01 Sep 2022 By: Natalya Bucuy
As the common saying goes, “if you want something done right, do it yourself.”
Unfortunately, just like with many famous pearls of wisdom sometimes, this advice is as bad as an old oyster.
Of course, in an ideal world, we’d all have the time, energy, motivation, and skills to do everything according to the unique and brilliant plans in our heads. The reality, however, is that when it comes to running a business everyone could use some guidance and support. As the Beatles classic points out, we “Get By With A Little Help…” (from our friends).
Naturally, you may be hesitant to let other people step in to help you handle your client load. After all, the quality of service can make or break relationships with customers. Good customer service can facilitate unbreakable loyalty from customers. According to Salesforce Research, 89% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience. Bad customer service, on the other hand, can lead to major client churn.
With this much at stake, it’s no surprise that many business owners feel hesitant when it comes to outsourcing customer service. In this article, we will address some common fears as well as the benefits of outsourcing.
Challenges of Outsourcing Customer Service (And Ways to Overcome Them)
Before we dive into the good stuff, it’s good to understand the challenges, fears, and hesitations of outsourcing. If a business hasn’t looked into outsourcing options thus far, there must be something holding it back.
Fear: Lack of Control Over Customer Service
It’s probably impossible to be a business owner without having a little bit of a control freak in you. And that is, of course, understandable. You want what is best for your business and leaving that up to another agency can be scary.
Remedy: Find a Company You Trust and Try It Out
As with many things in life, you don’t know it until you try it. Finding a good company to outsource your customer service is key. Do your research – read reviews, interview potential account managers, and find a company that offers a free trial. It doesn’t take long to see changes and results.
Meeting with your outsourced account managers, coming up with specific chat plans, and reviewing chat transcripts are all good ways to ensure your account is in good hands. Taking steps to build a solid relationship with a company you trust is an essential step in releasing your worries.
Fear: Outsourced Team Might Not Have Industry Knowledge
No one knows your business or your industry as well as you do. And so, handing your precious customers to a team who might not be as knowledgeable and understanding as your own, can be scary.
Remedy: Pick a Team with Streamlined Onboarding Process in Place
The outsourced team might not know all the ins and outs of your business, but that should be the goal. This is where an extensive knowledge base comes into play. Make sure you are outsourcing customer service to a team equipped with everything necessary for successful customer support. The onboarding process must be thorough, yet simple.
Fear: Security Breaches
Security of customer information is crucial. Your customers trust you and you must trust the people dealing with your customers’ information.
Remedy: Select a team that employs state-of-the-art technology with high-quality security features.
Proper security measures can help keep your customer information safe. A reputable outsourced team will have the capabilities to securely share and receive PCI, PHI, and HIPAA-sensitive information via live chat, text, and email. These include loan applications, credit card information, medical records, and more.
Benefits of Outsourcing Customer Service
Now that we’ve covered some common fears surrounding outsourcing customer service, it’s time to talk about the good things it facilitates. Outsourcing customer service brings tremendous benefits to any business. Here are a few of our favorite reasons for outsourcing.
Cost: The Numbers Speak for Themselves
In-house customer service agents cost businesses more than an annual salary. Agents require life and health benefits, overtime payments for after-hours coverage, paid training, and paid vacations. In cases when a company does not employ dedicated customer service agents but requires other employees to cover customer service duties, the time and effort get taken away from those employees’ primary duties. In other words, customer service is an expletive endeavor.
“Many companies have realized that outsourcing customer service is often a less expensive alternative to hiring full-time customer service staff in the office,” says Janna Kline, HelpSqaud Operations and Accounts Manager. “Companies have to pay them salary and overtime during busy seasons, which can add up to as much as 60 percent.”
With outsourcing, a fixed monthly subscription fee gives businesses access to agents they don’t have to train or supply with benefits. According to some estimates, outsourcing can be as much as 50 times cheaper than hiring a full-time customer support agent in-house.
And let’s not forget about the cost of training for your in-house agents. How much money is actually walking out the door when an agent you nurtured and trained decides to quit? With outsourced agents, knowledge remains with the outsourcing company you chose. A reputable account manager would have a process in place for quick onboarding and training of new agents. That is one less thing for you to worry about.
A Rise in Quality: Good Service Means Good Business
Listen, we’re not going to tell you that your in-house customer service agents suck (though we do have a guide to hiring chat agents that don’t suck, in case you’re interested). But if you run a small business, chances are that some of your employees (or you, if your business is very small) have to wear multiple hats and fulfill many roles. One of these roles might happen to be customer service. But things get busy and, if that is the case, perhaps outsourcing customer service can help you raise the quality of it.
Customer service agents who are trained to do customer service exclusively can provide better customer service. And better customer service means better business.
How does one know if the outsourced team is a good one? Well, the only sure way to know is to try it out. Sign up for a free trial. At the end of the trial period, check on the following things to ensure high-quality service:
- Do customer service agents grasp the subject matter expertise when it comes to your business (through the onboarding process and FAQs)
- Do they repeat mistakes? One mistake is Ok, two identical mistakes are not.
- What are the response and resolution times; is it speedy?
- How empathetic are the customer service agents?
- Does the account manager understand your business, do you like him or her, is he or she responsive?
Training: Hands-Off Onboarding
Of course, no one knows a company better than its owners and managers. But while they can’t always be points of contact to the customers, outsourcing customer service to experienced agents can be the next best thing. And unlike in-house representatives, they do not require extensive customer service training.
The outsourcing process includes an onboarding stage, which is the time when agents learn about your company. This process is quick, simple, and only focuses on your business. The agents, already trained for customer service jobs, will then use that information to serve your customers. No training is required.
The most effective way for an outsourced team to help your business grow is by getting to know your brand. So providing fundamental business information and gathering your customers’ most frequently asked questions along with how you would like them answered are some of the crucial onboarding steps. But it shouldn’t stop there. Reviewing, growing, and maintaining your FAQ base current and comprehensive is also key.
Sales Boost: Customer Service Sells
Data shows a direct correlation between quality round-the-clock customer experience and revenue. A study shows that profits can increase by 4-8 percent above the market when a company prioritizes customer service. But increases go beyond happier customers who remain loyal and bring repeat sales.
Trained agents speaking directly to customers cause a chain reaction throughout the entire business. Live chat agent job has many responsibilities, but customer feedback collection should be one of the top priorities. Customer feedback, frequency of repeated issues with products and services, and other data from these agents are extremely valuable. Companies can use this feedback to understand any faults and imperfections within and improve the business. That, in turn, will cause a boost in future sales.
Satisfied clients can also be a source of customer-led advocacy for a brand. This is particularly true in the modern world of viral videos and social media influencers. Good word of mouth spreads quickly and so do negative reviews, so providing excellent customer service is crucial.
Having trained agents provide high-quality service will help grow your business.
Access to Top Notch Tech: Doorway to Innovation
Having great agents on your side is one thing. Being able to provide quality technology to run successful customer service operations is another. To whichever company you outsource your customer support to, there is a good chance the agency will have high-quality technology in place. At least, it should if it is reputable and competitive in its market.
Therefore, you can get access to tools that provide the most operational efficiency to help your customers. Top-of-the-line tools will have the capabilities to implement all of the important customer service functions. These functions can include high speed of service as customers today expect to be connected to a representative within one minute. Additionally, social media integrations, omnichannel support that includes SMS capabilities, and an easy-to-use interface for your online customers are all important factors to consider when it comes to technology.
Reporting: Know Your Customers
One such technology is, of course, business intelligence. Outsourcing customer service can help you get access to one of the most important things in running a business – customer behavior data. Your support agents engage in direct contact with your customers. The information they can provide – most frequently asked questions and concerns, customer location, history with the company, frequency of contact, landing page on the website, and so much more – gives you valuable insights into your client base.
High-quality contact center analytics you get from the outsourced support agents can provide weekly or monthly statistics and reports. They can help you get important information such as the busiest day or hour, the most popular product or service, the most frequent questions, popular trends, or customer requests.
How Do You Measure the Success of Outsourcing Customer Service?
Once you follow the steps to outsourcing, you must monitor the process. If the outsourced team is a good fit, the results will speak for themselves:
- You should see Increased sales by 5% or more
- Satisfied customer reviews and surveys frequency should increase
- Your business should see lowered customer service costs by as much as 50%
- The internal support team that may have previously been overwhelmed with support inquiries, will feel the relief and will be able to focus on important business growth tasks.