Outsourcing customer services can bring a number of benefits – from cost savings and enhanced performance, through to flexibility and improving customer experience.

However, for outsourcing to succeed and to ensure you reap the many benefits of doing this, it’s important to think about what you need from your service partner and how this will impact your business.

Here are a few key areas to consider.

Goals

Why are you outsourcing? What do you want to achieve?

To identify what you need from outsourcing customer service it’s good to understand what you’re hoping to achieve by doing this. It may be that you must scale fast as your business grows and need additional resource to achieve this, or perhaps operational performance needs to be improved and this hasn’t been possible using what you have. More detailed examples include looking to expand into other regions, or needing to add more languages to your support model? Clarity around your goals and aims will ensure you find the partner with the resources to help you achieve them.

Culture

When outsourcing customer service, it’s important to ensure that your chosen provider fits with the culture of your business. Developing the relationship which starts prior to awarding business and even the launch of an RFP (Request for Proposal). Ask for a site visit to meet face to face with the Business Development and Operations leadership team. These early stage engagements will provide a clear indicator of what’s ahead.

Look for a provider who is a good fit for your company in terms of culture, and who will be able to cater to the way you want your team to act and mirror the level of professionalism you’d expect from an internal support team.

Flexibility

As business needs change, your customer service team needs to respond accordingly. This is true of outsourced as well as internal teams.

This might necessitate the up-scale of resources at busy times of the day or week, or during certain seasons or periods. Or, you might need to down-scale during quieter periods.

Ensure that the partner can deliver against your changing needs efficiently and dynamically. A good outsourcer should provide options to support changes caused by seasonal or peak demands. This might be, for example, through an in-centre/work-at-home hybrid model that accommodates part-time working, split-shifts and out of hours support programmes.

Skills

Are you looking for specific languages? Do you need your agents to have technical expertise or certification in a specific area? Or perhaps agents must be experienced in handling customer enquiries received via social media or messaging?

Ensuring that your partner can provide the right people will help with both implementation and steady-state operations. Does your chosen support partner offer a social media command centre? If yes, ask to see it in action.

Service offerings

Which areas of your customer service are you looking to outsource?

Starting with simple customer service can give a sense of a partner’s core capability, but if your need is more specific, requiring complex support or sensitivity in handling customer complaints, for example, question your partner for same or similar services. Consider whether you want to outsource customer service alone or additional service, this will help you find the right partner to provide the solutions you need.

For further information about what you need when outsourcing your customer service, please get in touch.

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