TSP • @myTSPnet
In today's business environment, it's not enough to simply sell an outstanding product or offer a useful service. Customers will always have issues and questions to resolve. Managing these issues drives long-term success, as 70% of consumers' purchasing decisions change based on how they feel a company is treating them.
Maintaining an effective and consistent customer service system can eat up a huge portion of a business's time, money, energy, and manpower. For many businesses, customer service outsourcing can save on costs and improve the overall customer experience.
WHAT IS CUSTOMER SERVICE OUTSOURCING?
Outsourcing your business's customer service means hiring a third-party company to answer customer questions and address complaints. One reason customer service is so difficult to manage in-house is that customer communication can come from a variety of different places:
- Telephone calls to a customer support phone number
- Emails to a customer support email address
- Questions directed at a company's account on social media platforms
- Online chat features on a company website
- A support ticket system on a company website
A third-party customer service vendor can handle all these avenues with consistency and skill. Inconsistent customer service can be costly, as customers will have a negative perception of the company if an overwhelmed service representative misses their message.
Today, businesses have many choices when it comes to customer service outsourcing. You can choose from partners based in many different countries around the world for the best language and culture fit. You can also choose to share an outsourced customer service team with other companies or retain a private customer service team exclusive to your company. You can even pay an outsourced team by the hour. These different options affect costs, so it's important to tailor an outsourcing strategy to your business's individual needs.
HOW DOES CUSTOMER SERVICE OUTSOURCING WORK?
Customer service companies handle demanding tasks such as hiring, training and performance reviews for you. However, it's still important to communicate well with an outsourcing company and have specific goals in mind for your customer service experience.
First, make sure you have written and consistent protocols surrounding refunds, returns and other customer complaints. A document answering common product or brand questions is also a valuable customer support tool for the outsourcing company of your choice.
Outsourcing companies interact with customers while posing as your brand, so they must know and understand your brand voice as well. For example, a company that sells complex technology benefits from a more specific and neutral brand voice in customer communications than a makeup or lifestyle brand. A reputable customer service outsourcing company should ask for a written overview of your brand voice and style guidelines.
Once your outsourced customer support system is in place, the third-party vendor should reach out with customer service data regularly. Customer Satisfaction Scores show how happy customers are with your brand's service through post-interaction surveys. Another important data point is the Customer Effort Score, which asks customers if it was easy or difficult to get the information they required. A third-party vendor can keep track of this data for you, saving even more time and energy.
WHICH TYPES OF BUSINESS CAN OUTSOURCE CUSTOMER SERVICE?
Customer service outsourcing can benefit a wide range of businesses. Today, 54% of companies have outsourced support teams. These include consumer brands, hotels, e-commerce outlets, hospitals, banks, technology companies and even brick-and-mortar retailers.
Small businesses, medium businesses and startups are particularly good candidates for third-party customer service solutions. Building a business and fielding streams of customer questions at the same time is a challenge, and simply putting customer service on the back burner is not an option.
Smaller companies must maintain a positive reputation among consumers and on the internet. Since a dedicated and well-staffed in-house customer service team can cost tens of thousands a month, outsourcing is a cost-saving solution that doesn't compromise on quality.
WHAT ARE THE PROs AND CONs OF CUSTOMER SERVICE OUTSOURCING?
Customer service outsourcing has advantages and disadvantages that heavily depend on your business's individual customer service needs.
The main advantage of outsourcing is cost. Customer service vendors benefit from increased volume and advanced cost-cutting methods. These allow vendors to offer high-quality customer service departments at a fraction of the cost of maintaining a department in-house.
Vendors can also offer higher quality customer service in many cases. Dedicated teams can operate phone lines or online chats 24/7, which is not usually possible with in-house customer service. Specialized training programs and frequent quality checks can also boost customer satisfaction and the reputation of your company.
Partnering with a third-party vendor always carries a degree of risk. Like any business, customer service outsourcing companies can fail or be the target of a data breach. Some vendors are also more reputable than others, so thoroughly vet any potential partner companies.
One consideration unique to customer service is product knowledge. Many outsourcing companies can do well with intensely technical products and customer support, but ultimately, you will always know your company and product best. Creating a detailed guide for representatives and communicating frequently with a customer service vendor can help create a more seamless experience.
Running a customer service department is a massive time, energy and cost investment. Many businesses appreciate outsourcing not only for the cost benefits but also for the reduced mental load. Third-party customer service vendors can be valuable partners with experience that can help a new business level up its customer support strategies.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND EXPERT HELP WITH CUSTOMER SERVICE OUTSOURCING AND OTHER OUTSOURCING STRATEGIES?
Staffing challenges affect businesses across every industry, and outsourcing solutions are more customizable than ever before. With modern tools such as work from home technology, AI and cloud integration becoming essential fixtures in the workplace, it helps to have qualified staffing and IT experts in your corner.
At TSP, we're committed to finding customizable and scalable solutions for staffing, IT and outsourcing across industries. Contact us to learn more about customer service outsourcing and other cost-saving outsourcing strategies.