Outsourcing any type of work is an attractive thought in theory. It can help you save resources, cash, and occasionally, a whole lot of pressure. Customer Service Outsourcing can cut overhead costs significantly, but there surely aren’t any magic outsourcing beans that will produce the perfect customer service solution for your business. Virtual customer service does not come in a one size fits all so it’s important to know who you’re trusting to take care of your customer’s needs.
Remember, it is vital that you weigh out your options, in case you are going to take the leap with any type of outsourcing where a third party will be interacting with your customers. Poor service will virtually ensure a mass migration of customers.
We designed this article as a practical guide for you and we will go over some of the best practices for client/customer service outsourcing to help you decide if this type of outsourcing is the appropriate choice for the business.
What’s Customer Service Outsourcing?
Deciding to outsource an area of your business simply means you’re hiring a third party to manage it on your behalf. While this article concentrates on outsourcing your customer service, almost any part of a business can be outsourced, including graphic design, billing, collections, or data entry. In the case that you are unfamiliar with outsourcing or have never tried it before, you will find that this post is exceptionally useful.
Should You Outsource?
A combination/mix of several factors can help decide/determine whether outsourcing your firm’s customer service will be a good move. Important factors include:
According to the volume of customer service your business manages, it might or might not be lucrative to hire an external firm to get it done for you. Estimate the price of creating your own customer service department and compare it with the price of outsourcing. Make sure you consider all variables, including rent prices or employee compensation (representative pay) and training, equipment and supply purchases, building, and benefits for your staff.
Another component to weigh is how customer service outsourcing will affect your day to day operations. Basically, think about who it’ll free up. Your time or that of your workers who may have talents in other areas that will benefit the business like working on bringing in more clients to increase revenue. Although, there are companies that not only offer customer service outsourcing but also outbound campaigns to help you gain new customers. If your customers are calling in with comprehensive questions that need skilled answers, you can train your new outsourced customer service team to handle each call scenario. So while you should look at the expenses of outsourcing, bear in mind to incorporate/include the gains in your choice.
Meeting Your Customer’s Needs:
If customers want a service that you can’t provide with resources that are current, it’s a hint that outsourcing customer service may be right for you. Do customers need assistance occasionally when your staff isn’t accessible? Is service required by customers at a volume your present staff cannot supply? With outsourcing, it is possible to get the quantity of service that fits your company at the times you need it. Many agencies offer 24/7 support, which may be too costly for some companies to provide in-house.
Process of Customer Service Outsourcing
Once you’ve determined that customer service outsourcing is right for you, it’s time to research your alternatives. Here’s a fast rundown of the different areas customer service outsourcing can help your business. It’s best that you find a company that can help with other areas of your business in addition to answer calls.
E-Mail support is usually a stake that is safe to outsource. Most customers are not going to anticipate an immediate turnaround and 24 hours is the current industry standard. This window provides ample time for representatives to study any problems that are needed and react to the customer’s question to provide a well-informed response. E-mail interaction also eliminated the most common consumer complaint about outsourced customer service, which is having trouble understanding the representative who assisted due to a possible language/accent barrier. Live chat support (or even sales) is a more prompt customer service function that can be offered by your outsourcing team.
Conventional call centers are another excellent choice , particularly if you have a high volume of customer interaction. It’s important to select the call center considerately if you use this method. Representatives are able to manage hundreds of inbound or outbound calls a day from various different firms, and worker turnover rates can also be an issue. Below, we provided suggestions to help you pick the appropriate call center.
In addition to conventional approaches, many businesses are handling concerns and customer service issues on Facebook or Twitter. It also enables customers to get a response fast without needing to wait on hold and to leave a message. Some businesses take a proactive approach, hunting for their company name to find grievances they could clear up. Since there are quite a few social media-specific outsourcing professionals, this can more often than not be handled by a third party.
What to Look for in a Customer Support Center
• If you’re contemplating a unique call center, find out who some of their customers are and do a test phone call as a customer asking a question. It’ll give you a real-world look at how your customer’s calls will be handled. It can also give you an idea of whether or not you want to employ the company to manage your customer service.
• Doing an online search for sites or forum posts that mention the facility’s clients may bring up consumer surveys and reviews that can give you an idea of their customer service expertise. Reviews will show you just how thorough your potential customer service center really is.
• We’ve all heard someone complain about attempting to work out an issue with a customer service representative who they couldn’t understand. It’s frustrating for both the representative and the customer when clear, powerful communication is not present. It’s very important that you research this aspect of the customer service center you are considering so that you are comfortable that your customers will not have language problems when calling in for an order, appointment, etc.
• Another method to optimize your customer service outsourcing experience, is to find a company that offers incentives to their customer service representatives. Some call centers supply a bonus to their workers when they’ve surpassed goal expectations. Some can even earn free lunches, gift cards, or a point reward system that lets workers cash points in for prizes. Any fun, competitive contest or reward tends to revitalize the staff’s morale and it encourages them to provide outstanding customer service to your customers. Why? Because they are happy and excited to work!
• Many companies set up a system that records some or all calls. The calls can then be reviewed on a regular basis, or whenever needed to confirm information. Monitoring calls also allows you to provide feedback to the manager about how you feel your calls are being handled. Call recordings have been known to help with resolving escalated customer service issues or for legal reasons and while most in-house customer service departments may not have this type of call system in place, outsourced customer service centers do. Another perk is that when call center employees know that each call is being recorded, it encourages them to provide outstanding service.
Making the Customer Service Outsourcing Transition
1. This may go without saying, but if you’ve decided to go with a big provider, for example, a call center, look closely at the contract. Don’t be afraid to propose changes or additions you require. The contract should contain conditions that permit you to discontinue the relationship, in addition to detailing what exactly is anticipated and how the venture will work. This may just be a period of time after, or may contain a set of quality standards that are concrete.
2. Make sure to read service level agreements as well, and consider whether they apply especially to your own company’s needs. Many call centers have a tendency to focus on handle time – that’s, the typical amount of time the agent/representative spends with each and every caller. They strive to minimize handle time to a couple of minutes per customer, supplying the most effective service possible. It can also negatively influence the level of service each caller receives so try and choose a service that is known to press the quality of each call. A representative who feels rushed to meet a handle time metric may not go out of their way to offer a detailed response on your products or services. It may be beneficial for you to highlight other metrics in your service level agreements that are important to your own firm’s goals.
3. If you decide to choose customer service outsourcing, it’s vital to maintain a link between the new division and your current company. One effective way to really do this is to have an internal staff member whose function is to facilitate communication. This staff member (representative) can keep both sides/parties informed about what’s occurring or help with passing messages along. Having one person designated to keep the connection between companies will help prevent misunderstandings about procedures, training, performance and expectations at the same time.
4. It is crucial that you make sure they’re doing an excellent job because the purpose of hiring an outside company is to allow you to focus on other priorities. Keep tabs on the level of service your customers and clients are receiving/getting. Make evaluation calls that are regular to experience customer service first hand. Additionally review metrics or any available data to try to find trouble areas such as dropped calls, and other hitches in service.
5. Your customers depend on you to supply outstanding customer service to them, and outsourcing could be a means to do this. Depending on your business’s details, it may be the best method to do this. Provided you do due diligence for the selection of your customer service outsourcing center, it will be very clear to you if this is exactly what your business needs.
By following the suggestions we included in this short Lazy Man’s Guide to Customer Service Outsourcing, you’ll have the needed insight to select the right company to partner with. Our guide will also help you take the proper steps to easily transition this new extension to your company. If you play your cards right, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t consider customer service outsourcing even earlier!