Customer service outsourcing is an ongoing debate for many businesses.
There are the advantages of cost savings, but they’re outweighed by horror stories of hiring the wrong firm to handle your customer service.
Despite the horror stories, more companies are turning to outsourcing their most basic customer inquiries. A 2014 survey by Deloitte showed that 54% of companies outsourced basic inquiries with another 29% planning to do so.
If you’re on the fence about outsourcing your customer service, keep reading to learn more about outsourcing and the top tips to help you do it successfully.
Advantages of Customer Service Outsourcing
The main reason why most companies outsource is for cost savings. Bear in mind that it’s not an automatic cost saving. That would largely depend on the company you hire and how good they are at working with your customers.
If you’re planning to expand your business internationally, customer service outsourcing may be able to help bridge the gap between your headquarters and your new markets. The customer service firm will already know the language and culture and be able to serve your new customers.
Does your business experience busy seasons? If so, a customer service company can handle the overflow of service issues. They’ll be able to handle the inquiries in a short time period.
That’s a better option than waiting for a member of your staff to handle it when things slow down.
Many companies rely on excellent customer service to separate themselves from the competition.
If you hire the right company to take your service up a level or two, that will lead to other benefits within your company.
First of all, your customer retention rates will be higher. Higher customer retention rates mean that you can recruit the top sales performers to your company.
Salespeople want nothing more than to take care of their customer base, instead of constantly scrounging around for new business.
If your customer retention rates are high, you’ll be able to create a dream situation for many salespeople, and you’ll be able to hire better quality reps.
Disadvantages of Customer Service Outsourcing
It was already noted that customer service can be a competitive advantage for many companies.
If your company has a strong brand that promises excellent service, you won’t be able to guarantee that promise if you hand off customer service to another company.
If you hire a customer service firm outside of the U.S., there will be cultural and language challenges for the staff and for your customers. This could lead to customer frustration.
Customer service outsourcing firms don’t have the language and knowledge of U.S. customers. They also might not have the product knowledge required to help.
That will lead to mistrust and frustration for your customers.
Should You Outsource?
The decision to outsource your customer service is not one to be taken lightly. How can you know if it’s time to outsource?
You’ll need to take a hard look at your current customer service and do a cost-benefit analysis to see if it’s worth it to your company or not.
In the first step, you’ll need to assess how your customer service works for your business right now. Is there one person that handles all service matters or are there a few people who aren’t trained to handle the customers when they call?
If you answered yes, outsourcing can provide a way to have a dedicated, trained staff to handle your customer service issues.
About 59% of businesses that outsource customer service do so because of potential cost savings. Of course, you’ll look at hourly rates for an outsourcing firm.
That’s important, but you need to pay attention to the customer retention and satisfaction rates. That’s your first indication as to whether or not your investment is paying off.
What to Look for in an Outsourcing Company
The key to successful outsourcing is finding the right outsourcing partner. Here are a few tips that you can choose the right firm to handle one of your most valuable assets – your customers.
Know Your Needs
Before you start contacting companies, you’ll want to know what your needs are. Do you need someone to handle online chat services? Do you need general email inquiries answered or appointment scheduling? Will you need a phone answering service for when you’re out of the office?
Knowing what your needs are will help you locate the top customer service outsourcing companies right away. You’ll be able to save time and prevent yourself from interviewing and hiring a company that’s not a good fit.
Once you’re clear on what you’re looking for, you can start looking at outsourcing firms. You can start by asking people in your network for referrals.
If you find companies on your own to work with, be sure to ask to speak directly with current clients and get references.
How Will You Stay in Touch with Your Customers?
You’re going to want is to remain close to your customers. Customer service can provide valuable information such as buying and communication preferences. Losing that information can do long-term damage to your business.
You’ll want to make sure that the company you partner with can provide metrics and data regarding your customers, so they will continue to come back.
Does Their System Integrate with Yours?
On the technical side, you’ll want to be sure that the system the customer service outsourcing company uses integrates with your CRM. This will be key if you plan to learn more about your customers.
Their system should also integrate with social media as more customer service issues are found on Twitter and Facebook.
Customer Service Outsourcing for Your Business
Customer service outsourcing can have many advantages for your business. It can increase your profits
Businesses large and small can benefit from outsourcing. You need to have a plan, know exactly what needs to be outsourced and choose the right firm to take the best care of your customers.
If you’d like to learn more about how your company can consistently give your customers the world-class service they deserve, check out Best 99 Customer Service PLR Articles Pack 1 and Customer Service Step by Step.