What Every Executive Should Know about Customer Service Outsourcing
In an era of instant communications that span a dizzying variety of consumer technologies—from Instagram and live chat to email and good, old-fashioned voicemail—it’s become a major challenge to maintain proactive and effective service that can engage every customer and prospect at every place they congregate.
As we explored in a recent post about disruptive contact center technology, today’s contact centers require increasingly sophisticated and expensive hardware, continuous updated software, a hyper-diligent attitude toward security, and a heck of a lot of expertise to keep the whole thing running smoothly.
For small, medium and even large companies, bringing an “A” game to customer experience can represent an enormous expense in technology and labor. And there’s little room for error: A simple misstep on Twitter or Facebook can have an outsized impact on future growth and prosperity.
For this reason, more and more executives are choosing to outsource customer service to specialized service providers, rather than taking on the considerable burden and expense of managing this vastly important area themselves. And it’s a move that’s supported by a growing chorus of experts.
“Progressive entrepreneurs realize the unstoppable power of outsourcing to handle aspects of their business that are essential but simply don’t make sense for them to deal with personally,” as outsourcing pro David Walsh told Nancy Mann Jackson in an article published by Entrepreneur.
Progressive entrepreneurs realize the unstoppable power of outsourcing to handle aspects of their business that are essential but simply don’t make sense for them to deal with personally.
Among other benefits, explains Walsh, outsourcing gives small businesses the power to leverage a “global pool of human capital” to “compete directly with the biggest players in their space, and win.”
Customer Service Outsourcing: Who to Hire?
Yet the process of setting up customer service outsourcing isn’t without its challenges. Taking the first steps can be time-consuming and daunting. Where to begin?
“Before handing over the reins, be sure you’re working with the right partner,” Jackson advises. “While technology makes it much easier than it once was to find capable, reliable outsource providers, the selection process is still vitally important.”
While technology makes it much easier than it once was to find capable, reliable outsource providers, the selection process is still vitally important.
To that end, it’s crucial to find a partner who will truly take the time to understand your business, and who has the capabilities to scale up or down as your business requires. “You can’t serve a business unless you first know the business” is a favorite phrase of Kim Houlne, a pioneer of distributed contact center solutions and the founder and chief executive of Working Solutions.
Choosing a recognized leader with proven expertise is also critical. Houlne, for example, has spent decades building Working Solutions into a recognized leader capable of weathering any storm (literally). With thousands of contact center agents based in the U.S. and Canada, Working Solutions has the power to scale up or down as needed—even in the face of unexpected, seasonal fluctuations or major weather events.
Following the example of Working Solutions, your customer service outsourcing partner should have the footprint to offer an entire suite of business process outsourcing (BPO) resources to shore up your customer service, including high-powered business continuity services, sophisticated data backup prowess, and comprehensive back-office support.
The icing on the cake: Your customer service partner should not only offer all of these features, but do so at a price point compatible with your small-business ethos.
And don’t forget—even after you’ve found that ideal customer service outsourcing partner, your work isn’t over. To achieve success, it’s vital to carefully define your goals and the terms of your success.
“Don’t be afraid to put a little extra time creating a specific contract that outlines exactly what performance is expected,” as Florida International University Institute for Technology Innovation Director Marc Resnick, Ph.D., told Jackson.
Adds outsourcing pro Walsh: “Consider distinct task-based agreements while you’re evaluating new providers, and transition to a fixed-cost retainer once you’re confident in their ability to consistently deliver.”
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