To serve the customer right, you need top-notch customer service. But, if managing customer interactions isn’t your strongest suit, you need to consider outsourcing customer service.
You also need to balance the benefits and risks of outsourcing your customer service operations.
On the other hand, your outsourced support agency should be equipped and able to handle your customer interactions. Otherwise, it could end up costing your customer experience mojo.
Choosing between Outsourced or in-house support
Most high-level executives decide whether to outsource support based cost analysis. Ie. Let’s just outsource support if it means a large financial difference.
But they are missing out on the most significant part of the puzzle. ie customer experience.
Companies such as Apple and Zappos have built exclusive brand identities showcasing their customer service and brand experience.
Similarly, your business also should be able to seamlessly optimize your customer experience. In turn, this will help you build your brand equity.
Why it’s important to pick the right outsourcing provider?
If your service outsourcing degrades your customer service quality, it’ll affect your overall customer experience. Even a company of Google’s magnitude hasn’t been completely free of the influence of bad customer experience.
For example, I frequently visit through Facebook groups for Google AdWords professionals. Many people house a deep resentment towards Google utilizing outsourced services to drive-up their ad spend.
In turn, this creates a blemish on Google’s track record of being a customer-centric company.
If Google execs had spent enough time on screening and choosing the right outsourcing provider, this entire situation could have been averted. In turn, this approach could cost Google trust and brand equity in the long-run.
With this in mind, let’s look into a checklist to select the best outsourcing provider for your business.
Checklist to pick the best customer service outsourcing provider
To pick the right outsourcing agency, you can use the following checklist to vet all the different options.
- Is average wait time less than five minutes?
- Do they provide 24×7 customer service?
- Are agents able to proactively engage with visitors?
- Will Outsourcing agency take ownership?
- Can agents resolve issues by following the right workflow?
- Is the support dedicated or shared?
- Does Outsourcing improve or decrease customer NPS?
- Do they provide omnichannel support option?
- Can the outsourcing services scale based on requirements?
- Does the service provider generate analytics?
By following this checklist, you can figure out if the outsourcing provider will be able to add value to your organization.
Is average Wait time less than five minutes?
In both phone and live chat support, the average wait time should be less than five minutes (Source). After this time point, you usually see a rapid drop-off on your client engagement and interactions.
In case you’re managing pre-sales interactions, these constraints will become even more severe. Most customers won’t wait for their turn with your sales rep or email responses. Most likely, they would go with the fastest respondent or quickest sales responder.
To meet this speed of response, your outsourced team should meet the requisite high velocity response speed to all incoming queries. To achieve this speed of response, you can either have too many live agents or train them to respond in the most efficient manner.
For this, you can either check the response time of different existing sales professionals.
2. Do they provide 24×7 customer service?
You need to make sure outsourcing provides 24×7 round the clock services. This is especially true when the customer service operates with a time zone difference. In these situations, you need to make sure they can provide 24×7 outsourced services. Otherwise, you may see a lot of dropped calls and enquires.
At least, your outsourced operations should provide 24×7 chat activities. In these situations, you should be able to find an outsourced provider with relative ease.
3. Are agents able to proactively engage with visitors?
During the service interaction, the agent should be able to develop the right relationships. Usually, this is achieved through establishing right friendly cadence in every conversation. You can utilize the right live chat etiquette to establish this relationship.
For this, you can simply call-up the customer service or chat with live agents. This will ensure that your live agents are able to proactively engage with website visitors.
4. Will support agency take ownership of their support?
When you decide to outsource support, you’re looking for a partner who’ll make sure that your customers are satisfied. In turn, you’ll be able to gradually focus less on customer interactions and more on your product and service.
For this, you need a solid customer support team. You’ll need an outsourcing agency who’ll take extreme ownership for managing your customer interactions.
In this way, the outsourcing agency can ensure that their customer service is steadily improving on a daily basis.
4. Can agents resolve issues by following the right workflow?
There’s an optimal way to resolve each customer query. Usually, this gets done through receiving each query, understanding nature of query and taking active steps to resolve each particular issue.
But only, most outsourced agents fail to accurately resolve the particular queries. Instead, almost all queries get attended with a cookie-cutter response. Needless to say, this leads to largely irate customers.
This requires your agents to be properly trained on your products and usually incurring customer queries. By following the right workflows, you agents can direct each query to right departments.
In this way, you can resolve each inbound customer query through the easiest way.
5. Do Outsourcing improve or decrease customer NPS?
If you’re familiar with customer service terminologies, you might have heard about NPS or Net promoter score. It measures the likelihood of your business getting recommended by your customers.
Most businesses try to maintain a high net promoter scores (NPS) by managing all customer interactions by themselves. But many businesses may also benefit by outsourcing a part of their overall customer interactions.
For example, you can outsource any repetitive part of your customer interactions. In turn, this enables you to improve your customer experience and resolve any pending customer queries.
In turn, this will improve your overall customer satisfaction and therefore your NPS score. In turn, this will enable you to manage business operations in a significantly better form.
For this, you can systematically examine if outsourcing services will improve or detrimentally affect your NPS score.
6. Do they provide Omnichannel support option?
Until a few years ago, most businesses managed customer interactions through a limited number of channels. These were limited to phone call or email. But today, businesses need to simultaneously cater to multiple channels.
For example, today’s customer may actually prefer contacting through Facebook messenger and twitter account instead of legacy social channels.
If your service team is only focused on email or phone calls, many customer interactions may go unattended and fall into the cracks. With this in mind, your customers should be able to offer omnichannel support that combines multiple channels in a single platform.
9. Can outsourcing services scale based on requirements?
As a business, you should utilize any opportunities for potential growth. If you successfully achieve rapid growth, you may also be required to quickly scale your operations.
In this situation, your outsourcing provider should be able to scale their operations to meet the increased volume. Otherwise, it could lead to a backlog of pending queries which could become a black spot on your business.
10. Can I access performance data of outsourcing?
As a business, you should be able to consistently improve performance and quality of services. This stands true for outsourcing services too…
To improve performances, you should continually track and review data around your activities. Being a 3rd party outsourcing provider, some companies fail to provide in-depth analytics data. Needless to say, this could adversely affect your live chat performance.
Instead, your team should have access to the latest performance reports. In turn, this would help you to review and refine your customer service operations. In turn, this would lead to an improved performance.
A great customer experience can shine positive limelight on different aspects of your business that includes online reviews, social media feedback, brand equity etc.
An outsourced customer service can potentially engage or repel your customers from your business. In those situations, use these checklist productively to pick the best customer service outsourcing company.
Mr. Prassanna Kumar is Industry veteran with in-depth experience in managing 24×7 chat agents and different marketing activities. He has experience at growing brands in different industry verticals. You can connect with him at his linkedin profile