcing?
Customer service outsourcing is a process during which a company hires a third party, either a company or a freelance contractor, to handle customer care (tickets, calls, chats, etc.) on their behalf.
This external support can help businesses create better, more specialized customer care. Want to improve benchmarks? Wish to offer support in more languages? Are you growing so fast that your in-house support team is overwhelmed? These and many other questions can be resolved through customer service outsourcing companies.
Historically, outsourcing has been a practice of big business. It emerged in the 1950s, mainly for manufacturing companies, while outsourcing of business operations, in particular, became popular only in the late 1980s. Today, outsourcing is a common practice. Whole teams and departments can be spread around the world.
It’s also important to highlight that outsourcing isn’t only for large corporations. Small business customer service outsourcing is becoming more and more prominent too. Many choose to opt-in for talented support agents overseas. A small business may hire a single agent, who is managed by an outsourcing company and covers all of their needs.
Advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing customer service
Customer service outsource is a good strategy for businesses in reducing costs and in offering flexible support options. Moreover, it gives access to talented managers and agents from outside, bringing a fresh perspective to a company.
Some, however, may find outsourcing unfitting with their company values. That’s ok too! One might look at the disadvantages of customer service outsourcing as a pointer towards
process improvement or avoidance of the most common pitfalls.
Regardless, knowing what to expect from customer support outsourcing will help you in making the right decision.
According to research published by Deloitte, about 70% of companies state cost reduction as the main reason to outsource. Sure thing – setting up, training, and running an in-house customer service department can be quite costly. Especially when it comes to busier seasons or holidays. Fixed support outsource costs make financial planning more predictable, while still offering a high level of service.
Coverage and flexibility
Full-week coverage makes a company more competitive in the markets, where customer satisfaction is defined by the quality of their interactions and the length of the waiting times. Outsourcing gives companies access to a unique pool of employees, which means improved skill sets and language proficiency. Moreover, having agents work in different time zones ensures 24/7 coverage.
Improving company’s focus
Managing a department is an intricate process, requiring many specialists who guarantee it runs smoothly. Switching the focus towards establishing a support team from scratch could pull the company away from its key focus of providing the best product or service they can. Customer outsourcing companies take customer support off business shoulders. Focus on the things you enjoy through delegating operational tasks.
As compared to in-house customer service, having a team abroad or in a different state is a challenge of its own. You must be willing to trust your vendor or partner to keep your best interests in place.
Need for communication
Tightly connected to the previous point – talking through expectations, questions or arising issues is always a good idea. Choose communication channels that work for you, enforce structure and implement well-made reporting. This will help in making sure everybody on the team is on the same page.
A professional customer support company can help you navigate the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing, and find the best solution to decrease the possible issues arising from the long-distance collaboration.
The right way to outsource customer support
Outsourcing looks like an interesting option, doesn’t it? With plenty of customer service outsource companies, it’s easy to get both excited to explore and overwhelmed with not knowing where to start. Worry not – our guide is here to help. Let’s get into it: how to outsource customer support and successfully utilize this strategy in your business.
Define your success
The steps we talk a lot about in our blog are goals and purpose. A clear understanding of why your business needs an outsourcing solution is crucial to pinpointing the right decision. The type of customer service you require, your product, and your customer base will also play a role in this.
For instance, if you position as an all-American business, outsourced customer service abroad might be a confusing choice for your customer, and undermine your general strategy. However, outsourcing to another company within the US might work. In another example, if you are a business looking to expand to a new location, having a support representative from that very country might help you create trusting relationships with prospective buyers.
Be clear and honest about your benchmarks and definitions of success both within your company and with your outsourcing partner.
Select the right vendor
Needless to say, take your time when making a decision to work with another company long-term. We differentiate three main criteria to consider: location, culture, and expertise.
First things first, you should think about the location of your outsourced team. Are you looking for international or domestic collaboration? The choice would depend on a few factors, including which languages you need. If your customers come mostly from US and EU countries, you might want to search for specialists in Ukraine, Portugal, Hungary. If you are looking for support for Asian markets, think Philippines or India.
Consider the cultural aspect too. Since you’ll be spending quite some time with the team, examine how well their country and company cultures blend with yours.
A common piece of advice is reaching out to famous customer support companies and checking out their plans. This can be a good first step, however, it is likely not the best idea for everybody. Frequently, smaller outsource players can offer a more personalized hand-crafted experience.
What you should especially pay attention to when choosing a customer support outsourcing vendor are case studies with industries similar to yours. Case studies and reviews are indicators of expertise in the field or familiarity with your industry. The company must have a good understanding of your niche in order to be a thriving part of your team.
Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of testing a few outsource companies you like. Offer short-term projects to determine which one feels like a right fit.
Invest into training
A step that many businesses overlook is training. Make sure that a team is familiar with your product, your company, and your vision. This will help in guiding the outsourced team in a direction towards a more coherent brand vision. Additionally, it will increase overall team performance too.
Depending on the company, you can delegate the training to an outsourced team manager or, alternatively, provide a learning resource from within your company.
Keep in touch
Since remote collaborations provide space for misunderstandings and misinterpretations, it’s essential to check on your team once in a while even after everything is established. It’s nice to hear feedback or simply communicate with coworkers. Hold meetings, discuss ideas and improvements, organize retrospectives after some time to grasp the value a team brings to your day-to-day operations. This also eliminates one of the disadvantages we discussed previously – lack of immediate supervision over the team.
How to outsource customer service the right way? Collaborations and partnerships with customer service outsource companies are unique in their own ways. Some prioritize having a friendly down-to-earth partnerships. Others are fond of companies that have well-established processes. By following a general set of rules and ideas and tweaking them as needed, a company will likely succeed in its outsourcing journey.
Remember that customer service outsource companies are an extension of businesses. They should work as seamless helpers, supporting clients’ operations and needs.
Outsourcing with EverHelp
At EverHelp, we create successful customer service experiences. Moreover, we believe in giving our clients and partners full control over customer support to make evidence-based actions and improve their customer engagement 24/7.
For companies that are new to outsourcing customer service, we provide full support in this journey and introduce them to all the right tools for creating a performance-oriented team. For those looking to switch to a new vendor, we offer unique perks and services, such as dedicated managers and comprehensive analytics.
Moreover, we offer a support bot as a part of all our packages. It provides day-to-day analytics and statistics on metrics that you wish to track. The main task of this bot is to give you full control over the team, down to a single agent.
Focus on your core business, while we take care of your customer support needs.
Get your quote today!