Customer support is a vital aspect of running a business. For this reason, it demands more time and attention. Times have changed. According to a Walker study, by the end of 2020 customer experience will differentiate brands from their competition. According to the study, customers put high value on their experience. 86% of customers will pay more to get better customer experience.
Customer experience emanates from delivering excellent support. How they are treated during a call will dictate whether or not they will do business with you again. But customer support can be time consuming especially for small business owners who may not have a budget to hire additional employees. This is where outsourcing customer support can come in handy for your business.
Outsourcing customer support isn’t easy. It can be an attractive option because it frees up your staff so that they can focus on their core competencies. At the same time, it helps cut overhead costs. Outsourcing is not for everybody so you need to do your research first and avoid the most common mistakes when outsourcing customer support.
- Deciding Solely on Price
- Ignoring The Outsourcing Contract
- Lack of Communication
- Thinking Your Expenses Will Be Greatly Reduced
- Not Providing Policies or Procedures
- Not Checking The Credibility of The Company
- Selecting A Company Located In A Volatile Region
- Forgetting To Establish Service Level Expectations
- Making The Wrong Focus
- Outsourcing Core Competencies
1. Basing Your Decision Solely on Price
It is understandable that you want to cut costs and want to get what you pay for. But then again, you cannot use price in choosing an outsourcing provider for your customer support needs. The cheapest isn’t always the best and there is a reason for them being cheap. Watch out because they could be cutting corners with the services they are offering in order to beat their competition.
Yes, you would outsource customer support for the cost savings benefit. But then again you could easily fall into the trap of picking the provider with the least expensive bid to save the bucks. This can sometimes translate to poor quality hires and systems ranging from language barriers to lack of product knowledge.
If you have a limited budget, there is still a way to avoid committing this mistake.You can be proactive in understanding the kind of customer experience your chosen outsourcing partner will deliver. You can start small instead of sending them all your requirements at once. This way, it will give you an idea on the kind of training, knowledge transfer, and others you will need for a successful partnership with the provider.
2. Ignoring The Outsourcing Contract
Good providers will give you a contract you can handle. The terms of agreement could range from 365 days or longer, if possible. They could also terminate the contract if the service isn’t what you described or there is a change in your business. Once you have signed it, use it as a guide as it will help manage your relationship with the provider.
Your contract is there to make sure that you get the agreed level of service from the provider. Unfortunately, many companies just sign the contract and forget it. This is why it is still important to be involved in every step of the hiring process.
You can still define the criteria, such as the level of technical skills, pre-employment tests, and others. The contract will ensure that you and your partner will be on the same page so that the customer experience won’t suffer.
3. Lack of Communication
Just like in any company, communication between partners is vital. There has to be effective communication between both parties to see the full spectrum of benefits. It will also help lessen the challenges that may reduce the value offered by the provider.
Before signing a contract with the outsourcing company, you will need some vital information about a wide range of factors like an overview of their training program, staff turnover statistics, and other trends that can affect your hiring decision. Also, ask about the provider’s culture to see if it is compatible with that of yours.
In addition, there should be regular communication about your progress towards your desired outcomes or goals. You should also be informed about any challenges they are encountering so that it can be jointly addressed by you and your partner.
4. Thinking That Your Expenses Will Be Greatly Reduced
Finding an outsourcing provider will surely provide you some financial relief. However, don’t assume that you will save a lot of money. Yes you will see huge drops in costs during peak hours and after-hours support. Outsourcing is much cheaper than building an in-house team from scratch since there will be no hiring, training, and knowledge base creation.
Even though you are outsourcing, you still need to make an investment and still allocate some budget and spend on certain things. The costs will just be less but there will still be expenses. To develop a positive customer experience, you might need to spend on tools and technologies.
5. Not Providing Policies or Procedures
In most companies, policies and procedures are written for the internal staff but not provided to the outsourcing partner. The outsourcing firm may have its own policies and procedures but if you and your partner are not on the same page, the customer experience will suffer.
To avoid this mistake, train the outsourced staff like your in-house team. Although it is the provider who will absorb the training costs, you should still have a say in the training to keep the outsourced team updated with any changes in your product or services. The training of the external team should be similar with that of your internal staff.
The outsourcing provider may already have trained staff members but it does not mean that they already know the flow of your process. This demands your time and effort to bring the outsourced staff up to speed on the policies and procedures.
6. Not Checking The Credibility of the Company
Working with a credible outsourcing provider is vital to the success of your hosting support. Many companies cannot separate themselves from the competition on many aspects but they should strive to be unique and beat the competition on the aspect of customer support.
Checking the credibility of the outsourcing company will be a good indicator of the kind of support your customers will receive. You don’t want to work with a company that has a bad reputation in the industry. You can check their website for customer reviews to give you an idea on how they work with clients.
7. Selecting A Company Located In A Volatile Region
The location of the vendor company can be crucial to your partnership with an outsourcing provider. If the company is located in a politically unstable country, your business operations can be abruptly halted. Also, you should avoid working with a company located in a region that is susceptible to natural calamities like tsunami or earthquakes.
Unless you are ready for these adverse situations, it is not advisable to hire an outsourcing partner that is found in a country with an unstable political situation. You could end up losing a lot of money. You can do some research about the situation in that country so that you can decide whether or not to pursue your plan of partnering with that company.
8. Forgetting To Establish Service Level Expectations
When working with an outsourcing provider, you need to make sure that the company handling your customer support requirements will understand the service level you expect from them. This will allow the provider to back out if they don’t feel they can meet your expectations.
Be clear with them about your expectations so that there won’t be questions about meeting your expectations.
On your part, it is important that your goals are clear and measurable. It is not enough to say “better customer service” as it is not an achievable goal. You should work with a provider who has the ability to deliver your target progress based on your specified timeframe.
9. Making The Wrong Focus
When outsourcing to a provider, you should have the right focus. You should set your sights on creating outcomes. You need to set clear goals and measure your progress using those goals. Don’t focus on how you can reach those goals. It is the job of the provider to ensure the “how of it all.”
It is important to set goals that are clear and measurable. Achieving “better customer service” is not an achievable goal. You should judge your provider on how they can help you achieve your goals.
10. Outsourcing Core Competencies
Not every function should be outsourced. Before researching your option, ensure that you have a firm grasp on your core competencies and jot down the areas you intend to improve on using the time and savings that you got from outsourcing.
It is so easy to get excited about the time and cost savings that you will get from outsourcing. But you should keep these aspects under your direct control and decide carefully.
Outsourcing customer support offers a wide range of benefits for your business. However, all that will go for naught if you commit these 10 mistakes when outsourcing customer support.
Outsourcing with airisX
Whether you need a complete solution for your ecommerce business, a customer support team, a part-time Virtual Assistant, or anything in between, airisX can help you build a custom solution. We work with companies across many industries (Ecommerce, Medical, Insurance, Apps, Non-profit, Finance, Telecom, Retail, etc.), and have deep experience in.
The airisX founding team has years of experience in global outsourcing solutions, business operations, ecommerce, and Social Media. We combine our varied experiences into a single place for our clients – all while maintaining a cost that is substantially less than outsourcing companies in single verticals.
Companies come to us to optimize existing customer support channels and/or to leverage new ones. We focus on incorporating existing processes into your desired channels, and help you scale to other ones as your requirements grow.