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By implementing a solid customer service strategy, organizations can retain, grow, and generate new customers through upsells and referrals.
The heartbeat of any business is its customer service, where crucial audiences engage firsthand with a company’s brand and internal teams. According to Microsoft, 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company, and 58% will switch companies because of poor customer service.
Your company may not have the capability or want to hire, develop, and maintain customer service support staff, given growth or other critical priorities. As a business leader, one of the most significant decisions you’ll make regarding customer service is deciding whether to outsource your customer service or keep it in-house.
This guide will inform you of the essential factors to consider when making this decision and provide additional context depending on the size of your organization.
Outsourcing customer service to an experienced partner is beneficial for organizations looking for a reliable, efficient customer service solution.
This outsourced team of experts acts as ambassadors of your products and services and, most importantly, of your brand. They enable your organization to perform customer service while turning your focus to other critical priorities like growth, sales, and marketing.
Finding a team that excels in applying relevant systems and processes takes that responsibility off your shoulders. The move elevates your business to a new standard of efficacy and success.
Your business may not be in a position to develop and sustain internal support staff, given growth or the need to shift to other critical priorities. It may make more sense to engage a proven service provider and industry expert to take this vital component of your business to the next level.
Many organizations turn to customer support outsourcing to eliminate costs, save time on hiring or training, or ensure flexibility, depending on what resources, technologies, or skillsets are needed at a specific time or for a particular project.
Maybe you are considering expanding into other territories or countries where a dedicated team familiar with the specific aspects and language of the region is necessary. Or your growth could indicate a need for 24/7 service capabilities in various time zones.
Every size business can benefit from this responsive, scalable business model. Outsourcing customer service for large companies is a boon during busy times, including the holiday season when call volume ramps up. By partnering with a customer service outsourcer, you don’t have to worry about hiring and training temporary staff in time to give the same level of service.
There are also advantages for small to medium businesses (SMB) or small to medium enterprises (SME), such as transferring overflow inquiries to an outsourced call center, without impacting current employee workloads. It’s also more cost-effective than hiring full-time workers, as labor or operating costs in other countries may differ.
It’s not a one-size-fits-all methodology. Here are some of the various categories available:
Multichannel vs. Omnichannel
Onshore vs. Offshore
Shared vs. Dedicated
In-house vs. Outsourced
What type of marketing approach makes the most sense for your business, and how do you determine your needs in an outsourcing partner? Let’s break down the differences between multichannel and omnichannel marketing.
Multichannel means multiple channels of communication, while omnichannel is an integrated approach between those lines of communication. With multichannel, the company is at the center of the strategy. But you risk miscommunication, style inconsistencies, and alienating customers who must use several channels to resolve issues.
Omnichannel, however, is not only an integrated approach but is also customer-centric. It’s focused on the needs of the customer. Businesses can opt for more personalized messaging and use platforms to complement each other to create a seamless experience. By employing this methodology, a company has more opportunities to build brand loyalty.
For a smaller-sized business, multichannel marketing may be appropriate given that there may not be multiple platforms for customers to use. With medium or larger businesses, it may simply boil down to too many channels to monitor effectively and on-brand.
How do you determine what type of outsourcing makes the most sense for your location and specific needs?
Onshore means your outsourcing partner is in your home country.
Onshore outsourcers offer skills and services that complement a company’s internal team and typically work the same hours. An onshore partner enables your team to focus on high-level priorities and reduce costs around employee or customer service issues.
Offshore is an outsourcer in another country, with a different time zone.
Offshore services may come at a diminished cost due to lower wages and cost-of-living expenses. They also staff multilingual agents, which gives your business even more room for growth and expansion, allowing for a wider coverage area.
In-house customer service costs can be high. There’s the cost of continuous training, turnover of staff, and paying for benefits. There may also be challenges in finding the employees with the necessary skill sets. Did you know it’s possible to save up to 70% on labor costs by outsourcing customer service for large companies? That’s because running a call center is the sole business of an outsourcer. In some cases, infrastructure and technological updates come included in your package. Your outsourcing partner may handle upgrades to workstations, IT support, telephony, and facilities. So are the challenges of staffing – training, benefits, payroll processing, HR functions, supervisors, and managers. You don’t have to worry about breaks, coaching, or wait times. Outsourcing offers a fully managed expert solution.
Small Businesses that use outsourcing, even one or two agents, make a considerable difference to your bottom line, as partners only charge for productive time. Not to mention, outsourced team members often bring with them specialized tools and knowledge that you and your staff may not have, providing even better support than you could in-house.
Midsize Businesses that outsource customer service have the ability to quickly scale the number of agents needed according to demand, adding flexibility through busier seasons of the year such as the holidays. With the right partner, outsourced CX frees up your finances to focus on business activity that increases revenue, essentially re-investing in your business.
Enterprise Businesses that completely outsource customer service save a significant amount of overhead from eliminating salaries, infrastructure and other resources required to operate a full customer service department in-house. Furthermore, the third party can provide additional management support that may not be possible in a direct relationship.
When you consider outsourcing your customer service, don’t go about it for the wrong reasons. These three reasons don’t qualify as business justifications for outsourcing:
Don’t outsource for the sole reason of lowering costs. Make sure your outsourcing partner fits your business needs, not just your budget. Maybe as a small company, you don’t need more than one customer service representative to handle the total volume of calls, where a larger company with a higher volume needs more support.
Don’t outsource to avoid dealing with customer service issues. Whatever problems are surfacing during calls should be identified, addressed, and resolved quickly. Work with your outsourcing team to create open, two-way communication regularly, so you both know what is happening in your business internally and externally.
Finally, don’t outsource to save employee training on new issues, products, or services. Your employees are always your best brand ambassadors.
There are a few types of agents to fulfill your needs. Shared Call Center Agents typically handle calls from more than one business. This support can make a difference if you are a small company with a lower call volume than a medium to a large company that may need more specialized staffing.
That’s where specially trained Dedicated Agents come in, who become experts in speaking to your products and services. With the right partner, you also have access to additional services, like sales support, analytics, back-office support, and the latest technology.
These are our top suggestions to help you make the best decision when considering an outsourced customer service partner.
Outsourcing your customer service could transform your business. Finding the right partner enables you to add specialized expertise, a flexible customer support model. It also frees up internal teams to focus on the priorities that drive revenue. It offers the opportunity to scale up service support and provide an unparalleled experience to your most valued audience, your customers.
Establish clear goals and identify your needs to find the partner that offers the services necessary to help your business succeed. Try to check in with your customers after an agent interaction on how satisfied they are so you can quickly identify any issues and resolve them.
Discuss your data security needs and confirm that you will only provide necessary information to avoid risks in exposing sensitive customer or company data through leaks or breaches. Additionally, outsourcers typically have security protocols to keep client information safe.
Work together with your partner to keep staff training current on your company’s products and services.
Communicate regularly, so both internal employees and your external agents are on top of the latest information vital to your ongoing success. Outsourcers may also offer data and analytics for you to monitor and measure service. This information is imperative to maintain the same level of support and seamless experiences that your customers expect.
Finally, your outsourcing partner is flexible. They can help fill knowledge gaps, add headcount as needed and help take the pressure off your internal team so that they can stay focused on revenue-driving tasks.
Working Solutions offers an all-encompassing solution for your sales and customer service needs, with seamless integrations at every touchpoint. Our agents fulfill your company and customer demands across all channels. Our on-demand solution enables you to better engage, empathize, and delight your customers, wherever and whenever they interact with your brand.
Our on-demand contact center experts offer professional customer service and support.
Our agents pick up where automated self-service leaves off, ensuring personalized care based on real-time customer issues.
Your customers not only deserve an excellent customer service experience, but today, they expect it.
With Working Solutions, you can start small by only outsourcing supplemental customer support to meet any seasonal or other surge demands. When you’re ready to scale to year-round support agents or multi-channel customer service, we’re ready to help with zero gaps or learning curves.
Does your business experience busy seasons, when sales burst at the seams along with customer service?
Our agents are skilled and standing by to help you ramp up increased demand in hours, not weeks.
When it comes to disaster preparedness, we cover every time zone 24/7 in the U.S. and Canada.
From blizzards, hurricanes, or business spikes, we can help you scale at a moment’s notice. Our service extends your brand and is always ready, whatever situation you encounter.
Our agents are vetted and well-versed in your business, knowing the way it works inside and out.
We use proven and tested data encryption so your information stays secure no matter what. Plus, our remote customer service agents provide a more secure environment than a physical call center.