business operations

Best questions to ask when outsourcing customer support

Photo of Mui Yoon
by   Mui Yoon

Customer service outsourcing has become a crucial part of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) today with the acceleration of consumers going online. Without brick and mortar stores that come ready with personnel, customers increasingly turn to online for help, advice, and solutions.

Dynamic new business models and fresh approaches combined with human-powered technology offer vibrant customer service that delights your customers. The key is finding the right customer support partner that matches your needs. The right outsourced support company must offer real value in providing high-quality customer support experiences, with packages that flex and scale according to your business needs and seasons. 

Questions to ask  yourself when outsourcing customer support

Why is it essential to outsource customer service?

The Business Process Outsource industry or BPO is a multi-billion-dollar industry offering valuable services that help companies with various tasks requiring specialized human resources, payroll processing, or customer support, among others.

Outsourcing specific functions of your business can free up your time to create or develop better core products and services, improve customer experiences, and focus on building your business. If you and your team are running on empty just replying to constant streams of customer inquiries, outsourcing customer support may be a critical solution for you.

Partnering with a company specializing in providing customer care can be crucial in creating and building lasting customer satisfaction, which is key to your future business growth and success.

When is the right time to outsource customer service?

You do not have to wait until you have reached a point where outsourced support is a necessity. You can start to outsource customer service as soon as you need a dedicated team to speak to your customers. Or when you cannot create a department due to budget constraints or the lack of time for recruitment, training, and management.

Or suppose you run an eCommerce business with seasonal cycles. Your business volumes increase exponentially during sales seasons such as Black Friday or Christmas but are manageable during other times. In that case, it will make sense to engage an outsourced support partner that offers excellent flexibility to scale with your needs.

Outsourcing customer service also allows breathing room for your internal customer support team, especially when running a global business that requires support coverage across different time zones. As such, you’d need a 24/7 support team, even on weekends.

And the success stories speak for themselves. Businesses with an inbox of 250,000+ support tickets were able to clear the backlog, within one month, with Influx support agents.

What customer service functions can you outsource?

Your business has a unique customer journey that requires different solutions for outsourced support for example:

  • Do you need customer service to help drive sales at the start of your customer buying journey?
  • Or do you need support agents to handle only the inquiries that come in after purchase – such as commonly asked questions on delivery status, change of product or addresses, returns and refunds, and updating their personal information on their accounts?
  • Can agents hold conversations with customers on tickets that are above and beyond these queries?
  • Will agents be offering technical support, or is this handled by an in-house team?
  • Are agents authorized to make exchanges or refunds, and up to what value?
  • Do you need your outsourced support team to manage your social media responses, or is this communication channel handled in-house?
  • Which communication channel provides the most effective support for your customers?

These are some of the crucial questions to map out before outsourcing customer service.

How much does it cost to outsource?

Influx packages start at USD999 for a fully-managed shared team of customer support agents that scales up or down according to your needs.

You would need to have fast and flexible customer support where you can commit only to the next month, pay per response or conversation or add more agents when you experience a spike in customer demands.

Ultimately the pricing will depend on various factors. For instance, you may experience a surge in support tickets. Do you have a team ready to step in immediately? What if your in-house team member quits or calls in sick over a peak season? You do not want to be without support, yet you also want to be able to scale down during quiet seasons.

How do you find the best support outsourcing company that fits your needs?

Take time to shortlist the customer support partner assessing the following:

A) Flexibility and ability to scale with your business needs vs. being contractually bound to a particular length of time. You need a customer support partner that offers dynamic, high-quality Support as a Service with options to pay per response as required with a month-to-month format.

B) Ability to consistently deliver high-quality support experiences for customers where a portfolio of high-growth brands, client testimonials, consistent CSAT or NPS customer satisfaction scores, and case studies of successes available as precise indications of experience. Can they clear high volumes of support tickets, and do they have sufficient experience working under intense pressure during peak seasons?

C) A customer service outsourcing company that offers support coverage across time zones for a global business. Distributed customer support agents’ teams also ensure lower costs while providing consistent support 24/7, even on weekends.

Questions to ask your outsourcing agency

Below are a list of questions to consider asking outsourcing agencies while you’re deciding which BPO is best for you. This includes what to ask about the company, your partnership, and contract obligations. 

  1. What services do you offer?
  2. What type of employee training do you provide?
  3. What makes you stand out from other outsourcing agencies?
  4. How long have you been providing each of your services?
  5. Do you have any client referrals, testimonials, or case studies?
  6. How competitive is your pricing?
  7. What security measures are in place to protect your clients?
  8. How do you ensure that your team matches our brand voice?
  9. How often do you communicate with your clients?
  10. How long is the training and onboarding process?
  11. How does your team handle issues with client accounts?
  12. What can we do if my business needs change?
  13. What systems do you use to keep track of our records?
  14. What are your contract obligations?
  15. What is the minimum duration for a contract?
  16. Are there any specific services that will not be covered in my contract?

Influx can answer your support outsourcing questions

Get started with Influx’s simple month-to-month pricing and no lock-in contracts. Scale your customer support as needed with the ability to add more agents, adjust coverage, and add multilingual support. Schedule a call with a member of our team now!

About the author

Photo of Mui Yoon

Mui Yoon

Mui Yoon writes for Influx. A lifelong learner and passionate writer, she believes that the best stories come from curiosity and conversations with people.