How to Outsource Customer Service the Right Way
You need to find the balance between managing day-to-day operations and responding to customer service requests that come in through different channels. Many companies and businesses are contemplating outsourcing their customer service for various reasons. Some of the problems that were previously associated with outsourcing are no longer a problem. For example, communicating with your outsourced team is very fast and efficient in today’s world.
Customer service is a critical component of a growing business. It is something you need to do well and do well every time. Customers can be fickle and if they have an unpleasant experience with your business or company, they won’t hesitate to move on. It is this relentless pressure to provide excellent customer service that drives companies to seek outsourced options. On the flip side, it is also the reason why people are so wary of outsourcing. Can you trust another company to care about its customers as much as you do? These are legitimate questions companies face when considering their customer service outsourcing options.
With that in mind, we’ll look at the advantages of outsourcing customer service, as well as how to outsource customer service the right way.
Benefits of Outsourcing Your Customer Service
- Access to the latest technology – Customer service outsourcing companies use the latest and most sophisticated technology and resources to provide excellent customer service. They use omnichannel platform software, advanced and responsive artificial intelligence, top-of-the-line phones, and much, much more. Implementing the latest customer services technology yourself will be costly and time-consuming.
- Short response times – Excellent customer service is like a well-oiled machine. It’s fast and responsive, and it just works!
- Highly skilled agents – Outsourcing companies hire the best customer agents for the job.
- 24/7 service access – you can tailor your operation to be available when needed. You don’t have to worry about the logistics of scaling it internally.
- Access to a broad range of skills – Do you want agents who can speak different languages? What about an agent who can help with sign language, video call, customer service? You can often gain access to a broader range of qualified agents through outsourcing.
- Less hassle for you – Managing a customer service operation is no easy task. It can be extremely demanding. You need to manage schedules, KPIs, and lots more. When you outsource, you no longer have to worry about the day-to-day running of the contact centre.
Steps to Outsourcing your Customer Service the Right Way
So, after you have decided you want to outsource your customer service, what comes next? Below we will outline the steps you need to take to ensure a successful switch to outsourcing.
1. Set your goals
This step is crucial. You need to sit down and decide what you want from your customer service outsourcing company. What do you want for your company? What do you expect from the outsourcing company?
Let’s take a look at some common outsourcing goals and how you should approach them.
- Cost savings: how much money do you want to save? In which areas, in particular, do you think you are spending too much money and by how much do you want to reduce it?
- Access to better technology: is there something your competitors offer that you don’t? Do you want to compete with them in this area? Do you want a great self-service chatbot? Or live chat? WhatsApp messaging? Describe what technology you want to access and choose companies that can provide them.
- A broader range of skills – is this important to your company? Do you frequently get calls from customers who speak a different language and you’d love to be able to communicate with them? Or is your customer base more local to you? Either one is fine, you just need to decide how important this is to your business and whether it will increase the value of your customer service.
2. Know the outsourcing company
- Location – where would you like your outsourcing company to be based? Is it important to your British company to have a British outsourcing company?
- Hours of Operation – Can you provide customer service when you need it?
- Leadership: Do you want to have full control over your customer service vision? Do you want to decide on the scripts, tone, technology? Or are you happy that the outsourced customer service company is taking a more active role in defining your operation? Do you want them to offer you advice and guidance or just follow your instructions?
- It is important to talk to key people in the company about these goals. Outsourcing companies have account experts for a reason. Make sure you’re making full use of their knowledge and experience.
3. Make the unique choice for your company
The outsourcing team you choose should ultimately be an extension of your company. They must sound like you and behave like you. Take a look at your customer personas, target audience, and key customer demographics. Which approach works best for your customers? Whether your tone is cheerful and friendly or knowledgeable and professional, find the company that fits your needs.
Knowing how your customers think and feel when they interact with your company and how you want them to feel in the future will go a long way to helping you hire the right outsourcing company.
Making this work effectively may require more work with some companies than others. Carefully read the reviews when choosing your outsourcing company. Also, pay attention to the other clients they have. If they provide customer service for reputable governments or companies, they are likely to be trusted.
4. Prioritise flexibility
Choose a company that can be flexible when making changes. You don’t want to draft a contract with high intentions only to find that it doesn’t work in practice, but now you’re stuck. Sometimes we have ideas that sound great on paper but don’t make it into the real world. This can happen for a variety of reasons and is not always related to the capabilities of the business. For example, you might think that your customers prefer a certain approach when they don’t. Or you can try implementing Live Chat only to find that your customers hardly ever use it.
5. Choose a partner who can achieve your goals
You have set your goals, now you must use them to choose your partner. Consider the following:
- If you operate internationally, do you have multilingual agents who can communicate with your customers?
- Can they handle a large volume of incoming enquiries?
- Do your agents have the right skills for your business?
- Have you provided customer service for a company in your industry before? This can help you know if they are right for your business.
6. Create a robust onboarding process
Outsourcing your customer service team can take a lot of pressure off you and your business. However, this does not mean that you should hire a team and let them get to work. You need to create a robust onboarding process for the company and its agents to catch up on your business.
Clients will be frustrated if they start talking to agents who lack knowledge or experience in your company. They will feel helpless and abandoned. That’s a sure way to lose their trust and ultimately, their business.
7. Track success
You need to define what success looks like in your relationship. Do you want the outsourcing company to meet certain KPIs? Do you want them to increase customer satisfaction? If so, how do you want it to be measured?
Decide which metrics you want to measure, and then create ways to continually track the success of your customer service outsourcing business. Do you want them to conduct regular customer satisfaction surveys?
Decide when key statistics should be reported to your business. This can happen every morning, a few times a week, or once a week. You want to receive regular reports and hold the company accountable for its goals. If something isn’t working as expected, you can quickly fix it to mitigate any damage.
There must be an open line of communication for your association to prosper. Designate someone who can act as a point of contact for your business. This person should always be available to answer calls and emails from the outsourcing company. You must also request that contact be designated on the other side. If you need to contact the company, who do you call?
Outsourcing your customer service the right way will save you a lot of stress and will increase more customer engagement and sales than you can imagine. The importance of communication in business is as important as any sale or other part of the business for that matter. As such, applying these rules will help choose the right customer service partner for your business.