When your company is struggling with multitasking due to the rapid growth of your client base, you could hire an in-house team to handle client requests. But you could also consider giving it to outsourcing since it is a common business practice today. Actually, if you cannot scale up your client support team fast, outsourcing becomes the only viable solution.
Customer service outsourcing notion
Customer support outsourcing is most often meant as a contact center outsourcing. It is basically giving out this function to some external to your company provider to handle the issues of communicating with your customers on behalf of your company’s name.
Giving this to some third-party company, you give all the channels of communication with clients to them: phone, social media, messengers, emails, online chat, and SMS. The reason for the popularity of such a solution in the third decade of the 21st century is that companies that offer to outsource have a large experience in serving customers through all the mentioned channels, bringing feasible advantages to users. Along with the pros of an outsourced call center, however, there are cons, which we consider below.
Advantages and disadvantages of a decision to outsource customer service
Market experts usually highlight such pluses and minuses of customer support outsourcing.
- Saving costs. While in your country, a specialist of the 1st line of support could cost around $30,000-$50,000 a year, in developing markets with many outsourced call centers located therein, a yearly salary of one support worker can be $4,800. Even trebling that figure for the additional costs like administrative, rent, utilities, workplace organization, Internet access, taxes, and profit of the outsourcer, etc., you will land on just $14.400 a year. On a scale of even 10 operators, the minimum economy is already $156,000 annually. But in practice, you can get even better numbers.
- Reduced workload for your in-house employees. You will no longer suffer from multiple tasks connected to serving your customers while trying to do the main job that generates profits. From now on, you can focus on the main things.
- Coverage of after-hours. If you’re not operating 24/7/365, then you must think of how to handle the questions of your clients in the non-operating hours. The same goes for the work in multiple time zones.
- Multilingual and multicultural service. That’s a very important factor for international companies that have clients speaking in more than one language. As a rule, it is effectively combined with work in multiple time zones.
- A possibility to scale up and down fast when required – not only because of regular company size broadening or shrinking but also when seasonal fluctuations occur.
- A possibility to use both shared and dedicated support agents. The first will work not only for your company but also for others, sharing their time among all their ringers (this will save you costs). This approach is good when you don’t have so many clients so as to make sure they consume the entire working day of operators. The second approach is used when you do have so many of them or/and when you need a more trained and skilled support operator. Dedicated support agents could also become sales agents for you.
- Access to better technologies, which can nearly automatically boost your competitive advantages.
- A possibility of landing on lower customer satisfaction. Because the outsourced agents are, probably, trained less rigidly and voluminously than your in-house workers and have lesser zeal to serving your clients to the best outcome, there is a chance you will notice a decline in customer satisfaction and see the increased number of clients, which will cease to work with you because of that.
- Outsourced operators are less knowledgeable about your company and less zealous about delivering the best customer experience at all times. To be honest, you don’t have many tools and leverages of influence here but you could minimize this by more thorough and close control and after-monitoring of satisfaction of your customers. Also, the KPI for the quality of these deliverables can be specifically defined in the agreement with an outsourced agent.
- Support of your clients may not be their top priority. Picking a phone for too long, hanging up without solving customers’ issues, not calling back, and other unpleasant things should also be controlled and set as KPIs to constantly monitor.
- Security concerns. Stealing your customer base or using it improperly for spam or phishing are very serious issues. The selected outsourcing support company shall give you excellent guarantees that these won’t happen, as well as provide technical means of security and safety of your database and prevention from leaking or stealing it.
Conclusion on customer service outsourcing companies
Before you undertake to outsource, you should carefully weigh in and out all pros and cons. The best thing would be conducting meetings with several top performers on the market and see what they offer.