If you are operating a fast-growing company, you will probably need to increase the coverage of your support services at some point. Outsourcing is a great way to cope with this challenge since you can employ a skilled support team in a short time.
More than one-third of global contact centers outsource their services, and there are many companies in this niche, so it may be challenging to choose a reliable partner from such a variety. Are you curious about how to outsource customer service, what to look for when choosing the team, and how to make their work as productive as possible? Learn more from our material.
Reasons to Outsource Your Customer Service
According to Deloitte's survey, 59% of companies outsource services just to cut their expenses. While this might be the primary motivation, there are many more factors speaking in favor of outsourcing customer support services.
There are 4 major benefits of customer service outsourcing:
Lower operation costs
There is no need to pay a fixed salary. Outsource companies usually have per hour rate, so you can scale your expenses according to your current needs. Furthermore, you can expect smaller prices from contact teams based in countries with a lower living cost.
Increased support coverage
Outsourced customer support can be vital if you need additional help during the hot season, as you can get them involved in your workflow very fast. What is more, you can quickly increase the geographical reach of your company by hiring multilingual support teams.
Streamlining repetitive tasks
As many clients’ queries are quite typical, you can rely on the outsourced team executive to run them independently. This will speed up the time spent on solving issues and let your company focus on business tasks.
Scaling up your business
When your company is rapidly growing, you may not have the time to control all aspects of your business. Therefore, you can hire an outsourced team to maintain high-quality service while working on the long-term goals for your company.
A great example of a company that effectively outsources customer support is Google, which started employing remote support teams back in 2011. There are also numerous financial institutions like JP Morgan Chase as well as other companies that use the services of outsourced call centers.
Services to Outsource
There are different ways to provide customer service that cover most communication channels.
You can outsource all customer support services:
- email communication;
- call centers;
- social media interaction;
- online chats, etc.
It is always up to you which services to choose for your project. In some cases, it might be enough to outsource customer service call center handling clients’ issues. But if you are planning to create more complex interactions, consider emails and online chats to provide your customers with more communication channels.
What Do You Need to Know Before Outsourcing?
Before searching for external help, you should develop a customer service strategy. So, how to outsource customer service in a way that will satisfy your business needs? There are several factors you should consider before signing the contract.
With the massive size of this market, you can find all kinds of teams offering various services. Some companies may specialize in repetitive requests, while others can be proficient in solving in-depth situations. Take into account the employees’ language skills because they need to meet your customer’s expectations. Try to choose the best team that will satisfy all your needs.
Remember: if a firm claims to cover the entire spectrum of services, they might lack proper knowledge. Also, don't look for the cheapest option because such a team might not have much experience or required skills. Rely on customers’ reviews of the company, research their website for additional benefits, and make a test call to experience their service.
There are a lot of factors that will show the effectiveness of a customer service team. Acquire statistics from the company you are interested in and analyze their average handle time, first contact resolution, as well as other metrics that can shed light on their productivity.
Learn how this company monitors its quality assurance, how many calls they take into account, and how transparent their rating system is. The absence of adequate quality control may indicate low responsibility and bad service.
Another thing to consider is the geographical location of your outscored team, which will determine the price level. European and American call centers will be more expensive, so you should expect prices of up to $35 per hour. Outsourcing customer service to India or Pakistan will be much cheaper ($5-$10 per hour) but might not provide high–quality service.
Some Eastern European countries such as Ukraine can be a great option for outsourcing customer service. Thanks to the highest number of IT professionals in Central and Eastern Europe, 18 Ukraine-based companies have been rated among the world's top outsourcers. Compared to Europe and the US, Ukrainian teams are less expensive so you shouldn’t expect to pay more than $25 per hour for a contact service.
4. Added Services
Many outsource companies offer a range of benefits coming with customer service. They can provide you with call recordings for you to learn more about clients' issues and service quality, andstudy the real data. In the long perspective, such add-ons can be beneficial for customer service ROI. However, not all providers offer them.
You may want to look for an all-in-all service provider, as it may be more convenient in the long run. However, if you find an outsourced team focusing only on customer support, you can always complement it with external tools.
5. Security risks
You should be aware of risks related to sensitive customer data you provide to third parties. Before hiring external employees, review your internal security, figure out the weak sides, and restrict access to certain information. You should ensure that no third party can reach your client's credit card details, health records, etc.
Also, consult your legal team about any binding contracts you are planning to sign so you will clearly understand all the terms of your cooperation with the provider.
How to Manage Your Outsourced Service Center?
Customer experience is the major factor for your business growth. 70% of clients abandon companies after just one bad interaction. So remember that you shouldn’t leave your customer support team without supervision.
The first thing to do is to hire internal managers to maintain a connection with your outsourced team. These agents should inform both parties about the current customer support situation and resolve the routine issues.
Focus on Training
Indeed, training is extremely important to make your outsourced team as productive as possible. Share your knowledge and provide external employees with manuals, training videos, FAQs, etc.
You also need to establish brand tone guidelines so your customers will be treated in the way they are used to. You can specify what your employees need to say and which phrases they need to avoid, and test them using hypothetical scenarios. Try to cover the widest range possible, from a new client’s call to a specific vendor’s issue.
Try to establish two-way communication with your outsourcing team to create a partnership. That is how you will learn about the current situation, find weak spots that require additional training, and gather some insights that might be useful for your internal team.
To make this more convenient, invest in tools for communication with the outsourced team. For simple supervision, you can use Skype or other similar call and messaging platforms, while more functional tools like Trello will serve for complex management tasks.
Quality assurance metrics help you to evaluate the performance of your outsourced support team.
There are some metrics that cover most contact center processes:
- Average speed of answering – how much time it takes to answer an incoming call;
- Customer satisfaction score – measures whether your clients are pleased with the support service;
- Customer effort score – tracks customer experience during the interaction with the call center;
- First-call resolution – evaluates your employees’ ability to solve client’s issues;
- Average handle time – how much time your customer spends on the line.
All these stats will grant you valuable insights on how to increase customer service productivity and improve clients’ satisfaction.
Customer service outsourcing can help to scale up your business, lower the expenses, and improve support coverage. Looking for an outsourced team, you should consider their experience, skills, geographical location, and the availability of some added services that can help to improve workflow. Just remember that an external contact center requires mindful training and constant supervision to effectively represent your brand and achieve high customer satisfaction.