One thing is common to all businesses, whether big or small – challenges. The type of challenge will vary according to the brand. Many businesses have funding problems, personnel, productivity, and slippery business terrain. Other businesses have issues with their business strategy, execution, or even attracting customers.
As problems are peculiar to every brand, relevant stakeholders are always on their toes to rise above these challenges. And this is the difference between a successful business and an unsuccessful one – the ability to surmount challenges.
One problem you might experience as an SME owner in the UK is in your customer service department. Don’t worry; this problem is not unique to your brand. People living in the UK are usually particular about a company’s customer service. It is a deal-breaker when it comes to whether they will do business with you or not. Nearly one in every three people might decide to take their transactions elsewhere or spend less if you have lousy customer service.
This is just one of the many reasons lots of successful businesses prefer to outsource their customer service. This article will tell you all you need to know about outsourcing your customer service – why you should consider outsourcing, how to do it, and what to look out for when you decide to outsource.
What Is An SME?
You probably already know an SME is a small or medium-sized enterprise. You might not know that it is defined by the amount of revenue generated or the number of workers. These parameters vary from country to country. In the UK, an SME is a business with less than 250 employees.
SMEs are classified as medium, small, or micro. They have 50 – 249, 10 – 49, and 0 – 9 employees, respectively.
Why Should You Outsource Your Customer Service?
Customer service is key when considering SME growth. However, with only a few employees, it might be difficult to run a full department. In many companies, virtually all employees will be involved in some sort of customer services.
Here are the top reasons you should consider outsourcing your customer services:
- Saves money
There might be a temptation to believe paying for an external company to manage your customer services is expensive. Maybe you should also take some time to see how much it would cost to hire staff for your customer services. This is without considering the expertise outsourcing brings at a reasonable cost. You can keep a good part of your budget when you outsource.
- Conserves time
Customer services require a lot of training. You have to build up your employees to be independent problem-solvers, good time managers, resourceful individuals, and good communicators. They might also need a lot of guidance to keep up with what is the department entails. Outsourcing your customer services provides an easy way out so you can divert your time into other things.
- Ensure better service delivery
Having mentioned that outsourcing saves you time, it also means you get professionals. Customer service providers have employees trained for just this purpose. They have some experience under their belt and can function with minimal supervision. Certainly, you will be getting better customer service delivery.
- More availability
Customers love when the brands they patronise are very responsive. The best time to respond to their query is just before you get it. The longer you keep them waiting, the more dissatisfied they are. While your business might only operate 9–5, your customers may need you at any time. Many customer service outsourcing companies operate longer hours or 24/7. Their operators run shifts, and there is always someone on the ground to attend to your customers’ needs as promptly as possible.
- Improves productivity
Once you have taken the burden of customer services off your employees, they can focus on other things. Outsourcing your customer services will help your team members develop in their own fields. When the distractions of filing complaint forms and taking calls from enraged clients are out of the way, your employees can now be more goal-oriented. This will improve work productivity in your SME.
- Provides access to more services
Customer services firms do not just handle your customers. They provide additional services that might be instrumental to the growth of your SME. They can provide an in-depth analysis of your customer performance. Because they have access to a lot of feedback, they can suggest ways to improve your customer experience. They can also provide insight into your customer profile. So, you know the needs of your audience according to their demographics.
- Provides an additional set of eyes
Outsourcing generally means you are getting a new pair of eyes to look into your business operations. While it is not their place to pry, they can access much of your business information and advise you based on their experience.
- Solves the problem of a language barrier
You may have a non-English speaking client. Meanwhile, no member of your team can speak their language. Outsourcing might be able to bridge this barrier if the customer service firm has different language speakers. This inclusiveness could help you better appeal to non-English speakers.
Tying these benefits together, outsourcing will prove a lot of help to your business. This will be evidenced in your customer retention, referrals, and online reviews. Your customers will be more satisfied with your products and services.
What Should You Consider before Outsourcing Your Customer Service?
There are some pitfalls you must avoid while outsourcing. Here are some tips to bear in mind during your outsourcing process:
- Ensure you are not breaching any privacy agreements with your customers.
- Avoid the urge to hire based on only the cost to save money.
- Understand the type of technology available to the company.
- Learn about additional services the company can provide.
- Establish clear communication and clear all ambiguities in what you expect and what they can deliver.
- Don’t rush at a provider – consider your options carefully.
- Pick a trusted firm and avoid micromanaging.
We understand that you might love the personal touch and intentionality that comes with running your customer services yourself. But then, it is one thing to have a beautiful business strategy. It is another to have the desired results. You will be surprised that most customers believe in online reviews as much as they trust their friends’ recommendations. This is why you must offer quality customer services irrespective of how good your products/services are.