In today’s competitive landscape, providing impeccable customer support is the key to success. But what if you could enhance your customer support service while reducing costs and increasing efficiency? That’s where outsourcing customer support comes into play. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of outsourcing this vital aspect of your business.
Table of Contents
- What is Customer Support?
- What does it mean exactly to Outsource Customer Support?
- Why should your Business Outsource Customer Support?
- How to outsource Customer Support Correctly in 2023?
- What are the Benefits of Outsourcing Customer Support?
- Improved Focus
- Enhanced Quality
- Round-the-Clock Support
- Personal connections
- Cost Savings
- When should you Outsource Customer Support?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Customer support, in a nutshell, is the assistance and service provided through various channels to customers who use your product or service. It’s the lifeline that keeps your customers satisfied and coming back for more. Exceptional customer support can set you apart in a competitive market. In the year 2023, almost 100% of these services are done via chat, rather than phone or emails, mostly to ensure that agents working in CS answer as soon as possible, because customers can see when the message is seen, not leaving much room for lazy agents.
Outsourcing customer support service involves entrusting this critical function to a third-party service provider. It means harnessing the expertise and resources of specialists to handle customer inquiries, concerns, and issues on your behalf.
Most companies today don’t have in-house teams for customer support, which means that the majority of customer support teams are outsourced. These teams are made of agents that are highly skilled in communication, problem-solving and perhaps most important qualities, empathy and understanding customers from a human perspective.
We will go through 3 of the many benefits of outsourcing customer support, but there are many more than you can read on the article Benefits of Outsourcing Customer Service:
Outsourcing your customer support can significantly cut operational costs, including salaries, benefits, and office space. This cost-effectiveness can boost your bottom line and allow you to allocate resources where they’re needed most. Even in the long run, a customer support team that consists of agents who have experience and undergo training on a yearly or even monthly level is more cost-efficient than an in-house crew that needs a lot of time to adapt.
Aside from these pros of outsourcing, another factor when using this service that is often overlooked is the demographic who works in customer support. More than half of customer support agents are students who are working only part time or students who will leave the position as soon as they finish their studies. This means that they are essentially “borrowed” and you will have problems with staffing as soon as they leave your in-house team.
Having a good outsourced team eliminates this possibility and makes sure that your resources are being used optimally, ensuring the best service and help for your customers. Having agents that will not only resolve customers problems, but they will like them is a big upside for your firm.
Outsourcing this service offers the flexibility to scale your customer support service up or down quickly. You won’t be limited by hiring and training constraints, ensuring you can meet customer demands when they contact you more during peak seasons.
When your enterprise grows, gaining more clients/ users, having the same in-house team will either sacrifice quality of the communication with customers or time to respond to them. Having a good partner agency for customer support services will not bring these problems, since you can always modify the number of agents in the team.
Of course, there is a fact that the provider of this service must also be able to provide you with more agents if needed, but that is why you leave outsourcing to an experienced brand. Businesses that do these types of services often have a blueprint by which they fulfill clients needs with optimal results for both sides.
Outsourcing companies specialize in customer support, providing access to skilled agents who are available 24/7, whether by phone or via text channels. They bring the expertise and tools needed to handle customer issues promptly and professionally.
Customer support teams that are outsourced have much more experience in the field than an in-house team would. Customer support agent that is versatile and can work in different companies is something that every company wants. This keeps the brand and image of the enterprise on a high level even in the eyes of people that had a bad experience or a problem with their products/services.
The best customer support teams will use tools to do an in-depth analysis of your data and evaluate if customers contact you via chat, email, phone calls or even social media. Depending on the results from this analysis, they will tailor the way of communication with your clients, bringing an accent to one that is being used the most. This will improve the service, making more customers satisfied and overall scaling the business.
The cost of outsourcing customer support can vary depending on the service provider, the level of service you need, and other factors. Many outsourcing companies adopt Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that specify performance expectations and pricing structures. This approach ensures transparency and helps you budget effectively. The question How Much Does It Cost To Outsource Customer Support Service will most likely be answered by every business that provides this service uniquely, since all have their own reasons for pricing.
While there are benefits of having an in-house team, that is in the company from the beginning, doing in-house training aligned with businesses’ motives and mission. Not hiring the right people in this role can be detrimental to the company, leaving a bad impression on customers, costing the business in time and money and ruining reputation with customers, making them not like your establishment on a personal level.
Signing a long-term contract with people who do not align with the companies’ values and mission is a fatal mistake that many employers make. On the other hand, outsourcing customer support service comes with numerous advantages, casting a shadow on in-house CS, including:
Outsourcing customer support frees up your in-house team to concentrate on core business functions, such as product development and marketing. Having your employees worry only about the optimization of the product/ service, rather than thinking about the number of people that have had a bad experience with the business, will skyrocket the performance and efficiency.
From the standpoint of the partner, the agency, agents work only for you and give the full focus and attention to providing the best possible service for your clients. Having help from professionals that are experienced in the field, have undergone high-level training can help your business make a brand of itself in customers’ eyes.
Experienced outsourcing companies can often provide a higher level of customer service expertise compared to in-house solutions. All calls matter and every chat is a chance for the customer to bond with your firm and your brand, so having the help of people who are experienced in this area of work can bring a new level of loyalty from buyers/ users.
People love to know that their voice matters, even in the smallest and less important things. The best customer support agents are the ones that can make people invested in the solution, giving them a feeling that their help was crucial, but also that their opinion matters and is heard from the higher-ups.
Outsourced agents know how to exploit this human behavior and make them feel like they are a partner rather than a customer. This is why outsourcing is one of the best ways to level-up your service to customers.
Outsourced teams can provide 24/7 customer support, ensuring that customer inquiries are handled promptly, regardless of time zones. This is especially important if your company operates in more than one country and even more if the operation is worldwide. Zones can be a big problem for the worldwide operation, leaving customers without an answer for a few hours, meaning that non-stop outsourcing service will do wonders for your customer relations.
Most partner agencies actually have agents that are spread around the world, just for this reason, offering support at any period of the day or night. Having an all-day available problem solving brings a business to a completely new level in 2023. Only the best companies have 24/7 service, making them stand out from the sea of competitors.
As mentioned above, people want to be heard and to know that their opinion matters. Experienced agents are also masters of psychology and human behavior, knowing how to de-escalate the situation with the customer before working on the issue itself.
From food delivery support to complex IT and AI solutions, the most important part of support is understanding people and emotions. For example when a Doordash customer support agent answers to a customer whose food is late 45 minutes and he has guests in the house, the agent’s primary role is to understand the customer and after that comes compensation for late food.
Same principle is with everything that includes working with people, but the best agencies already know this and employees go through constant training to expand their communication skills and overall customer service.
Outsourcing can lead to significant resources savings compared to maintaining a large in-house customer support team.
This can be seen through two simple examples:
- A company that is in the business of making websites for customers sells about 5 products a day if it is a well known brand in the space. Having a CS team that works with a maximum of 5 people a day, but more realistically 1 to 2, is just a recurring fee that drains a hole in the budget on a monthly basis without working most of the day.
Having one professional, experienced agent from an outsourced company is more than enough for this company. On the other hand, you can’t have just one CS agent in-house and more is just an empty expense. So the agency is the best option here.
- On the other hand, a food delivery company, that has thousands of orders daily, needs an in-house team that knows how to efficiently resolve issues with angry and hungry customers in the smalles possible timeframe. Having 50 people reach out via chat or 10 incoming calls simultaneously for a late delivery does not seem like a big deal, but the last one will wait half an hour for an answer, giving him/ her the impression that they are not important and the company does not care about their wellbeing.
This brings to a loss of customers, recurring customers and big spenders on the platform. People who spend a lot of money on the deliveries will feel that they need to be treated first and with the special treatment. If they wait, you lose big spenders, but if they don’t and you prioritize them, other customers feel unimportant and you don’t keep them. The problems are smaller in this case, but there is much more throughout the day, leading to a need for the in-house team.
So what would be the general rule here?
Excluding a few niches of the business, having an in-house team in most cases is really not worth the time it takes for training and incorporating in the culture. In most cases, outsourcing customer support service is ultimately more efficient in terms of budget, efficiency and overall experience. If you are still not sure which one is optimal for your business, Outsourcing Customer Service Pros and Cons List should help you make the decision.
Consider keeping a customer support center in-house when you want complete control over your team, or your support is highly specialized to your industry. As mentioned above, in-house is rarely a better option if the enterprise is not fulfilling at least hundreds of orders/ services a day or is a world-known brand. Use an in-house team only in a few cases, other than that, the best idea is to use an outsourced team.
Outsourcing customer support service is ideal when you need to reduce spending, provide round-the-clock support, scale rapidly, optimize the channels used for this service or access specialized expertise. Aside from benefits that we have already mentioned, there is much more to outsourcing CS. The best agencies will actually automate a good chunk of the job so that they can give full attention to calls and people who reach out via live chat and need something as soon as possible or a more serious issue. This alone can save the business or scale it to new heights.
Measuring the success of your outsourced customer support personnel is vital to ensure your business goals are met. Key performance indicators (KPIs) may include customer satisfaction scores, resolution rates, and overall ticket volume.
Outsourcing customer support can be a game-changer for your business. By understanding its benefits, costs, and the right timing, you can ensure that team provides your customers with top-notch service, ultimately leading to increased satisfaction, loyalty, and growth.
How to outsource Customer Support Correctly in 2023?
To outsource customer support service effectively in 2023, consider factors like agency fees and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that align with your needs and budget. Outsourced customer support team should bring a high level of expertise, quality of work and be a provider of solutions for your customers.
Defining your needs is the first step of the successful process of outsourcing this service, knowing what your average customer needs, how many customers you have daily that need help and much more data so you know what you are looking for.
Here, at SilverBell the blueprint for the process goes in following order:
Customer support service encompasses the assistance and service provided to customers who use your products or services, ensuring their inquiries and issues are promptly addressed. Recent data shows us that outsourcing these services ups the quality of customer experience tremendously. Having a good agency that does this service for the business is essential for the management. Workforce who does not have to “waste” energy on customer support can focus on the product/ service and bring the best to customers.
Aside from the professional point of view, a good customer support center is made of agents that work well in a team, have understanding for each other, help everyone who needs it and overall function well together.
Having more than a dozen people in a customer support center, each of them working in live chat or taking multiple calls can be chaotic for most employees. It is important to have an office that has the capacity for so many people on calls simultaneously or even better, everyone working remotely.
In most cases, the agency has an outsourced customer support center that is not physically put together, but everyone works remotely. This way the service is a bit cheaper, while most people actually like working from home, making everyone fulfill their potential.
Outsourcing customer support involves delegating this vital function to third-party specialists, who handle customer inquiries, concerns, and issues on your behalf, via phone calls or other channels. Becoming a partner with the agency means that they have access to information and means of operations in your business, but handle every problem that buyers have.
In today’s day and age, everything relies on speed. Being first in everything and outpacing competitors is essential to survive in competing with companies that are on the same level and giants in the industry. Since the worldwide brands partner with the biggest and best Customer support agencies or have in-house teams, the only option is for your business to be faster with this service while not losing on quality, bringing into the picture outsourcing.
Outsourcing customer support offers cost efficiency, scalability, and access to expertise, enabling businesses to enhance customer service while reducing operational costs. Customer relations are another key factor to scaling business on the high levels, making customers feel needed and respected and while there are some good in-house teams, this should be left to professionals.
Best Customer support agents will make people feel a part of your business, where their voice matters, as it should be. Outsourcing will bring a new light to relations with each and every customer, making them more likely to recommend your businesses’ services/ products to people they know.
The price of outsourcing customer support services varies based on service providers, service levels, and agreements. Understanding these cost structures is essential for budgeting. Longevity of the contract is also a big part in pricing, aiming for the longer contract should make it more budget friendly, leaving your resources for the production/ research, operations, etc.
Some of the key factors that are taken into consideration when business charges for this service are:
Location: Currently more and more businesses are turning to outsourcing from Asia (India, Philippines, etc.) due to lower labor costs, which is incomparably cheaper than Europe or USA. The use of these employees has tremendously cut down fees for most agencies.
Number of service agents: Depending on the size of the workforce used for the outsourcing service, the cost changes. Having more agents means that every single one can focus on one customer at a time, providing better service, but that comes with a cost.
Hours of operation: Whether it is a 24/7 customer support service or just one shift work, will drastically change the price of outsourcing.
Contract terms: Usually longer contracts mean that it is cheaper on a recurring basis, so determine the time frame that you need this service for. Also, agencies usually have a higher pricing for a bigger brand, so keep in mind if you are already established in your niche.
Training: If the staff does not need to go through additional training for this customer service, will determine the cost of the service itself. Outsourced personnel usually don’t need extra training since they are professionals in providing this service for more than one brand and business throughout their career.
Outsourcing this service offers benefits such as improved focus, enhanced quality, round-the-clock support, scalability, customer satisfaction and making a customer feel heard and respected. Quality of communication is the most important of all these and the sole reason outsourcing is so popular for customer support service.
Outsourcing customer support service improves savings, scalability, and specialized expertise are crucial. Keep it in-house if you need complete control or specialized team tailored to your industry. As an essential service in any business, CS should be on top of the list of priorities that should be optimized as soon as possible, making the business stand out from competitors.
Many entrepreneurs still don’t like the idea of outsourcing customer support service, since they think it pulls away from the company’s culture, but that could not be further from the truth. A good provider of outsourcing services will find a team that your customers/ users will like and actually be invested into communicating with them.
Measure success by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) in every chat and live chat, including customer satisfaction scores, response times, resolution rates, and overall ticket volume. There are a few KPIs that stand out and should be evaluated closely.
Response Time: The first impression is the most important, so make sure that the partner staff keeps their FTRs low and under a minute if possible, so the customer knows that he will not wait long for the service resolution and feel more important.
Resolution Rate: Whole point of Customer support as a service is resolving issues of a customer, whether through call or live chat, which means having a high resolution rate is crucial to know if the staff is doing a good job. Agents who have experience doing these services will have a resolution rate near 100%, resolving issues effortlessly.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score: At the end of every live chat or call, make sure that customer rates the agent and his service, including help, empathy, understanding, response time and quality of service.
Quality of service from your agents will most likely be the level of how much the customers will like them, rather than rational approach, which is how fast the problem was solved, so make sure to have empathic agents that are great communicators.
First Contact Resolution (FCR) Rate: Be sure that most of the problems are resolved in the first contact with the customer, so that they don’t have to waste their time more than once to resolve the same issue, leaving them with a bad impression on your customer relations and service.
A customer that calls or reaches out in live chat more than once will feel that the staff is incompetent and does not provide a good service, making him/ her less likely to return.
Average Handling Time (AHT): Efficient support, aside from some niches of businesses, have lower AHT, making customers wait less, get the solution faster and have to contact less times. Customer who got the solution in 5 minutes will be much more satisfied with the service than the customer who waited for the first response for 10 minutes and got the resolvement in an hour.
Compliance and Accuracy: Following policies and guidelines accurately is the key to effective outsourcing of Customer support services. Agents who have more experience usually are more familiar with overall guidelines and NDA processes, so you will have no problem with that in the outsourcing journey.
Productivity and Workload Management: To know if the partner providing outsourcing services is worth the money you are paying, make sure to evaluate how
The outsourcing landscape is continually evolving. To ensure your venture into outsourcing customer support is successful, consider the following factors:
Choosing the right partner to use for this service will be crucial for the scaling of your entrepreneurial endeavor. Make sure to know exactly what you need, by evaluating available data on your average customer, finding the best provider of this service, training the staff correctly and incorporating them in the business.