Why Your Customer Service Reputation Is Important — and How to Protect It
No matter what industry or demographic you serve, if you’re managing a company of any size today, you’re doing business in a fast-paced, consumer marketplace, where people expect service that’s fast, efficient and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a week.
How can companies meet this need without spending a fortune on around-the-clock call center services? Some choose to make the investment of time and resources to deliver a quality customer experience (CX) in a way that sustains and boosts—rather than detracts from—their overall image.
But other businesses choose the easier, more immediately cost-friendly route of outsourcing customer care to an offshore company that promises fast 24/7 service at the lowest possible rate. It’s an understandable choice, and it usually does deliver in the short term. But by outsourcing their CX to offshore companies, these companies are putting their larger customer service reputations at risk.
And that’s no small matter. As a number of recent news stories have shown, outsourcing your CX to an offshore company—or failing to take it seriously enough to entrust it with a top-tier provider—can cause serious damage to the trust you develop with your customers. And that, in turn, can jeopardize satisfaction and loyalty, which in turn causes larger rates of customer churn.
Customer churn, or the inability to make one-time shoppers repeat customers, eats directly into your bottom line. As the Harvard Business Review has pointed out, businesses that increase their customer retention rates by as little as 5% can see their profits increase by as much as 95%.
“Businesses that increase their customer retention rates by as little as 5% can see their profits increase by as much as 95%.” Click To Tweet
In other words, your customer service reputation has real value to your bottom line, and a real effect on your ability to drive revenue and grow your business over time. And outsourcing your CX to an offshore company puts all of this at risk, as does failing to take a few relatively simple steps to show the people with whom you do business that you’re making every effort to offer them the best possible CX.
Protect Your Customer Service Reputation by Making Your Contact Info Easy to Find
A recent report from the Better Business Bureau draws attention to a customer service scam that’s surprising in its effectiveness. By building fake websites with false contact numbers for well-known businesses, and then making those sites visible on search engine results pages, criminals are luring in people who find contact info via a Google search rather than going directly to the company’s website.
Wait—why does this work? Why wouldn’t a customer simply go to your website to find your contact info, instead of searching “customer service number for company X” online?
The poor habits of some customers are no doubt partially to blame here, but it isn’t the whole story. Because so many companies have tried to minimize their customer service costs by making it hard for people to reach them, many consumers have become accustomed to having to manually search for contact numbers rather than being offered them.
Take Amazon.com as an example. Go to Amazon’s home page, and try to find a customer service number. Spoiler alert: It isn’t there. That’s because Amazon doesn’t really want people to call—at least, not people who don’t have a direct phone number via a Prime membership.
Now, for Amazon, this makes a certain amount of sense. The company is so dominant, and does such a mind-boggling amount of business, that it doesn’t really need a sterling customer service reputation. The company’s leaders know they may be making a few people angry by making their contact info hard to find, but they likely view this as acceptable collateral damage in a hyper-aggressive business model.
But smaller companies—and that includes pretty much everyone else—don’t have that luxury. If your business is focused on a niche market, or depends in any way on repeat business, following the Amazon example of keeping customers at an arm’s length simply isn’t a wise move.
Keeping your customers at arm’s length not only has a negative effect on your customer service reputation, but it can also put people at financial risk, as illustrated by this recent story of a Georgia woman who was scammed out of hundreds of dollars by a fraudulent customer service number.
Again, this isn’t necessarily the fault of the business—oftentimes, unlike the example of Amazon, a contact number can be found on a company’s website, or within its email marketing messages. But the point still stands: The easier you make it for your customers to contact you, the less you risk losing them to competitors or, even worse, criminals, which can irreparably harm your customer service reputation.
How Offshore Call Center Outsourcing Can Damage Your Customer Service Reputation
Speaking of Amazon, that company is at the center of another story highlighting the importance of a company’s customer service reputation. A recent article in Vox investigates the problematic position of the Philippines as a refuge for outsourced customer care, where a large share of Amazon’s customer service is based via an outsourcing arrangement with Concentrix.
“Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, credits the company’s growth and retention to ‘customer obsession,’ part of which is speedy and painless customer service,” writes Francesca Regalado in the article. “But in order to meet Amazon’s 24/7 customer service demands, some agents say shifts as long as 16 to 24 hours are sometimes the norm,” and that safety regulations are often “flouted.”
Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, credits the company’s growth and retention to ‘customer obsession,’ part of which is speedy and painless customer service.
Besides the fact that many U.S.-based customers report increasing dissatisfaction with offshore customer service (due not only to language barriers but a number of other factors), there are larger issues of human rights and worker exploitation invoked by cases like these, which do more damage to a company’s customer service reputation than they would have 20, 10, even five years ago.
The strict accuracy of the Vox report remains to be seen; Amazon and Concentrix deny most of its claims. Yet a kernel of truth can perhaps be ascertained from the fact that the Philippine government is considering a bill addressing the rights of call center workers. That bill would categorize night shift work as hazardous, entitling overnight workers to receive additional pay.
Again, a company of Amazon’s size may find that any damage to its customer service reputation from reports like this is small change. But can you say the same for your business? If you choose to outsource your CX to an offshore company, can you truly depend on your sheer size or cultural impact to outweigh the effects of any resulting customer dissatisfaction, as Amazon can?
Preserve Your Customer Service Reputation with Onshore Contact Center Services from Working Solutions
If there’s one benefit that smaller companies have over a giant like Amazon, though, it’s that partnering with an onshore customer service is actually a cost-effective way to offer great customer service. For Amazon, that ship has sailed: If they truly want to deliver a top-tier customer service that doesn’t rely on outsourcing to foreign shores, they’d have to build out an entire network of nationwide call centers.
For everyone else, that network already exists: Onshore call center service providers like Working Solutions already have a network of agents spanning the United States and Canada who are skilled in providing customer care that delivers results and drives growth for businesses of all sizes, and across all industries.
With more than 20 years of experience helping businesses deliver a satisfying CX to their customers, Working Solutions can provide the kind of onshore contact center services that actually boost your customer service reputation instead of harming it.
Interested in learning more? Contact us today to schedule a one-on-one consultation with a Working Solutions customer service expert.Let's connect.