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Customer Service Outsourcing: 8 Things to Consider

Happy Customer Service Agents Looking at Camera

Poor customer service, intricate workforce management, and inflating overhead costs—here are only some of the challenges business owners face every day. One of the four most common reasons businesses fail is the unsuccessful overseeing of management of their employees, as mentioned by Investopedia. Working on your business strategies while making sure customer support employees are effective and well-engaged is sometimes burdensome. The secret of rising companies is simply to leverage what the best the digital world offers, and customer service outsourcing is one. 

Customers decide on the fate of your business, figuratively. You either retain them or see your competitors getting a hold of their loyalty. Maintaining a harmonious relationship with your consumers and clients can be stiff, especially if you are still building a foundation for your eCommerce presence. Working with a trusted BPO partner is the smartest way to go. 

8 Things to Consider In Customer Service Outsourcing

Partnering with outsourcing firms for your customer support is not as easy as it sounds. However, as long as you have clear standards and goals, you will expect a favorable return on your investment. 

Here are the vital factors you should carefully consider before using up your resources to outsource. 

Type of Customer Service

Some customer support channels demand costly automation, digital transformation, and work equipment. Thus, your allocated outsourcing funds will be the basis in choosing the type of customer service you can provide. Aside from budget, the age range of your target market will also be a big deal in choosing a support channel.

Call Center

The call center is the most common customer support type used by rising companies that get an influx of customer inquiries every day. If you have a personalized shopping website, then a call center is a fundamental choice. 

Selling plenty of products or services online means more expected inquiries and customers. The number of people you can accommodate daily will also impact your successful transactions. Phone calls are the fastest and best ways to build rapport with customers. So, if you want to have an edge over your competitors and get deals faster, this is the ideal customer service channel for you. 

If you are also offering technical or complex products and services online, communication is always better with phone calls. A call center is effective if your market includes the older age group because walking them through processes can be intricate.

Call centers are already equipped with software for effective customer communication. This becomes an advantage because you save from the expensive in-house installation and maintenance costs.  

Email

This channel can’t be missed if you have contact forms on your website. Most professionals and creators connect with their leads through email because it is formal and personalized. Plus, getting more email details from your potential clients in their free will can help you build an email list that sells out every product or service you offer.t

Social Media

Last but not least on this list, social media customer service is always a go-to if you have active social media business accounts. If you use social media as your primary marketing platform and you have a wider reach, expect an influx of messages coming in. It is wiser to outsource social media tasks rather than you doing all the work. 

Some BPO companies have their office-based call centers, and they offer multi-channel customer support. There are also outsourcing centers with home-based social media managers and email support agents. 

Exclusivity

Even if you are still a startup and have a limited reach, there is still a way to avail of a call center service without breaking the bank. Some call centers are shared. This means that one shared agent will handle two or more company tickets. If you do not mind not having exclusivity, this one is for you. 

On the other hand, you can always go for exclusivity by opening your own account with the call center. Exclusive agents become more familiar with what you are offering, which means they can be more effective in conversing with your customers. 

Language

Most BPO centers have English-speaking agents. However, there are also several multilingual outsourcing partners for your choosing. Multi-lingual agents get higher rates because of their in-demand skills, making this service worth more than the average outsourcing cost.

Your Work Setup Reference

Remote

If you want access to practical A-players, you might want to consider outsourcing remote agents. Tech-savvy talents now work from the comforts of their own home, and they are the most productive. BPO contact centers simply provide them the software and credentials they need to keep going because they already have the equipment such as laptops and headsets. 

Absences and tardiness also happen due to unfavorable weather conditions, failed transportation, and burnout. Working from home eliminates these common challenges and only offers productivity and effectiveness. 

Office-based

An office-based outsourcing center is a good option for technical tasks that need close supervision. Security issues can also be avoided or quickly resolved if your agents are in a place that’s accessible to your IT professionals. Nevertheless, even security issues get quick resolutions with advanced technology. Office-based customer service instead focuses on teamwork and company culture. Although many contact centers still operate in the office, the majority of them are already transitioning to remote or hybrid setup.  

Onshore or Offshore Customer Service

Although outsourcing is known to be provided by contact centers abroad, there are also outsourcing providers inside your home country.

Onshore

This type of outsourcing pertains to getting your workforce from a third-party provider within your country. The best example of this is when a company gets its custodians to maintain the cleanliness of its offices, utilities, and buildings. Onshore customer service outsourcing exists too, and you can avail of it if you prefer closer access.

Offshore

Offshore outsourcing is when businesses hire third-party companies from outside their countries to supply them with the talents they need to operate. The main reason why even the most prominent companies outsource is because of lower overhead costs compared to their mandated hourly wage. 

Countries like the Philippines and India have lower costs of living compared to the US, UK, and Australia. You save a fraction of your costs when you hire in-house employees. At the same time, you also get high-quality services while paying your offshore team more than enough.

One of the biggest business trends that many companies are trying to implement is the movement towards cloud-based work. Cloud-based work not only makes it easier for companies to collaborate and communicate but also creates a more flexible and agile working environment. As the cloud becomes the norm for businesses, offshore outsourcing is growing in popularity. 

Some of the most popular outsourcing countries aside from the Philippines and India are Mexico, Malaysia, Brazil, and China.

Your Customer Service Organizational Structure

To ensure a functional customer service team, set clear roles for this department through a hierarchy. If you have already set up an in-house customer service team, you will need a manager who can connect your existing team to your outsourced customer service agents. 

Customers who want to escalate their concerns are inevitable which is why a clear hierarchy of roles through your organizational structure is necessary. Your existing training manuals, communication systems, and security measures will also need to be uniform with your BPO agents. This could mean you need to hire an internal manager to ensure that your proven processes are applied to your outsourced team accordingly. 

The roles of your new manager include hiring an experienced training supervisor for newly hired BPO agents and maintaining a good employee-customer relationship. 

If you are planning to hire remote offshore staff, internal staff can initiate orientations and train conveniently through zoom meetings or other preferred video conference platforms. Your organizational structure is a factor to consider when choosing between office-based or remote staff. 

Digital Transformation of Customer Service

Your communication platforms and processes should be well suited to your products and services, goals, and company mission and vision. If you are a customer-centric business, investing in advanced technology such as artificial intelligence will improve customer experience. 

Communication Tools

AI-powered chatbots are some of the most successful innovations introduced in this digital transformation era. These chatbots are trainable, and you can program them with possible questions and ready-made answers. They improve your response time and lessen customer frustrations. You can also program some chatbots to forward or escalate particular concerns to specific teams or agents. 

Social media, email, web calls, and webchat are the most common customer communication platforms businesses use. However, having multiple platforms is tough to manage. Now, being easily accessible, consistent, and responsive in all your channels is possible through omnichannel customer support. Omnichannel is a result of advanced technology that allows you to interconnect your customer communication platforms, and use this integration to accommodate all your messages and inquiries. With omnichannel, your customer does not have to start from the very beginning when inquiring from another channel. You can seamlessly begin where your team left the conversation off, regardless of the communication channel used. 

For product-centric companies, your focus will be on customer onboarding because you want to introduce your products to your customers in the best way possible. Advanced customer channels also have product carousels that bring inquirers into a series that showcase your product features. 

Management Tools

The most cost-effective management tools are those that can enhance your team’s experience, through well-developed internal communication and accessible centralized information. Microsoft and Google G Suite offer the convenience of team communication and collaboration through google chat, calendar, docs, drive, and Gmail. 

Microsoft Office also has Microsoft teams and one drive, which lets you collaborate and share files in real-time. 

The latest intranet innovations build strong company culture through content integration. HR and IT departments of big corporations use intranets to store data and make company information available for everyone. Intranet can integrate your project management tools like Monday, Asana, Trello, or Jira. This makes supervision and leadership even more efficient. 

Security System

VPNs and compliance software are only some of the new technologies companies use to protect their data and flag contacts that do not pass the compliance requirements. Artificial intelligence enables software to review all communication coming in and look for suspicious activities.

Once you have chosen your preferences from the outsourcing guides given above, always seek legal advice from your legal team or hire an attorney that will introduce you to the procedures you need to take in hiring an onshore or offshore outsourcing partner. 

You may also inquire from a trusted outsourcing marketplace that can pair you up with the right BPO contact center. An outsourcing marketplace also has a list of contact center options you can choose from. After successfully finding the BPO company that meets all your standards, pay attention to their stipulated business agreement. Before signing, let a lawyer review the terms and conditions and service level agreement in the contract. 

Customer Service Outsourcing Tips That Matter

Red Corded Telephone on White Surface

It’s harmless to try your shortlisted customer service outsourcing companies yourself. Here are the best tips you can use that can help you pick the right choice.

Test Calls

Ask your prospect who their clients are and if they are exclusively handling them. If they are exclusive, try calling the customer service team from those companies as a customer, and see if their agents are really well-trained and knowledgeable enough. 

Aside from checking if their agents are competent, you can also take this chance to see what notable features their customer service use to improve customer experience. 

Listen to Their Recordings

The quality assurance team of BPO companies usually records customers’ voice calls with consent from the callers. They use these recordings to check that their standards are applied and to improve weaker areas. 

Use these consented recordings to check the quality of their calls.

The Benefits of Outsourcing Customer Service

Outsourcing your customer support does not only save you from the headaches of hiring and managing a lot of people. It also saves you from the costs of office setup, equipment, and advanced technology. However, it is not recommended to cut your outsourcing expenses too short. When you do, chances are you will also end up with the mediocre quality of service.  

It does not only contribute to the growth of your business locally. It can bring you to great lengths through cloud-based technology, reaching the global market regardless of the language and culture. 

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