business operations

Top 5 questions to ask when hiring an outsourcing agency

Photo of Mikayla Fuller
by   Mikayla Fuller
August 10, 2022

Influx has built support teams for more than 300 high-growth brands in the US, Australia, and Europe. We hire, train, and empower a remote community with the top 1% of customer support agents, spread over 120+ cities. Learn more about how it works

If you’re looking to gain access to skilled expertise, increase efficiency, focus on your business, cut costs, and increase revenue, outsourcing is the way to go. Outsourcing has been a trend since the late 1980s and can be a cost-effective way to gain expert assistance and free up your employee’s priority list. 

With 54% of all companies using third-party support teams to connect with customers (Fortunly), outsourced support is no longer ‘taboo’, but provides greater competitive advantages and allows you to improve focus on core business activities. However, outsourcing is a business relationship that involves preparation and communication before committing. To ensure that you are making the best choice for your business, there are a few things to consider before partnering with an outsource agency. Let’s dive in! 

When should you hire an outsourcing agency?

Perhaps you’ve been building a team or developing new programs, but haven’t been able to scale. Or perhaps, your in-house resources are becoming strained. If you’ve considered outsourcing, you’ve probably asked, ‘Is this the right time to outsource?’ There are a few signifiers that put your business in need of outsourced support. Consider the following:

  • When you need to lower costs
  • When you’re growing fast 
  • When you want training and management handled 
  • When you need to free up time and resources to strategize and implement 
  • When you want to scale and flex your operation
  • When you need to focus on your business-critical
  • When you want clear performance metrics 
  • When you’re looking to close more deals and book more calls 
  • When you want to improve customer experience 

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why outsourced support is in the cards for your business. It’s valid to feel uneasy giving over aspects of your business to a partner who doesn’t know your business the way you do, and we understand that. You’ll want to look for an agency that provides training and management for all agents to improve response quality, coverage, and channel ownership. In regards to your brand, support teams will need to act exactly as you train them to act - perfectly matching your brand voice.

Before you sign on the dotted line, get to know the agency you’re considering to see if they would integrate seamlessly with your current operations. After all, the last thing you want is to shock your customers with obvious, different communication. 

Questions to ask your outsourcing agency

1. Can you show me examples of previous work that pertains to my business?

Making sure the company you are interviewing has a track record of success stories in your industry or a related area proves that they are capable of handling your customer support. It’s a red flag if an outsource agency cannot provide you with proof of previous work that has driven results. Then, after you’ve had the chance to review their work, you can decide if it’s along the lines of what you are looking for. 

Another great practice is to request references. Speaking with previous clients and learning about their experience when vetting a potential partner can make you more confident in your decision to move forward or not with an outsourcing company. 

How we would answer: 

We have a few case studies, but these are merely a fraction of the 300+ high-growth brands that we’ve partnered with over the past few years. Chances are extremely likely that we have worked with clients who are in the same business category as yours. We can deliver many separate examples of the style of support that you have in mind. Although each business is unique and your customer base will require its own attentively planned strategy, we’d be more than happy to provide additional examples of our previous work upon request! Contact our sales team to see how we can support you. 

2. What is your process?

Allow the agency to walk you through their process for how they intend to drive results. They should have multiple solutions and resources for problematic areas and should be able to provide options for you to have a say in to improve pain points. This is your opportunity to validate that the agency would compliment your department. In both theory and reality, businesses with tried-and-true methods and distinct organizational structures will bring you the most success. 

How we would answer: 

With a dedicated and scalable support team, you can focus on building your business. Influx manages your team so you can focus on growth. We run three types of autonomous management to improve response quality, coverage, and channel ownership. Every agent reports to a local manager, while we also use a client-specific manager to run client-specific training, Quality Assurance, and reviews. Lastly, we use custom reports to track agent success and compare their performance to benchmarks. Tried ande true, this process has not only brought about tremendous success and optimization for our own business, but has time and time again proved that our clients can scale and flex as needed with our on-demand support teams. Learn more about how it works

3. What is your team’s expertise? 

Pairing your organization with an outsourcing team that specializes in the type of support you need is important. The agency may offer many solutions, but clarifying their expertise helps you ensure that they are as good as they say regarding a specific area of support. Outsourcing doesn’t pose any risk to in-house management. It extends a management team and helps in achieving higher quality outcomes. However, taking the time to ascertain that they can pair well with your company and deliver results within designated deadlines ensures that you can trust their expertise to handle business support. 

How we would answer: 

We prioritize recruiting top-notch customer experience agents. These agents tend to have 2-3 years of related experience and a University degree in fields associated with customer experience and customer support such as tourism, hospitality, retail, etc. Our management system allows us to continuously monitor workflow to exceed expectations. Every day we build to optimize and drive better results based on trackable metrics. For a sneak peek into our organizaton, check out our work culture page

4. How flexible can you be? 

As your business scales, you will need an agency who is flexible with these adjustments, listens to you, and offers advanced solutions. What works for one business and its customers may not work for another. Having an open mind and being willing to test different approaches to support that is specifically tailored to your business and customer needs is vital. The world around us is always changing, but by remaining in the same, traditional workflow, it minimizes results. 

How we would answer: 

We were founded on the concept of helping our clients flex and scale depending on what they need and want. We prioritize ongoing training, communication, and data so that we can predict trends and maximize holistic support. One way that we do this is by setting up a ‘Slack Bridge,’ meaning you can either speak directly to our team from your own Slack account or we can connect you to ours. This allows you to speak to your dedicated client captain or ops manager to see which agents are answering tickets. We see our team as an extension of your team, so we want to give you 1:1 access as needed.

5. What is the onboarding process like and how long would it take to being support?

If your business and team is in need of support, it’s not something that can be held off. To avoid drowning in tickets, frustrating customers, and backloging problems, it’s important to find an outsource agency who can provide the support you need as soon as possible. Considering an agency who has had years of experience with onboarding means that no time is being wasted in immediately beginning to learn the ins and outs of support solutions for your business. 

How we would answer: 

Influx trains in days, not weeks, and onboards. Our teams are ready to launch in one week. After training in your brand voice, our agents do not begin responding to tickets until you have had a chance to review, are comfortable, and have given the green light to proceed. This ensures seamless integration with ongoing customer experience support for both the current team and customers. Start onboarding today, to get support in seven days. 

Outsource with Influx 

Influx has built support teams for more than 300+ high-growth brands across the US, Australia, and Europe. Our goal is to make your customers happier and your working life simple, 24/7. Influx offers a complete support operation on-demand. Powered by support professionals around the globe, we handle everything for your company: people, hiring, onboarding, training, and management so you can get back to your priorities. Getting started is easy, just reach out to our sales team!

About the author

Photo of Mikayla Fuller

Mikayla Fuller

Mikayla is an avid copywriter. If she’s not out on an adventure, you can find her somewhere with a book in hand.