Outsourcing has become an increasingly popular customer service solution for Australian businesses. In fact, an IBM survey found that 44 percent of Aussie companies outsource at least one essential business function, with customer support being one of the top candidates. This figure has grown to 59 percent for companies with 500 to 1,000 employees.
While some of these responsibilities get offshored to countries like the Philippines, more than 80 percent of Australian employers prefer to outsource domestically, the survey found. Outsourcing is appealing to employers as a way to cut costs and keep in-house labor focused on core business functions.
Considering outsourcing any essential business functions? Then it’s important to know how to go about it in order to receive quality customer service from your provider. Here are four keys to outsourcing your customer service effectively.
1. Know When to Outsource
There are a number of situations when it makes sense to outsource, with the most common being the ability of companies to save money by avoiding the cost of hiring full-time, in-house employees, says Invensis Technologies vice president Anupa Rongala.
But outsourcing also makes sense if your staff is small and your call support volume is cutting into your team’s ability to get other, more essential tasks done. This can be a particularly compelling reason if you anticipate a significant spike in volume during the holidays or another sales season.
Outsourcing can also enable you to hire more remote support staff than you could otherwise fit in your brick-and-mortar premises. Another good reason to outsource is if you need to provide 24/7 support and your in-house staff isn’t large enough or isn’t available for round-the-clock scheduling.
Additionally, this practice will also allow you to deliver service across more support channels, which can make you more effective at serving customers who prefer support via live chat, email or social media.
2. Use a Cloud Call Contact Center
Effective outsourcing of customer support requires a suitable technological infrastructure, particularly if you plan to deliver multi-channel support.
Today, an increasing number of customers prefer to use automated self-service channels like chatbots and IVR. However, these automated channels must be supplemented by live support, and a significant number of customers still prefer traditional phone and email support.
So what’s the best way to deliver effective omnichannel support? It’s simple: Deploy a cloud-based call contact center. Using such a solution provides you with a centralized digital interface for managing all support channels and tracking customer service tickets as they migrate from one channel to another.
Using a cloud-based contact center also makes it easier for you to hire remote workers since your cloud-based team is no longer dependent on on-premises equipment or software.
3. Hire Qualified Customer Service Reps
When outsourcing customer service, it’s crucial to hire representatives who can deliver quality customer service. Hiring the wrong personnel can be disastrous for your company’s operations, sales and reputation. In fact, the most effective way to go about hiring the right personnel is to work with an experienced, reputable business process outsourcing firm.
BPO agencies handle hiring for you, taking the burden of screening new hires off your hands. If you choose to do your own hiring, be sure to set up a rigorous hiring process that selects qualified candidates, as well as a digital project management system for tracking payroll.
A good approach is to hire initially on a temporary basis, thereby delegating a limited portion of your customer service tickets to new employees in order to test them with on-the-job training before committing to a long-term agreement.
4. Use Customer Service Scripts
Whether you hire your own employees or use a staffing agency, developing customer service scripts can help you deliver more effective support. A script makes sure new employees know how to handle specific situations, including the use of appropriate language and tone that keeps customers feeling positive and respected.
To help your live reps maintain superior rapport with customers, scripts should use positive language that can defuse negative situations. At the same time, to avoid sounding robotic, scripts should allow live reps some freedom and leeway to improvise as needed.
In particular, customer service scripts are best suited as training tools for newer employees until they gain the experience needed to respond more spontaneously to common issues. Scripts can also be useful for teaching new procedures as you update your support policies.
Boosting Customer Satisfaction Levels
When approached correctly, outsourcing customer service can be a highly useful strategy for cutting your labor costs, while simultaneously increasing your efficiency.
Knowing when to outsource, using the right cloud contact center solution, hiring qualified representatives and using training scripts are four keys to outsourcing your customer service effectively.
Following these guidelines can help you decrease your customer support costs and time expenditures, while boosting customer satisfaction levels.