Written by Dion Jay Tality
Customer service is crucial to business success. It can help you get and keep customers for good. But you must have a robust operation with a solid workforce and advanced technology.
Outsourcing is key to your customer service optimization. However, you should know how to outsource such a customer-facing function in the best way possible. More importantly, make sure you hire a BPO company best suited for your business.
This article covers the right way to outsource your customer service needs and some practical tips.
Study Your Market
Fortune Business Insights reported that the global customer experience was worth $10.11 billion last year. It could grow from $11.34 billion in 2022 to $32.53 billion in 2029, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.2%. These statistics show how crucial it is to improve customer experience for business success.
However, before deciding to outsource, you must understand your market. Assess your target market, particularly your consumer needs. Conduct research and due diligence to know how to meet these needs.
From there, you can consider using BPO. But what is business process outsourcing (BPO)?
BPO is entrusting some aspects of your business operations to a third-party service provider. You can access a robust workforce, the latest technologies, and advanced resources. It’s a practical solution for optimizing customer service and boosting customer satisfaction.
Assess Your Customer Service Operation
In today’s business landscape, customer service can directly impact business success. Customer service representatives play a vital role in acquiring new customers and keeping old ones. But poor service can drive them away.
Over half of American consumers would choose another company due to poor customer service. Also, 61% of customers would immediately switch to a competitor after one bad experience. Unfortunately, it takes 12 positive customer experiences to compensate for one negative experience.
After studying your market, examine your current customer service operation. For instance, check for the following:
- Limited workforce
- Outdated tools
- Insufficient resources.
Also, conduct surveys to get customer feedback. Identifying operational challenges will allow you to outsource your customer service needs reasonably.
Look for the Right BPO Service Provider
The key to customer service success is hiring the right BPO company. After studying your market and evaluating your current operation, you can look for a third-party service provider, considering key factors such as:
- Business reputation: Whether outsourcing data entry services or customer service, check the BPO reputation. First, ensure your third-party service provider has a license to operate. Also, choose a vendor that has earned certifications and received awards.
- Experience and expertise: Search for a BPO company that has experience in handling customer service. Also, ensure it specializes in your company’s industry. The longer its experience, the better it can scale your customer service operation. But focus on the quality of experience over longevity.
- Customer service channels: A contact center isn’t always the best customer service channel. Some BPO companies offer live chat, email support, and self-service support. Others even provide social media management for customer service. Hire a BPO company offering various channels for your operation.
- Workforce: Employees are the most valuable assets in customer-facing tasks. Your customer service representatives must be highly knowledgeable and skilled. When outsourcing, check if the BPO provider’s employees undergo stringent screening and proper training.
- Technology and resources: Both play a crucial role in today’s business landscape, particularly in the BPO industry. Deloitte identified cloud computing, automation, and artificial intelligence (AI) as top digital enablers. Hire a BPO company with the latest technologies and advanced resources for customer service.
- Pricing model: Deloitte also mentioned cost reduction as the top reason for outsourcing. Consider cost savings if you’re looking to outsource your customer service needs. Ask for BPO pricing structures from various prospects and pick the best deal. Outsourcing will help you save in the long run.
Customer service isn’t merely answering questions, processing requests, and resolving issues. It’s about pursuing a long-term relationship, where every interaction leads to customer engagement. So hire the right BPO service provider that can kick your customer service operation up a notch.
Create a Service-level Agreement (SLA)
An SLA is a contract between a company and its hired third-party vendor, defining the relationship between the two parties. The contract details the duties and responsibilities of the BPO service provider.
After finding the right BPO service provider to work with, you should create an SLA. While measuring performance, the contract guides your BPO company in delivering customer service.
When you outsource customer service needs, include SLA details such as:
- Business goals or objectives (particularly for your customer service operation)
- Key performance indicators (service efficiency, quality and compliance, and customer satisfaction)
- Detailed customer service functions or tasks
- Duties and responsibilities of customer service representatives
- Customer service channels (contact center, live chat, email support, and self-service option)
- Standard reporting procedures (daily, weekly, or monthly reports)
- Incentives for exceeding SLAs and penalties for not meeting SLAs
- Outsourcing timeline for your customer service operation
Start Your BPO Customer Service Operation
After creating an SLA, it’s time to kick off your customer service operation. Give your third-party service provider the liberty to execute its operation. However, make sure to give them the necessary support at the outset to smooth the path forward.
In its 2022 research on customer service trends 2022, Zendesk found that almost 3/4 of business leaders reported a direct link between customer service and business performance. Excellent customer service can win new business, increase retention, and boost sales.
The report highlights some benefits, including:
- 93% of consumers will patronize companies providing their preferred customer service options.
- 90% of consumers will spend on companies offering personalized customer service experiences.
- 60% of companies say that excellent customer service improves retention.
- 64% of business leaders believe that excellent customer service impacts business growth.
The benefits above should be your business goals for your customer service operation. Those are the top reasons you’re outsourcing in the first place. Your BPO service provider must optimize customer service, win customers, and boost your business.
Track Progress and Assess Results
Once you outsource your customer service needs, constantly examine your BPO progress. You set key performance indicators (KPIs) to gauge outsourcing performance. The goal is to ensure that your BPO service provider hits the key metrics.
Furthermore, make sure to review monthly reports and assess performance results. Sit down with your BPO management team and identify areas for improvement. More importantly, plan on improving your customer service operation. BPO customer service requires constant monitoring and operational adjustments.
In e-commerce customer service outsourcing, examine your customer service efficiency, quality, and customer satisfaction. Your BPO operation probably has service efficiency problems. Increase your workforce headcounts, simplify the order fulfillment process, and automate inventory management outsourcing. All these can help make your customer service operation as efficient as possible.
6 Tips for Optimizing Your Customer Service Operation
Once your BPO operation is up, running, and fully operational, you should optimize it. While entrusting it to your hired service provider, stay on top of this. Here are some bonus tips for customer service outsourcing:
- Align BPO practices with your business objectives. You should reevaluate your current goals when you outsource customer service needs. Also, orient your BPO service provider on these objectives to ensure business alignment. Your internal and external vendors should work together toward achieving common business goals.
- Set key performance indicators (KPIs). When creating an SLA, you and your BPO service provider should create KPIs. Customer service metrics include service efficiency, quality and compliance, and customer satisfaction. Ensure these KPIs dictate your BPO company’s business practices for operational success.
- Ensure constant communication and collaboration. Outsourcing customer support doesn’t end with hiring a BPO service provider. Never leave your customer service function to an external vendor altogether. Why? BPO requires regular communication and collaboration to ensure successful operation. In the end, BPO entails pursuing business partnerships.
- Use omnichannel solutions for improved customer experience. Look for a BPO company with omnichannel solutions. Instead of hiring a contact center, consider outsourcing email support and live chat. Also, look for a vendor that offers self-service options and social media management. Omnichannel solutions can boost your customer experience and translate to customer satisfaction.
- Use the latest tools and technologies. Every business should keep up with the latest tools and technologies, including in customer service operations. Work with a BPO service provider that invests in advanced resources. Consider BPO technology trends such as cloud computing, robot process automation, and artificial intelligence.
- Promote a customer-centric culture. Customer service revolves around taking good care of your customers. When you outsource customer service needs, make customers your top priority. Always promote a customer-focused culture by ensuring your BPO provider greets customers, actively listens, shows empathy, and resolves issues.
The Bottom Line
Businesses need to maintain their customer service operation. The ultimate goal is to provide outstanding services and meet customer needs.
So it’s time to optimize your customer service operation. If you lack staffing and resources, consider using business process outsourcing. However, know the right way to outsource your customer service needs. Follow the steps outlined above and make sure you hire a reliable BPO company.
You can win customers and increase your bottom line with excellent customer service.