Customer Support Outsourcing: A Short Guide for Companies

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Written by Allie Delos Santos

Contents

Saturated markets make it hard for your business to stand out. It’s crucial to use a strategy that gives you an edge. 

Fortunately, you can still profit despite hundreds of competitors by providing excellent customer support that makes you indispensable. How exactly? Easy! Outsource customer support. 

This short guide will show how you can impress your clients by outsourcing customer support. You’ll learn why you need to start outsourcing customer service. We’ll also discuss best practices in customer support outsourcing. 

Ready to learn more? Let’s begin with an important question.

Why Should You Outsource Customer Support?

Why Should You Outsource Customer Support - Portrait of Asian woman customer support phone operator. Concept call center job service. Why companies choose to outsource.

Businesses choose customer support outsourcing intending to reduce costs and maximize competitive advantage in customer experience to boost sales further and increase revenue. 

Successful business leaders recognize the significance of delegating non-core tasks to other companies who can perform a specific task better than their own employees, for a fraction of the cost. If your endgame is becoming the best in customer satisfaction, customer support outsourcing and an optimal customer service staff are the secrets to success. 

What Are the Things You Should Consider in Customer Support Outsourcing?

Businesman thinking with arrows on the background and different words he need to consider when choosing to outsource.

As you consider customer support outsourcing, these factors should help you decide the advantages of working with certain providers over others. These should guide you through figuring out what you want to ensure success in your outsourcing initiative.

Aligned Culture and Core Values

One of the most significant factors you need to pay attention to in customer support outsourcing is whether the provider’s culture and core values align with yours. The outsourcing firm must be transparent, trustworthy, and accountable, and you need to have clear communication regarding this matter. 

The Same Language

You and your customer support outsourcing partner need to speak the same language—literally and figuratively. Having a customer service team who speaks your language and is adept in your mission and branding strategies is invaluable. 

A customer support outsourcing team that is a dedicated supporter of your organization’s success translates into positive outcomes in terms of customer experience and satisfaction. Other important aspects that lead to a long-term relationship with an external team are personalization and the ability to speak with representatives in different languages if needed. 

Proven Processes and Results

From maintaining transparency and accountability to personalizing customer services, it’s crucial to find a customer support outsourcing company that uses tried-and-tested processes that work. 

With that said, change can also happen very quickly, so your outsourcing partner must be open to new technologies, developments, and opportunities for improvement. On top of that, a business process outsourcing (BPO) company that offers accessible communication channels to allow dialogue is essential. 

Ownership

Keeping customers happy means that you need to have customer service representatives who are enthusiastic and dedicated to your company. In addition to that, they need to be memorable. 

Gone are the days of robotic interaction—personalizing customer support interactions is more effective. To achieve stronger long-term relationships with your clients, customer service calls need to be personal, positive, and meaningful in every word. 

The way to make this possible is by driving each customer support agent to use the systems at their disposal to become intimately familiar with your brand and business operations. 

How Do You Choose the Best Customer Support Outsourcing Solution? 

Support. Computer, keyboard, Internet, business and technology.

Picking the best customer support outsourcing service for your business will maximize the benefits and decrease the limitations. Take a look at these four questions you need to ask yourself before committing to a customer support outsourcing provider: 

Physical or Remote Call Center?

The remote work setup is growing in popularity, and there are plenty of good reasons for it. If you’ve had remote employees or tried opening a remote workforce, then you already know the upsides and downsides that come with it. The same upsides and downsides come into play when picking a customer support outsourcing service you’d like to hire.

A remote call center brings several advantages:

  • Talent sourcing: Similar to general remote work, call centers hiring remote employees have access to the best talent pool they can find. Physical location does not restrict their recruitment capability.
  • Redundancy: If your customer support agents work remotely, you need not worry that something like a natural disaster, power outages, or poor weather can disrupt your workflow. 
  • Employee Satisfaction: The remote work setup correlates with improved employee wellness, higher satisfaction rates, fewer unscheduled absences, and more loyal employees. 

Outsourcing customer service to physical call centers will cause you to miss out on the benefits above. But having a physical call center can solve a problem that most remote teams struggle to solve: building camaraderie and connections. 

If you choose remote customer support outsourcing, just make sure to put in extra effort to develop connections among your team members. 

Onshore or Offshore Outsourcing?

The common assumption about customer support outsourcing is farming out work to another country. Although common, that’s always the case. In some instances, outsourcing customer support to an onshore provider makes more sense. 

One of the most significant advantages of offshore outsourcing is that it’s almost always cheaper. If the country of your choice has a lower cost of living, it allows you to hire experienced support experts and pay them a competitive rate while still spending less than you would with agents of equal caliber from your area.

Another significant advantage of offshore outsourcing is that you can find a larger pool of talent abroad, and they can be available to support multiple time zones. Countries such as the Philippines are home to plenty of customer support experts.

Onshore outsourcing also brings two significant benefits to consider. One of which is the familiarity with the culture. If a big chunk of your customer base is domestic, local support agents can easily understand their concerns and problems. But with a robust training program, international agents can handle almost every question that local agents can. 

The second potential advantage of onshore outsourcing has something to do with perception. Some clients might view outsourcing to another country unfavorably. 

Deciding whether to outsource internationally or domestically needs thought and sensitivity. If you think your customers would view overseas customer support outsourcing unfavorably, then domestic outsourcing is the best fit for your company. 

Finally, don’t think that you must choose between onshore and offshore outsourcing. In many cases, companies use a hybrid model that uses both local and international customer support agents. 

The hybrid model produces many remarkable results. With this setup, you can segment your work based on your team members’ skill set or establish temporary solutions while you train offshore agents to become experts in certain workflows. 

Which Location Should You Outsource To?

If you decide that you’ll get more benefits from outsourcing to a provider from another country, the next logical question to ask yourself is: Which country should I choose?

As mentioned earlier, some countries have a large pool of talent, making them an excellent choice for customer support outsourcing. The most common countries for offshore outsourcing are the Philippines, India, Central America, Mexico, and Eastern Europe. 

The most crucial aspect you need to consider when selecting a country to outsource to is your business needs. For instance, if you need customer support representatives who speak European languages, Eastern Europe is your best bet. 

If you need agents who speak fluent English and Spanish, consider outsourcing to countries such as the Philippines and Mexico. For general customer service in English, the Philippines is a great fit. Additionally, most customer support outsourcing companies in the Philippines can work in any time zone, making it a great choice if you plan to create a 24/7 operation. 

Other things you should consider in selecting a country to outsource to are tech infrastructure, literacy rates, political stability, and costs. 

Shared or Dedicated Agents?

It’s common for many companies to outsource customer support to service providers that use shared agents. Shared agents are those who answer customer support tickets for multiple companies. Although you might need this option if you don’t have the resources for a dedicated team or your ticket volume is low, it can lead to unsurprising difficulties. 

Since shared agents support multiple companies at once, they are likely to have difficulty getting intimately familiar with your brand and product. They might struggle to respond to customer queries in a nuanced way. If you choose this customer support outsourcing strategy, consider delegating only simple tickets as password resets to your external team. 

On the other hand, dedicated agents are dedicated to delivering support for your business. This provides several advantages. For one, they can focus on becoming closely familiar with your brand, culture, and product. 

Dedicated agents are also easier to integrate with your internal team. Lastly, since dedicated agents have a more profound understanding of your business strategies, they can quickly provide feedback to improve your operations. 

Best Practices in Customer Support Outsourcing 

Call center support agents with supervisor discussing after call details.

The Microsoft State of Global Customer Service report shows that 97% of consumers highly value customer support. The report also shows that customer experience will surpass price and product as the primary brand determiner. 

Check out the following best practices in customer support outsourcing to help improve customer experience: 

  • Be quick to solve problems, respond to questions and queries, and rectify requests.
  • Use analytics to determine your average response time and constantly improve it.
  • Use billing history, call history, contact information, and other data to predict customers’ needs before they even ask a question.
  • Train call center agents to use their names and personalize service. They can offer customers similar products and let those customers know about upcoming rewards and sales.
  • Set up analytical tools to monitor agents and their performance. Set up key performance indicators (KPIs) to benchmark their performance.
  • Continuously look for opportunities to improve your call center practices and performance. 

Final Thoughts

Outsourcing customer support to an external service provider is a big decision. You need to conduct your due diligence to find a team that matches your business needs and will help you attain your goals. 

But from a business perspective, making the big decision can be worth it, as it will help you keep your customers happy, build stronger relationships, and keep them loyal to you. Are you considering customer support outsourcing as a way to take your business to the next level? Do you have questions that you wish to be answered? Feel free to connect with us and share them with our team.

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