The pandemic has accelerated consumer use of digital and e-commerce channels for work, play, shopping, exercise, and just about every aspect of life, and with that comes new opportunities for businesses to engage with customers and even delight them!
Whether your business is undergoing rapid growth or you are unable to devote time to training and recruiting an in-house team, outsourcing customer service is an effective way to provide dedicated support capacity for your customers without sacrificing your time to build the business or improve the customer experience.
The right ways to outsource customer service
Customer support outsourcing is part of a billion-dollar industry termed Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), where companies outsource various functions such as human resources, payroll, social media management, and customer service.
Dynamic, human-powered technology and modern processes steer outsourced customer support today, underpinned by fast and flexible monthly arrangements that meet your needs throughout different seasons. The idea of outsourced customer support agents crammed into a single call center is outdated.
So, if you are looking to outsource customer service effectively, here are five essential points to consider:
1. Know what you need to outsource first
What are the key communication channels for your customers?
There are many communication channels to connect with your customers – live chat, email, voice support, and social media. Each comes with its own merits – live chat is the most popular, as customers get an instant reply, while voice support provides that reassuring human touch to your customers. Email support is hugely personal as your message is channelled directly into your customers’ inbox, where you can be as detailed as possible, especially when dealing with complaints or angry customers.
What works best for you to connect with your customers and provide relevant support? Perhaps you need to outsource all of these channels as combined as multichannel support.
Count the costs of communication channels
The costs of operating each customer support channel vary. For example, it takes a customer support agent triple the amount of time to manage a single phone call than to handle live chat. As such, you may need to evaluate having dedicated support agents vs shared agents. Shared agents deliver support for several clients, whereas dedicated support agents provide customer support for only your company. As such, they will be easily integrated into your in-house team, allowing them to be very familiar with your product, service, culture, and brand language.
And suppose your business runs on seasonal cycles as eCommerce brands do. You’d need to outsource customer support to a company that offers flexible, scalable arrangements where you can increase support agents as needed or scale back when support tickets are fewer.
What are the times and languages you require for your customer service?
Flexibility is where outsourced customer service has its most significant strength. For example, Influx operates out of eight countries to provide 24/7 support, including weekends. This means that operations continue across time zones even with unexpected.
Remote teams of support agents with the flexibility to work from wherever they are based can have greater motivation and satisfaction, allowing for a high level of care for your customers.
2. Shortlist and compare companies providing customer service outsourcing
With an abundance of companies offering outsourced customer service, it is crucial to consider which company best fits your needs as you are entrusting your customers to someone else’s care.
You would also need to seek out a company that shares your brand values and vision to transition to outsourcing customer service seamlessly. For example, here’s what Influx co-founder Leni Mayo shares with every new hire in the company on our brand values centering on confidence and trust.
Client testimonials also play a part, as you would want a company with a proven track record of delivering consistently high-quality customer support experiences. You can trust a company with an abundance of publicly available case studies and testimonials alongside quantifiable critical metrics of customer service satisfaction such as CSAT and NPS.
3. Schedule trials and training
When you sign on as a client, there should be a straightforward onboarding process that could launch your support team quickly.
How to switch to outsourcing your customer service
Initial meetings should be held with your dedicated team leaders to set clear goals and benchmarks and to have a thorough understanding of your customer service process and needs. These meetings enable the selection of customer support agents who would be the best fit for your business.
You can then schedule training with your support agents, including sample responses to ensure your brand voice is perfectly matched so that customer conversations would be seamless. Simultaneously, technical engineers will be connecting to your helpdesk and chat platform for seamless integration.
4. Ensure your customer support team has the right tools
The heart of customer service outsourcing is about having an external team of support agents who care about your customers as much as you do so that they carry out customer interactions the way you would.
And for that to happen, training and clear expectations on how your outsourced support agents should speak to your customers are crucial. There is a dedicated team member for this function in every successful partnership, which outsourced support companies have with their clients.
You’d also need to have specific tools and processes ready, including customer policies such as your return policy, shared inboxes, self-service help centers such as a Knowledge Base or complete FAQs, automated workflows, helpful automation, and customer database and relationship management.
5. Refine the process
When you outsource customer service, there must be a “cooling off” period after training your customer support team and assessing their practiced replies. This period allows you and the team to give crucial feedback with solutions and amendments before your new support team goes live.