Written by Dion Jay Tality
In today’s business landscape, tech support is vital. Almost all companies have an IT team with support specialists. Not only do they fix technical issues, but they also ensure continuous business operations.
Unfortunately, tech support can be complex. It requires relevant knowledge, skill, and expertise. It also calls for the latest technologies and advanced resources. Hence, outsourced technical support is the answer to handling this complicated function.
But how do you outsource your tech support?
This article provides a step-by-step guide on how to outsource tech support. The steps are grouped into three stages you go through when outsourcing.
Before Outsourcing Technical Support
Tech support outsourcing allows an external vendor to handle technical support services. Hired technical support specialists assist customers by fixing technical issues.
Outsourcing tech support to an IT business process outsourcing (BPO) firm is an excellent business decision. But what is an outsourced IT provider? It’s a third-party service provider specializing in IT support services, on top of which is technical support.
But before outsourcing tech support, you need to take some steps.
Step 1: Study Your Industry
Tech support isn’t entirely confined to IT firms and technology businesses. Almost all companies from various industries now need a tech support team. The team handles technical issues of two key stakeholders: employees and customers.
But before outsourcing, you must first study your industry. Understand your sector’s BPO trends and your target market needs. See whether it’s worth outsourcing your tech support. With these in mind, you’ll make informed BPO decisions.
Step 2: Know the Outsourcing Pros and Cons
BPO has long been effective for scaling companies of all sizes. This industry shows no sign of stopping or even slowing down. However, outsourcing also comes with some potential drawbacks and risks. Whether you outsource data entry, customer service, or tech support, know the BPO pros and cons.
Outsourcing can help you:
- Reduce operating costs
- Focus on your core functions
- Access a reliable workforce
- Use technologies and resources
- Improve business performance
- Scale and grow your business
But you might also encounter such challenges as:
- Misalignment of business goals
- Cultural differences
- Communication barriers
- Collaboration challenges
- Brand disconnection
- A lack of focus
- Security risks
- Business disruptions
Before you outsource your tech support, weigh its pros and cons. Assess your current operation and see whether outsourcing is worth all the risks.
Step 3: Define Your Business Goals
Defining your business objectives is imperative. Set clear goals and ask yourself what you hope to achieve from these. This critical step also applies to tech support outsourcing.
Before hiring a BPO firm, determine your reasons for outsourcing tech support. Aside from your primary business objectives, set specific goals for your tech support operation. See what you plan to achieve from BPO for this business function.
Step 4: Identify Challenges in Tech Support
After defining business goals, it’s time to audit your current tech support operation. The goal is to see what areas of operation need significant improvement, as well as to assess if operational aspects are worth outsourcing.
You should outsource your tech support when you encounter challenges such as:
- Zero to minimal workforce
- Limited technical knowledge and skills
- A lack of advanced technologies and resources
- Backlogs in technical support operation
- Unresolved cases or unclosed tickets
- Increasing customer complaints
If you face one or some of the problems above, it’s time to outsource your tech support. You might need help from an external vendor with an expert workforce and advanced resources. A BPO service provider can boost your tech support operation and scale your business.
When Considering a BPO Service Provider
According to Grand View Research, the global outsourcing market was worth almost $246 billion in 2021. It might achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.1% from 2022 to 2030.
Another report cites that the global IT outsourcing market was worth $333.7 billion in 2019. It might reach $397.6 billion in 2025.
Indeed, more companies rely on tech support outsourcing. It will make sense if you do the same.
Whether front- or back-office outsourcing services, the right BPO partner can boost your business.
Step 5: Look for the Right BPO Service Provider
It’s time to search for the right BPO partner, whether you outsource data entry services or tech support. When looking for a BPO service provider, consider crucial factors, including:
- BPO credentials: Hire a BPO firm legally allowed to operate. Check its business license, along with standard certifications and BPO awards received.
- Technical expertise: Choose a BPO service provider specializing in technical support. Examine its years of experience and areas of expertise.
- Robust workforce: Look for a BPO company consisting of a solid crew. After all, the technical support representatives are on the front line. They ensure day-to-day tech support operations.
- Advanced technology: Opt for providers with the latest technologies when outsourcing tech support. Capitalize on technology trends in BPO such as cloud computing, automation, and artificial intelligence (AI).
- Facility and resources: In addition to technology, factor in your BPO firm’s infrastructure. See whether it has advanced equipment, stable phone lines, and fast internet connections.
- Business reputation: Check business websites, online reviews, and client feedback. Their business reputation speaks volumes of how reliable these BPO firms are. Hire a BPO partner with a good reputation.
- Pricing structure: Don’t forget to check the pricing model and see whether it suits your business. Hire a BPO service provider that will help you save in the long run.
Step 6: Create a Service-level Agreement (SLA)
An SLA is a contract that defines your relationship with your BPO partner. But it doesn’t only detail the duties and responsibilities of your hired firm. It covers almost all aspects of your tech support operation handled by your service provider.
After hiring a BPO company to work with, create an SLA. Include the following in the contract:
- Technical support goals and objectives
- Key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Scope of work of your tech support team
- Specific roles and responsibilities of technical support specialists
- Hours of tech support operation
- Channels used for providing tech support
- Incentives for meeting the SLA terms
- Penalties for failing the SLA and non-adherence to business policies
- BPO timeline (how long the tech operation will be)
Step 7: Create Business Processes and Ensure Quality Control
Your BPO partner can now prepare for executing tech support operations with an SLA. However, it won’t hurt to provide them with the utmost help and support at the onset.
First, you must create business processes for your tech support. Help them streamline workflows, automate certain functions, and train employees. Also, you must set quality control. Orient your quality assurance specialists because they will be responsible for monitoring performance and meeting the SLA terms.
Step 8. Start BPO Tech Support Operation
At this point, it looks like everything is in place. Your BPO service provider can now start its tech support operation.
Giving your BPO partner the liberty to execute such an operation is essential. But always be ready to offer help and support. Expect many adjustments made at the onset.
Furthermore, take note that technical support typically has three tiers:
- Tech Support Level 1: This tier handles common technical problems. Technical support specialists can resolve these almost immediately.
- Tech Support Level 2: This tier deals with more advanced technical problems. Technical support specialists must raise a ticket, which might take time to resolve.
- Tech Support Level 3: This tier requires a dedicated team for complex technical problems. Instead of a BPO service provider, an in-house department usually handles these complicated issues.
Below are the duties and responsibilities of technical support specialists.
- Assist employees and customers with technical issues
- Troubleshoot hardware and software problems
- Repair or replace product parts and components
- Examine and diagnose network issues
- Check system issues and make necessary updates
- Record and file instructional manuals and warranties
- Examine and assess new tools and technologies
During Actual BPO Operation
Clutch surveyed small businesses to find their outsourcing reasons. The study revealed that 33% of companies outsource to access resources. Also, 27% want to improve efficiency, 26% to leverage experts, and 19% to support business growth.
BPO comes with several potential benefits. But this doesn’t mean you can entirely leave your business operations to your BPO partner. Whether front- or back-office outsourcing, take a few crucial steps to ensure your BPO success.
When you outsource your tech support, take these steps for your actual BPO operation:
Step 9: Regularly Communicate and Collaborate
When companies hire BPO partners, they provide support and help at the outset. But when the BPO operations go smoothly, they tend to leave everything to their service providers. Unfortunately, this action can be a recipe for business chaos and failed operations.
BPO means developing a business partnership with your service provider. When outsourcing tech support, make sure to communicate with them regularly. Constant collaboration is vital. To ensure outsourcing success, you must always stay on top of your BPO operation.
Step 10: Track BPO Progress and Evaluate Results
In line with constant communication and collaboration, track your BPO progress. As mentioned above, you must set quality control. Also, your SLA should define your KPIs. Below are standard key metrics for tech support.
- Service Efficiency: This metric refers to how fast your specialists handle and resolve cases. Average handling time (AHT) is a perfect example of this metric for a contact center. It measures how fast you assist customers and handle calls.
- Quality and Compliance (QC): This metric measures the quality of tech support services. It also measures the specialists’ adherence to business policies. QC score tracks whether they strictly follow the workflows.
- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): This metric is the most critical KPI for tech support. CSAT allows you to gauge if customers are happy with your services. These customers usually receive surveys they can take. Their feedback will help you understand their needs and improve your services.
Furthermore, your BPO partner should furnish weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports. From there, take the initiative to study and assess the results. See whether your BPO operation is doing well or whether you must tackle some areas of improvement.
Step 11: Optimize Tech Support Operation
BPO operations require constant progress and development. The reason they track processes and you evaluate reports is to optimize your tech support. Once you see areas of opportunity, you can plan to improve your services.
Below are some practical tips for optimizing your tech support operation.
- Provide constant tech support updates
- Upskill your technical support specialists
- Streamline your tech support workflows
- Automate your business processes
- Invest in the latest digital tools and technologies (AI, automation, cloud computing, etc.)
- Use omnichannel solutions (phone calls, live chat, email, social media, and self-service options)
- Strengthen your online security
- Get regular customer feedback through surveys
Step 12: Scale and Grow Your Business
Technical support is just one facet of your business. However, it’s integral to your operations. It can help contribute to your overall business success.
For one, providing tech support for your employees means undisrupted business operations. Employees can perform their day-to-day functions. If they encounter technical issues, these can get fixed almost immediately.
In addition, handling technical issues promptly and effectively leads to customer satisfaction. When customers are always happy, they continue to patronize your business. They buy your products or hire your services, thus increasing your sales and revenue.
Hence, optimizing your tech support can help scale your business. Upskilling your workforce and leveraging technologies can further improve your operation. All these can translate into business growth and success.
The Bottom Line
A solid tech support team can contribute to your business’ success. It can ensure undisrupted operation by fixing employees’ technical issues. It can also assist customers with technical problems and provide them with a satisfying customer experience, which can translate into a boost in business profits.
Outsourcing your technical support is an excellent business decision. It gives you access to an expert workforce, the latest technology, and updated resources. It also helps improve your business processes and performance. Make sure to follow the detailed steps above in outsourcing tech support.
Taking the proper technical support outsourcing steps will help you get off on the right foot. Ultimately, it will help your business grow and succeed.