Written by Allie Delos Santos
Software support is often on companies’ back burners. It is a direct channel between businesses and their clients. But the significance of comprehensive software support seems to take a back seat when the budget is low.
Software developers and publishers often provide tech support to ensure customer satisfaction. Other times, businesses use outsourced technical support and third-party solutions.
This article focuses on outsourced software support. It covers features, benefits, and a few disadvantages. Read on to learn more.
What Is Software Support?
Software support is the service that programming companies provide for their products. Typically, assistance from IT support specialists is available for registered end users. This is an on-demand service, and support specialists engage with customers only when those users encounter issues. The support type and response time depend on the issue and the staff’s responsibility outlined in the outsourcing contract.
Customer software support has different levels of intensity in support, depending on the user issue. Those levels of software support are:
- Level 1: The lowest level is self-help. In this case, you only need to provide customers with clear instructions to solve issues themselves.
- Level 2: This level is basic support that includes issues such as password reset and requires entry-level assistance.
- Level 3: This level includes expert product knowledge and support. For instance, software performance problems require staff with a software engineering background—those proficient in the product’s operational side.
Why Is Software Support Important?
Providing software support is crucial because you must ensure that every end user receives the assistance they need when using your product. After all, your product is a tool, so clients expect it to run smoothly.
The consequences of software failure are severe; hence, a good support solution is necessary. And help desks are crucial for that. According to Hubspot, help desk systems improve the productivity of 86% of service teams.
What Does Software Support Outsourcing Mean?
Software support outsourcing means contracting outside vendors for their services. It can involve back-office outsourcing or using software that automatically responds to tickets.
Tech support outsourcing is not a new concept. It has been around for decades and has changed significantly since its start in the ‘60s.
Before, software support outsourcing companies were called service bureaus. They provided processing jobs for clients on their systems and returned the results in green-bar paper printouts.
New trends allow software support outsourcing to deliver a more personalized experience, as well as a faster response. The most common services you can get from outsourced software support providers are:
- Hardware and software installation guides
- System monitoring for compliance, security, and performance
- Remote customer support
- Inbound tech and software support team for troubleshooting issues
- Networking and configuration of devices
- Outsourced data entry services
Why Do Companies Outsource Software Support?
Companies outsource software support for many reasons.
- Cost savings. Companies find hiring an external support provider cheaper. They don’t need to invest in training, software, and infrastructure. Some companies discover that they can save up to 70% in labor costs by outsourcing software support.
- Expert Support. Many businesses lack the right expertise and skills in the services they need to offer. Outsourcing allows companies to tap into the skills of various experts across different fields.
- Business Growth. Growing businesses accustomed to managing software support tasks will likely handle other activities and can focus on growing. Outside providers can handle support tasks with ease.
Nine Advantages of Outsourced Software Support
There are many advantages to outsourced software support, and it appeals to businesses across all sizes and industries. Some of the main benefits of outsourcing technical support are:
1. Focus on the Core Business
Software support outsourcing is a great way to concentrate on your primary operations. Hiring a third-party service provider allows you to focus on higher-level activities. You won’t waste time and money handling a support team.
You can expand your business without worrying about software support tickets or hiring staff to manage the function. Your IT and development team can then focus on what they do best—fix bugs and create new features.
2. Access to Global Talent
Tech support outsourcing is a cost-efficient way to access global talent. Suppose your company is based in the United States and requires tech support in Mandarin. You can outsource to Asia and build an outside software support team.
With the help of back-office outsourcing services, you can ensure your business is well-equipped for many problems.
3. Round-the-clock Support and Monitoring
External support companies don’t stop monitoring your system and networks after business hours or when you leave the office. A good outsourcing company will offer 24/7 remote software support.
Nip security incidents in the bud before data breaches arise. You can immediately detect and solve IT problems with the best monitoring tools and optimize and track software performance.
4. Less Risk of Cyberattacks and Downtime
The average cost of a data breach is $8.64 million. Outsource software support to a reliable service provider to avoid cyberattacks and downtime. When you have an expert IT team on your side, the possibility of server downtime and cyberattacks that lead to data breaches decreases.
A reputable outsourcing partner works with you to determine and fill gaps in your data security measures that might pose a risk to your company. It constantly monitors network security to uncover cyber threats before they intensify to ensure that your data is secure.
5. Guaranteed Expertise
Software support outsourcing gives you access to highly trained and seasoned experts. This access is advantageous for businesses that are not in the tech industry. These subject-matter experts will know your purpose. They’ll give your clients comprehensive tech support without getting into the domain and wasting time.
6. Access to Better Technology
Software support outsourcing companies have better and more advanced tools than those not specializing in this function. Working with such companies can give you faster response rates and high-quality problem-solving. You also enjoy correct approach implementation. As such, you have more satisfied customers.
7. Operating Cost Control
Hiring and onboarding a software support team require a hefty investment. Moreover, buying the necessary tools for the team is an added expense.
Conversely, outsourcing technical support does not require you to arrange extra office space for your staff. You won’t need to purchase new equipment, thus reducing overall expenses. Instead, you pay only for the software support package you need. It is significantly cheaper than keeping an in-house team.
8. High-quality Service
A reputable outsourcing vendor has the experience to provide superior service. As such, it fulfills its purpose and exceeds your expectations. The upgraded quality of support, in turn, improves customer satisfaction and generates higher revenue.
9. Experience Scalability
Outsourced service providers offer scalability, supporting business expansion and growth. You can easily scale up services when demand and need increase without the expense of hiring and training new employees. Similarly, you can seamlessly downscale during the lean season.
Disadvantages of Outsourced Software Support
Despite the many advantages of outsourced software support, you must consider some disadvantages. Common disadvantages of software support outsourcing include:
Possibility of Making a Wrong Choice
Plenty of outsourcing agencies are available in the market, thus increasing the risk involved in outsourcing. For instance, companies looking to outsource data entry services might choose a provider that doesn’t meet their needs.
Failure to meet your standards and fulfill your company’s needs can lead to quality issues. Moreover, hiring an inexperienced service provider can waste time and resources.
Choose a credible and experienced service provider to maximize the value of outsourcing software support.
Lack of Control
Outsourcing your software support can lead to insufficient work monitoring and control. Additionally, the time zone, cultural, and language differences between a support provider and its client can potentially cause communication barriers.
How To Know Whether Outsourcing Is Right for Your Business
Outsourced software support is ideal for addressing frequently asked questions (FAQs). In this case, outsourcing can improve efficiency by transferring the repetitive task to someone else.
For example, outsourcing is right for your business if:
- Most tickets are generic: Contractor agents can efficiently address generic support tickets. They will provide standard responses and walk the customer through the solution. Problems with handling customers will also be minimal.
- Demand is high: You can receive more support tickets than agents can handle. In this case, it might be time to get help.
- Scalability is a concern: Outsourcing is a more scalable solution than insourcing. If your support tickets fluctuate depending on the season and you want to scale accordingly, outsourcing is the way to go.
Conversely, you shouldn’t outsource when software issues require complex solutions and individual attention. Managing complex support tickets requires specific knowledge that third-party agents might lack.
Alternatively, use a hybrid method. Outsource low-level support tickets and keep higher-level, complex problems in-house.
What To Consider When Outsourcing Software Support
Although the benefits of outsourcing software support are undeniable, you must consider certain factors before you decide to hire a third-party provider, including:
- Security and confidentiality: Outsourcing gives outside entity access to your and your customers’ data. Analyze the type and amount of information to be shared. Check the security and data privacy protocols your partner adheres to.
- Collaboration and communication: These two can also become a problem when outsourcing. Communication challenges regarding background, culture, and time exist. Consider these aspects before committing. You can also hold regular meetings to sync with the project’s progress.
- Operational governance: While many companies are comfortable handing over control to outside providers, some are not. Examine the amount of control you are willing to let go of and build clear guidelines on each party’s responsibility. Doing so ensures that you and your outsourcing partner are on the same page regarding operational control.
The Bottom Line
Your company can’t be as productive and efficient if you do everything internally. Outsourced software support is gaining popularity due to its many benefits. Outsourcing lets you offer your clients the best products and services and gain a competitive advantage.
Additionally, you can allocate the money you have saved from outsourcing to business growth or other profit centers.
When outsourcing your software support, analyze short-term and long-term goals. Establish an open channel so that both parties can have clear and rational expectations of each other.