In today’s competitive business landscape, a strong customer support strategy is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity. In 2020, over 40% of customers ceased doing business with companies due to poor customer support.
With an increasing demand for exceptional customer service, many organizations are seeking reliable external partners to handle their support needs.
In fact, according to a recent study by Grand View Research, the global market for business process outsourcing (BPO) is expected to reach $525.2 billion by 2030, with customer service outsourcing being a key driver.
Our guide to customer support outsourcing delves into the nitty-gritty of this concept, evaluating the pros and cons of this business strategy.
We’ll cover the factors to consider when outsourcing customer support and the best practices for selecting and managing your outsourcing partner.
What Is Customer Support Outsourcing?
Customer support outsourcing allows businesses to delegate their customer service roles to external partners, gaining access to specialized expertise and resources.
This approach lets businesses concentrate on core competencies and growth while delivering exceptional service through tailored customer service outsourcing solutions.
Whether outsourcing specific aspects of customer service like technical support or fully outsourcing the management of your customer service operations, the goal is to enhance service quality, streamline processes, and stay cost-effective.
Your business can reap the benefits of a satisfied and loyal customer base by entrusting your customer support to seasoned professionals who are well-versed in industry best practices—giving you a competitive edge.
Pros of Outsourcing Customer Support
Outsourcing customer service comes with a variety of advantages. In this section, we’ll explore some of the key benefits that make it an attractive option for businesses.
The ability to provide extended coverage, including 24/7 support, is one of the major advantages of outsourcing customer service.
You can ensure that your customers can receive assistance outside their local standard working hours by engaging with agencies or hiring employees in different time zones.
This method enables your company to maintain a continuous support operation, even during your night shift, without overburdening your in-house customer service agents.
As a result, you can provide continuous customer service, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Outsourcing customer service can result in significant cost savings for businesses in several ways.
Primarily, companies can reduce labor expenses by saving on salaries, benefits, and training costs associated with in-house support teams. This is particularly beneficial for smaller businesses or those with fluctuating support demands, as they can avoid long-term financial commitments tied to hiring full-time employees.
Additionally, lower operational costs are achieved through leveraging outsourcing partners’ existing infrastructure, technology, and expertise, eliminating the need for businesses to invest in costly equipment and customer service software. This enables companies to allocate resources more efficiently and focus on core competencies and growth.
Finally, outsourcing customer support simplifies budgeting due to predictable monthly costs, contributing to the overall cost savings realized through outsourcing.
Outsourcing customer service offers valuable flexibility in today’s dynamic market, with scalability being a key aspect of this advantage.
By partnering with an outsourcing agency, companies can quickly and easily adjust their support teams based on fluctuating demands, ensuring efficient customer service without incurring unnecessary costs.
This adaptability allows businesses to maintain optimal staffing levels regardless of changes in customer support needs.
By entrusting non-core tasks to external providers, in-house teams can focus on the core functions of the business.
The flexibility offered through outsourcing not only enhances the customer experience but also contributes to a more agile and resilient organization capable of navigating the constantly changing business landscape.
Outsourcing customer service allows businesses to tap into a wealth of expertise in the field.
Utilizing agencies that specialize in customer service ensures access to knowledgeable customer service professionals who are experienced in handling various customer support tasks and addressing industry-specific needs.
In addition, agencies that specialize in finding freelance professionals for the customer support roles you want to outsource are adept at finding and sourcing top-notch remote talent. These agencies often have established networks and a keen eye for identifying skilled individuals.
By leveraging external expertise, businesses can enhance the customer experience, ensuring that their clients receive high-quality support tailored to their unique requirements and ultimately promoting loyalty and satisfaction.
Technology and resources
Outsourcing customer service enables businesses to access cutting-edge technology and resources that may not be readily available in-house.
When working with specialized outsourcing agencies, companies can benefit from the latest industry standards and technological advancements, such as live chat, platform integrations, and advanced CRM systems, ensuring that their customers receive top-notch support.
Additionally, infrastructure and software maintenance is managed by the outsourcing provider, alleviating the burden of keeping systems up to date and running smoothly.
This allows businesses to focus on their business as usual while having peace of mind that their customer support operations are being handled by experts equipped with the necessary tools and resources.
Cons of Outsourcing Customer Support
While outsourcing customer support offers numerous benefits, it also has its drawbacks. In this section, we’ll discuss some of the potential disadvantages to consider before making a decision.
One potential drawback of outsourcing customer support is communication barriers, particularly when working with international teams.
Language differences can sometimes make interactions more challenging. If you’re expecting to find native-level English speakers when outsourcing internationally, it may take time to find the right fit.
While there is a vast pool of customer support professionals with advanced English proficiency, the number of bilingual individuals with no accent is considerably smaller, which may affect both the efficiency of your support services and customer satisfaction.
Another concern when outsourcing customer support is maintaining consistent quality across the services provided.
As external teams may have different standards and practices, ensuring that they align with your company’s expectations and values can be challenging. This may involve closely monitoring their performance, providing feedback, and working collaboratively to establish a common understanding of quality benchmarks.
Outsourcing may require additional effort to establish effective quality control measures, which is essential to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction and protect your brand reputation.
Outsourcing customer support can raise security concerns for businesses, particularly regarding sensitive customer data.
External teams often handle this information, which can increase the risk of unauthorized access, leaks, or misuse. Additionally, data sovereignty concerns may arise if the outsourcing provider is located in a different country or jurisdiction.
It’s essential to thoroughly vet outsourcing providers, ensuring they adhere to strict security protocols and industry best practices. Regular reviews of security measures and addressing any concerns or potential vulnerabilities can further reduce risks.
How To Outsource Customer Support
In this section, we will provide a practical guide, step by step, for effectively outsourcing customer support. This includes selecting the right provider, managing the transition, and ongoing operations.
1. Identify your customer support needs
Before outsourcing customer support, it is essential to identify your organization’s unique needs and requirements. This involves understanding your customer base, their preferences and expectations, and the specific services they require.
Conducting a thorough assessment of your current support operations and performance metrics can also help pinpoint areas for improvement and potential outsourcing opportunities.
When evaluating your customer support needs, consider the following:
- Types of support required. Are your customers primarily seeking technical support or general inquiries? Do you need multilingual support or specialized expertise?
- Support channels. What channels do your customers prefer to use to contact support? Do they primarily use email, phone, chat, or social media?
- The volume of support requests. How many support requests do you receive on a daily or weekly basis? Are there peak periods where demand is particularly high?
- Performance metrics. What are your current customer satisfaction ratings and response times? Are there areas for improvement or efficiency gains?
By understanding your customer support needs, you can better evaluate outsourcing providers and select a partner that aligns with your goals and objectives.
2. Research potential outsourcing partners
Once you’ve identified your customer support needs, the next step is to research potential outsourcing partners.
Look for companies that can help you find the right candidate for the job, with the skills, expertise, and language proficiency necessary to meet your unique requirements.
It’s also a good idea to test out different customer support service providers to determine which one fits your company’s needs and expectations. You can assess their performance by looking at customer feedback, response times, and overall service quality.
For customer service companies, you will want to evaluate larger picture issues like their approach to customer care, but also very specific issues, like whether they will assign dedicated agents to your account and what quality assurance practices will be in place.
You can also explore customer support representatives or agencies who are or have worked with companies in your same industry, even if it was in a different country or continent. This can provide a wealth of industry-specific knowledge and expertise, ensuring that your customers receive top-notch support tailored to their unique needs.
3. Keep a consistent brand voice and tone
Consistent brand voice and tone are vital when outsourcing customer support. Achieve this by defining your company’s communication style, training the external team, and establishing clear guidelines and performance metrics. Ensure the outsourced team delivers support on par with your internal team.
To help maintain a consistent brand voice and tone, consider the following points:
- Create a style guide and define the essential components of your brand’s communication style, such as tone, language, and messaging. Share this guide with your outsourcing provider and make sure they follow it.
- Continuously train and provide feedback to the external team to ensure that they understand your brand’s values and communication standards.
- Continuous training and feedback can assist in maintaining quality and consistency across all customer support interactions.
4. Create a plan for communication
Just like with all facets of business, effective communication is crucial, and outsourcing is no exception. Creating a collaborative communication framework is essential to ensure that both parties are aligned and working toward the same goals.
Creating a communication framework will involve working alongside the outsourcing partner to maintain parity, and it should include the following:
- Establish clear guidelines. Set clear guidelines for communication channels such as email, chat, or video conferencing to ensure effective and efficient communication.
- Develop a communication plan. Create a communication plan that outlines the frequency, methods, and expectations for communication between your company and the outsourcing provider.
- Provide a platform for feedback. Establish a platform for feedback from both sides to ensure quality and identify areas for improvement.
Regular feedback can help improve service quality and maintain a positive relationship between your company and the outsourcing provider.
5. Measure success
Measuring the success of your outsourced customer support team is critical to ensuring that they are meeting the goals and objectives of your company.
Consider gathering customer feedback and assessing performance using standard metrics, such as:
- Net promoter score (NPS). A metric used to assess customer loyalty and the likelihood of recommending a company to others.
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT). A metric that assesses customers’ overall satisfaction with a company’s products or services.
- Customer effort score (CES). A metric that measures the ease of customer interactions with a company’s products or services.
Customer feedback can provide useful insights into the effectiveness of your remote customer service team. This feedback can be used to identify areas for improvement and to make necessary changes to improve performance. It will also give you assurance that your outsourcing partner is providing the level of service that you know leads to happy customers.
Outsourcing customer support opens the door to countless benefits like cost savings, flexibility, and access to expert talent. However, addressing potential pitfalls such as communication barriers and security concerns is crucial for success.
To guarantee a rewarding outsourcing experience, pinpoint your support needs, investigate potential partners, maintain a unified brand voice and communication plan, and track success with key metrics.
At Near, we understand the significance of connecting with the perfect professionals for your business needs. That’s why we focus on linking you with exceptional talent from Latin America, including customer support experts.
Whether it’s accommodating a specific time zone, trimming operational costs, or enhancing support quality, our team is committed to finding the ideal talent for your business.
If you would like to learn more about how acquiring talent from Latin America can help your business, take a look at these lessons learned.
Or, if you are ready to start interviewing for free, fill in this short form, and we will help you hire top talent in under 21 days.