There are various reasons for wanting to outsource your customer services to a third-party company, just as there are for preferring to handle it in house. But where do you stand? Which approach is the best option for your business at this stage in your development?
What we’re going to do today, is look at the pros & cons of outsourcing customer services. That way, you should be able to make a clear and informed decision as to which is better suited to you. But first, let’s get a better understanding of what ‘customer services’ means.
The literal definition of customer service is: ‘the assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services’. That said, this varies to some degree based on the industry that you’re in. For example, hospitality businesses such as bars, hotels & restaurants thrive on customer service—In fact, in many ways, customer service is their main product.
Then on the other hand, you have e-commerce websites that sell certain product/s. Provided that they have their house in order and the quality of the product that they sell is exceptional, they shouldn’t have to rely so heavily on the customer service side of things. As an example, if 95% of customers place their order, receive their products in a timely manner with zero issues, then there will be no need for any real customer interaction at all. That’s not to say that they won’t have a customer service department, but the business model is less dependent.
In any case, you must identify where you stand and consider how important customer service is to you. It isn’t something that you can blag or skimp on. When it comes to customer interaction, no matter what industry you are in, you must treat them with the utmost courtesy and care.
The pros of outsourcing customer services
You can save money: contrary to what you might believe, outsourcing your customer service requirements can indeed save you money. Hiring a fulltime in-house customer service department is expensive. You must factor in salary, benefits, overtime and sick pay to name a few. Outsourcing will save you a fair bit in the long run.
Customer handling expertise: you will have a wealth of customer handling expertise at your disposal. In addition to that, when outsourcing customer services to a third-party company, they will have various tools such as data tracking software which will be invaluable to your business.
Greater coverage: another benefit of outsourcing is the greater coverage that you can offer your customers. For example, can you afford to hire a fulltime in-house team to offer 24-hour support? Because when outsourcing, you can quite easily “out-service” your competitors by offering advice after hours.
Additional language options: When outsourcing, you can also take advantage of the option to increase the language capabilities in your customer support team. This is particularly useful for e-commerce companies that are looking to branch out into a larger global market.
Faster responses: when there are more operators on standby, you’ll significantly reduce the waiting times for customers which will invariably bolster their overall satisfaction.
Save precious time: when outsourcing your customer service requirements, you can unburden yourself and focus your precious time on other important aspects of your business.
The cons of outsourcing customer service
A potential disconnection from brand: what you consider to be excellent customer service may vary from your supplier. Therefore, it is important to take your time when selecting an agency to use. In addition to that, you should take the time to communicate to your agency exactly what you want, highlighting specific “branded” responses.
Unattractive contracts: be wary when approaching new businesses and ensure that you are both clear on and happy with the contract what they are proposing. Find a fit that suits you best and accept nothing less.
It is not always cost-effective: depending on the size of your business and the number of calls and inquiries you’re likely to get over the course of a year, outsourcing may not be the best option for you just yet. It’s important to know that you are entirely ready and experiencing genuine growth before making any commitments.
It is possible to turn these cons into positives; it just depends on the company that you partner up with and the amount you communicate with them. You must be clear on your goals and what you expect as a standard from them as customer service representatives for your company. So long as you don’t rush into such a big decision, you shouldn’t have any major issues.
The fact is, there are many benefits to outsourcing your customer service requirements. So, if you wish to take advantage of them and to enhance your customer experience, whilst freeing your time up to focus on other ‘revenue-generating’ areas, then this can be a very profitable option for you.
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by it all and would like some advice, then please do not hesitate to contact us today. Yes, we’re going to be somewhat biased as this is a service that we offer, and we’re darn good at it. However, we will only offer honest and constructive advice based on our significant experience and what we believe would be the best approach for you at this time. For example: rather than a dedicated customer service department, a virtual receptionist or phone answering service may be more appropriate. Simply give us a call and we’ll settle on the most viable solution for you.