The first thing you need to know about any business is that the customer is always right. Not only that, but if you want your business to succeed, you need to keep your clients satisfied. Customer support is one of many ways to do so. It is also one of the most important tools in your inventory.
E-commerce is a relatively young, yet rapidly growing industry. Data suggest that more than 2 million people will use its services in 2021. If you want to be a part of this success story, the first thing you need to do is to evaluate the quality of your e-commerce customer service.
Depending on the size and type of your company, it might be better for you to outsource your call center. If you want to know more about this option, learn the advantages and disadvantages that come with it, and the best way to transition to it, read this article further.
Advantages of E-Commerce Call Center Outsourcing
E-commerce call center outsourcing completely changes the way your business operates. Whether the change is for good or bad is for you to decide. As there are always two sides to any coin, let’s examine each aspect of e-commerce customer service outsourcing, starting with its potential advantages:
1. Allows You to Focus on the Task at Hand
An inbound customer support team allows you to directly manage every decision it makes. However, this requires a lot of attention and time you could spend elsewhere. The process of picking the right team and training each member spends these valuable resources as well.
Employing an outside team means you will have a lot more time to spend on your business development. Outsource teams usually know how to deal with standard situations and don’t require any micromanagement. Furthermore, they mostly don’t require any training, except for your company-specific requirements.
2. Access to Professional Tools and Experienced Operators
As you are a customer of the outsourcing company, they will try to provide the best services they can. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Advanced tools (hardware and software) for the best and fastest response possible;
- Constant updates and briefings on their activity;
- Best personnel available;
- Easy integration with your website and/or other platforms.
3. Easily Scalable and Always Available
If you’re just starting in the e-commerce market, your business might experience rapid growth in a short amount of time. The high number of customers means high customer support activity. The only way to manage the outpouring of calls you need to answer is with an outbound team.
The outsourcing companies usually have resources available to scale to your needs at any time. Furthermore, they often keep in contact with people that work part-time or only during certain seasons. This means that if you need a bigger team during certain hours or days, it’s not a problem.
4. Get Better and More Detailed Data
If you want to improve and make sure your customers are always satisfied, you need to gather feedback from them. The more data you have, the more accurate the analysis you’d be able to conduct and the better strategy you’d be able to develop.
As it is their main activity, outsource e-commerce call centers know which data to pay attention to and which information is not quite as valuable. It is easier for them to conduct surveys, and most of them can provide all the results you need in a concise and descriptive manner.
5. It’s More Cost-Efficient
Hiring and maintaining an in-house team is not cheap. While your main focus should be customer satisfaction, it is much better to do it in a more cost-effective way. Outsourcing, especially offshore outsourcing, provides you with such a way.
Firstly, a major win is that you don’t need to buy or rent equipment. Secondly, training requires resources as well, and, as we’ve discussed earlier, your involvement in it is minimized. Lastly, the labor cost in some counties is much lower, which is why you can get the same trained experts for a much lower price.
Possible Issues with Customer Support Redistribution
Now let’s take a look at some of the disadvantages you might encounter during the outsourcing process. While they are not many of them, they can make or break the deal for you:
- Security – most call centers ensure the safety of your data with additional encryptions and modern software solutions. However, an outsource company is an additional link in the overall chain you don’t have full control over. So, the security risk is usually minimal, but it is present;
- Knowledge of the product – while every agent of the outsource team will be trained on your company’s specifics, it is not always enough. They would still be less familiar with a product or service you provide than someone who works in the same building with you. While it might not seem as important, it has a huge impact on customer satisfaction;
- Control – as we’ve already discussed, lack of control over the customer service team has both positive and negative aspects. Absence of supervision during the important decision making can have disastrous consequences for your business;
- Different language and culture – if you choose to hire a team abroad, you need to remember that these people live in a different environment. While it might not be an issue in most cases, in some of them the cultural barrier might lead to misunderstandings and your reputation might take a blow.
While the consequences of some of these points are unfortunate, they don’t normally outweigh the benefits you get. Furthermore, if you play your cards right, you will avoid most of them. Our next point focuses exactly on that.
Tips for Better E-Commerce Customer Service Outsource
If you’ve made up your mind about customer support outsource, here are some important tips and tricks that might help you to improve your experience:
1. Do Your Research
In our modern world, information is power. So, you should do your research before you partner up with an outsourcing company. Firstly, take a look at your business and figure out what it is exactly that you need. This will allow you to define your task accurately and adequately. Secondly, check multiple potential partners, their way of conduct and pricing policies to make an informed decision.
2. Make Use of the Advanced Tech
Modern call centers use innovative tech solutions to help them in their job. Some of them even use AI and machine learning for better productivity. Your job is to find a company that employs up-to-date tools in the most effective fashion. The more advanced tools they use, the faster, more responsive and secure your service will be.
3. Conduct Thorough Tests
If you want the call center to conform to the standards you set up, not only do you have to clearly set them up, but also your job is to carefully check the conduct and correct any missteps. Make sure to conduct tests both in theory and in practice. The testing should be performed regularly, both before the system is set up and after.
4. Communicate About Everything
Communication is the key to any human interaction. When it comes to business partnership, it carries even more weight. Make sure to clearly spell out any concern or aspiration you have. This way you are less likely to have mismatched goals or different views on a situation. It also definitely applies to the pricing discussions. Furthermore, you should demand consistent and clear communication from the outsourcing company as well.
To be successful in e-commerce you need to make a lot of efforts and spend a lot of time perfecting your business. While customer support plays a huge role in client satisfaction and retention, hiring, training, and maintaining an in-house team is not always worth it. Even though outsourcing has its pros and cons, it is definitely the best way to concentrate on your main task while making sure your customers get all the support they need.
Outsourcing an e-commerce call center is not a trivial task. It requires time and research. However, if you make the right choice and find a suitable company, your experience will definitely be rewarding and your reputation will certainly keep on growing.